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  • Summary date: Apr 30 2019 - View Summary

    House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

    Makes the following modifications to the proposed changes to Article 7A, NC Innovative School District and Innovation Zones, of GS Chapter 115C.

    Modifies the provisions concerning the three proposed lists set forth in GS 115C-75.7 from which the selection of innovative schools is to be based. Regarding the qualifying list, requires the Innovative School District (ISD) Superintendent or a designee to hold a public hearing to share information about the ISD selection process, potential impacts of the designation as an innovative school, potential support and improvement for the school, and any other information deemed necessary by the Superintendent. Requires 10 days' public notice and direct notice to parents of students and employees of the hearing. Regarding the watch list and warning list, requires the local board of education to provide 10 days' notice to the ISD Superintendent of the public hearing and provide the Superintendent with the opportunity to present any part of the presentation at the meeting. Additionally requires the ISD Superintendent to share the same information described for the qualifying list public hearing. 

  • Summary date: Apr 16 2019 - View Summary

    Makes the following changes to Article 7A, NC Innovative School District and Innovation Zones, of GS Chapter 115C.

    Adds the term innovative school consultant (IS consultant) to GS 115C-75.5, defined to mean an entity selected by the State Board of Education (State Board) upon the recommendation of the Innovative School District Superintendent (ISD Superintendent) to provide assistance and support through consultation with an innovative school. Amends innovative school operator (IS operator) to remove the general prohibition provided against the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) being selected as an IS operator. Deletes the existing definition for qualifying school and now defines the term to mean a school meeting one of the following three criteria based on performance in the school year prior to identification: (1) a Title I school in the lowest-performing 5 percent of school grades of all Title I schools, (2) a school serving students in grades 9-12 that failed to graduate one-third or more of its students, and/or (3) a school identified by the State Board as being in need of comprehensive support and improvement under specified federal law due to at least one consistently underperforming subgroup. 

    Deletes the existing provisions regarding selection of innovative schools set forth in GS 115C-75.7 and instead mandates annual selection by the State Board of no more than five qualifying schools to transfer to the Innovative School District (ISD) as innovative schools (previously, the State Board was authorized to select, upon recommendation of the ISD Superintendent, up to five qualifying elementary schools, as previously defined, to transfer to the ISD, with diversity requirements and limitations to one qualifying school per local unit unless the local board consented). Requires selection of innovative schools to be based on an analysis and evaluation of performance of qualifying schools over a three-year period of the school being designated and placed on the qualifying list, watch list, and warning list, as described, with public notice given and hearings held concerning the designation in accordance with the statutory requirements set forth. Requires the State Board to ensure that the qualifying schools identified for any ISD list are engaged in strategies in compliance with state or federal law for comprehensive support and improvement. Directs the ISD Superintendent to monitor the schools and assist local boards in identifying funding, strategies, and partners for those efforts. Permits a local board to request that the State Board select a qualifying school under its control as an innovative school at any time upon recommendation of the ISD Superintendent. Eliminates the requirement for a local board to adopt a resolution which either consents to transfer the selected qualifying school to the ISD or closes the school at the conclusion of the school year. Establishes a new selection process whereby a school that remains a qualifying school in the school year following the year the school was placed on the ISD warning list and is one of the lowest five qualifying schools, as measured by school performance scores, on the warning list is selected as an innovative school beginning with the next school year. Maintains the statute's existing provisions regarding public notification and waiver for innovative schools. Requires the ISD lists and selected innovative schools to be publicly available on a website maintained by the ISD.

    Amends GS 115C-75.8 to permit the State Board to select an IS operator or an IS consultant for a selected innovative school by December 15 and require selection of either for a selected innovative school by January 15 (previously limited to selection of an IS operator and was applicable to prospective innovative schools, with selection permitted by January and required by February 15). Makes conforming changes. Modifies the requirements for entities contracted as an IS operator or IS consultant to remove reference to persistently low-performing schools or students concerning the entity's record of improvement. Eliminates the provisions which provides for the ISD to act as an IS operator in instances in which no entity meets the specified qualifications. Requires the State Board to determine whether an innovative school should be assigned an IS operator or an IS consultant based on specific school needs. Mandates that a school assigned an IS consultant must continue to be operated by the local unit and meet the requirements established by the ISD Superintendent and the IS consultant for at least a five-year period. Adds that an innovative school that fails to meet the requirements must be assigned an IS operator by the State Board. Maintains the contract requirements for contracts between the State Board and IS operator.

    Amends GS 115C-75.9 to limit the scope of the provisions to innovative schools under the direct management of an IS operator. Eliminates the provision authorizing the ISD to act as an IS operator in the event that temporary management is necessary due to contract termination. Now permits an IS operator, in collaboration rather than in consultation with the ISD Superintendent, to elect to enter into a memorandum of understanding for alternate arrangements with the local board to address facility and capital expenditures, transportation services, or services for children with disabilities. Adds a requirement for the IS operator to collaborate with the ISD Superintendent in selecting and hiring the school principal for the innovative school. Concerning retained employees, allows a retained employee to become an employee of the local board if the IS operator is a local board, rather than an employee of the ISD, subject to approval of the ISD Superintendent. Provides for teachers at qualifying schools selected to become an innovative school who have career status prior to selection to teach at the innovative school to return to a public school in the local unit with career status at the end of employment at the innovative school if the appropriate position is available, and if not available, be put on a list of available teachers pursuant to GS 115C-325. 

    Amends GS 115C-75.10, concerning innovative schools funds, to limit the scope of the provisions to innovative schools operated by an IS operator. Concerning the ability of the IS operator to enter into a funding memorandum of understanding with the local board of the local unit for all student support and operational services and all instruction services, requires collaboration rather than consultation with the ISD Superintendent. 

    Amends GS 115C-75.11, concerning accountability and governance for innovative schools, to require innovative schools with an IS consultant to set clear goals related to academic outcomes, learning environments, parent and community engagement, efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars, and teacher and school leader empowerment and accountability; extends the option to apply to the ISD Superintendent for waivers to innovative schools with an IS consultant. Also requires an innovative school with an IS consultant to enter into an agreement with the school principal regarding the specific goals for the innovative school. Limits the scope of the remaining existing requirements to innovative schools with an IS operator and IS operators. Adds that an IS operator must collaborate with the ISD Superintendent in selecting, approving, or removing the school principal of an innovative school managing under the Article.

    Amends GS 115C-75.12, regarding the term of supervision, to limit the scope of the statute to innovative schools with an IS operator. Eliminates the provision authorizing the ISD to act as temporary IS operator during a transition period following contract termination.

    Amends GS 115C-75.13 concerning the creation of an innovation zone by a local board, to allow for an innovation zone for up to three low-performing schools within the local board's local unit (was for up to three continually low-performing schools within its local unit) if the local unit has more than 35 percent of the schools identified in the unit as low-performing for some or all (was, for all) of the low-performing schools located in the unit. Requires the leader of the innovation zone office to be selected by the local board in consultation with the ISD Superintendent (was, recommended by the ISD Superintendent) and approved by the State Board. Modifies the provisions regarding termination of an innovation zone to refer to low-performing schools rather than continually low-performing schools. Eliminates the provision which requires a low-performing school in an innovation zone to become an innovative school if the school does not exceed expected growth in the last two of five consecutive years in the innovation zone. 

    Amends GS 115C-429 to require the local board to submit to the county commissioners with the budget the academic performance of the schools in the local unit, including school performance grades of each school, any schools identified as low-performing or continually low-performing or included on the ISD lists, and improvement efforts by the local board. Requires the local board to present the academic performance information at a public meeting upon request of the board of commissioners. 

    Mandates that the State Board select the lowest scoring school in the state based on the school performance score in the school years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 to become an innovative school in the following school year, respectively.

    Requires the State Board to select innovative schools pursuant to GS 115C-75.7(a), as amended, no earlier than the 2022-23 school year for inclusion in the ISD beginning with the 2023-24 school year, unless a local board requests selection prior to that year. 

    Directs the Superintendent of Education and the ISD Superintendent to jointly study the options for innovative schools and reform of low-performing schools, as described, and report to the specified NCGA committee by March 15, 2020.

    Applies to schools identified based on data from the 2018-19 school year as qualifying schools for the 2019-20 school year, except as otherwise provided.