Bill Summary for H 878 (2021)

Summary date: 

May 12 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 878 (Public) Filed Tuesday, May 4, 2021
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT THE EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF AND THE NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF ARE GOVERNED BY BOARDS OF TRUSTEES AND FUNCTION SIMILARLY AS LOCAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS.
Intro. by Blackwell, Cooper-Suggs, Rogers.

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Bill summary

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

Revises the proposed changes to Article 9C of GS Chapter 115C as follows. Organizes the Article into two Parts, with Part 1 governing the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, and Part 2 governing residential schools with hearing impairments. Makes changes throughout Part 1, consisting of existing law, to eliminate all provisions relating to the Eastern NC School for the Deaf and the NC School for the Deaf and making conforming changes to limit the provisions of Part 1 to the administration and oversight of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Moves the proposed changes to existing law relating to the governance and administrative structure of the Eastern NC School for the Deaf and the NC School for the Deaf to Part 2, with the following changes.

Adds defined terms, including defining residential school as the schools for students with hearing impairments located at the Eastern NC School for the Deaf (ENCSD) and the NC School for the Deaf (NCSD). Makes changes to refer to residential schools throughout the Part rather than naming the schools. Specifies that the State Board of Education has general supervision over residential schools in accordance with GS 115C-12, which provides for the powers and duties of the State Board (previously referenced the State Board's statutory powers and duties). Specifies that each residential school must be governed by a separate board of trustees. Makes a technical change regarding appointment of board members to require legislative appointment upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of four of the five members, as previously distinguished. No longer provides for initial membership of the boards. Adds a new provisions to deem an appointed member's seat vacant for failure to be present at three successive regular board meetings. No longer provides for the director to call the initial meeting of the board. Now provides for election of a vice-chair, and provides for a quorum.

Eliminates the proposed corporate powers of the boards of trustees (presented in previously proposed GS 115C-150.11B), and instead grants the boards the powers and duties of a local board of education, except as provided in the Part. Directs boards to adopt rules necessary for the administration of the residential school to implement the Part's requirements. Further directs boards to establish rules for determining admissions and assignments for students to the school that meet the five specified minimum requirements provided, such as (1) admission criteria which consider evidence of hearing loss, state and federal laws, optimal academic and communicative outcomes for the child, and parental input and choice and (2) an admission committee to evaluate eligibility for admission and assignment to the school. Provides that rules adopted by these boards are not required to be adopted pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Subjects the board to rules adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to the APA. Adds provisions concerning the following, which align with the provisions of GS 115C-150.14 and GS 115C-150.15 applicable to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind: tuition and room and board; and reporting to residential schools on hearing impaired children. Adds a new requirement for the local superintendent or the staff member with the highest decision-making authority to share a copy of all current evaluation data and a copy of the current and proposed individualized education plan (IEP) with the ENCSD or the NCSD for any child enrolled in a public school unit who has been identified as a child with a disability with hearing impairment that has applied for admission to a residential school, upon written request of a parent, guardian, or custodian of the student. Updates internal and statutory cross-references. 

Amends GS 115C-5 to explicitly include a residential school in the definition of public school unit, and the board of trustees of a residential school in the definition of the governing body of a public school unit. Makes further conforming changes. Makes similar changes to GS 115C-105.51 to explicitly include a residential school in the definition of a public secondary school serving grades six or higher. Makes conforming changes. 

Makes conforming changes to GS 150B-1 to exclude the ENCSD and the NCSD from the scope of the APA.

Revises Section 5 of the act, making conforming technical changes to the initial appointments to the residential school boards of trustees. Adds new provisions to specify initial appointments and terms, creating staggered terms. Provides for the director of each school to call an initial meeting of each board upon appointment of a majority of the boards of trustees of each residential school. 

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