Bill Summary for H 11 (2023-2024)
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AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT THE EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, THE NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF, AND THE GOVERNOR MOREHEAD SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND ARE GOVERNED BY BOARDS OF TRUSTEES AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE DUTIES OF THE BOARDS AND ADMISSION PROCESS FOR SCHOOLS FOR THE DEAF AND BLIND.Intro. by Blackwell, Fontenot, Paré, Wheatley.
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House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.
Adds a new subsection to proposed GS 115C-150.12A that governs the boards of trustees for schools for the deaf and blind (boards), authorizing each board to (1) collaborate with other boards or with local boards of education to develop rules, curriculum, or other matters; and (2) enter into memorandums of understanding or joint contracts with other boards or local boards for the purpose of engaging in joint undertakings or purchases.
Amends proposed GS 115C-150.12C, relating to boards' powers and duties, to direct the State Board of Education (State Board) to evaluate the schools for the deaf and blind (schools) in the same manner as other alternative schools pursuant to GS 115C-12(24).
Revises the eligibility criteria schools must use for student admissions under proposed GS 115C-150.13A. More specifically requires evidence of hearing loss or vision loss, respectively for admission to a school for the deaf or school for the blind, and that the student's primary education needs are related to the student's hearing or vision loss which require the specialized support and programs offered by that school (previously, only required evidence of hearing or vision loss). Now also requires students to possess the level of functioning necessary to participate in the education program (previously also included possession of minimum daily living skills), adding new requirements for an assessment that the student does not pose a risk of harm to self or others, can function within the school environment in a healthy and safe manner, and does not pose a risk of substantial disruption to the learning environment at the school.
Qualifies the exception of school for the deaf or blind employees from the State Human Resources Act, proposed in GS 126-5, to now only include employees hired on or after July 1, 2024.
Revises the admissions eligibility criteria the State Board must adopt for the 2023-24 school year to mirror the changes made to the revised school admissions criteria in proposed GS 115C-150.13A, as amended.
Revises the directives for the appointment of initial members of the boards of trustees for the NC School for the Deaf, the Eastern NC School for the Deaf, and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Now requires the NCGA and the State Board to appoint members within 60 days after the date the act becomes law (was, by November 1, 2023), and requires members to take office 90 days after the date the act becomes law (was, January 1, 2024). Requires the director of each school to call an initial meeting of each board by 105 days after the date the act becomes law (was, January 15, 2024).
Now requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to consult rather than collaborate with personnel and boards of trustees from the NC School for the Deaf, the Eastern NC School for the Deaf, and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, in developing a transition plan for the schools' administration changes. Adds a new requirement for DPI to make a copy of its interim and final transition reports available to each board of trustees at least two weeks prior to submission to the State Board and specified NCGA committee, if the board has taken office at that time. Adds a second interim report to those required by DPI, now requiring DPI to submit interim reports by May 15, 2023, and December 15, 2023 (was one interim report by December 15, 2023). Modifies and adds to required content of the transition plans to specify that the plan (1) must identify areas where the transition may provide employees lesser protections, salaries, or benefits specifically not addressed by the act, and (2) includes an assessment of the most effective administrative structure for the schools for the schools.
Adds the following new content.
Requires each board of trustees of the schools to provide interim reports to the specified NCGA committee by December 15, 2023, and March 15, 2024, and a final report by July 1, 2024, on the plans and progress in transitioning to assumption of administration of the schools. Requires support and consultation of school staff, and requires DPI to provide information as requested by each board. Details required content of the reports, including responses to DPI's reports and an assessment of employment as current employees of the schools under the State Human Resources Act and State salary schedules compared to that of local school administrative unit employees.
Mandates that the board of each school for the deaf and blind honor the terms of any employment contract for employees of those schools as it exists as of July 1, 2024.
Mandates administrators of each school for the deaf and blind employed remain in employment, subject to dismissal for cause, until June 30, 2025. Requires the State Board to waive superintendent licensure requirements for those employed as administrators of each school until June 30, 2025.
Makes the State Human Resources Act, GS Chapter 126, apply to employees of the schools for the deaf and blind employed on June 30, 2024, for as long as that employee remains employed at that school.