2023-25 Budget: Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2023 (a.k.a. 2023 Appropriations Act), September 2023
Joint Conference Committee Report on the Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2023 (a.k.a. Money Report), September 2023
Members of the 2023 Budget Conference Committee (budget negotiating committee) with contact information (Excel)
Governor Cooper’s Budget Recommendations, March 2023
House Budget Proposal (HB 259), April 2023
2022 Conference Report Update (HB103/SL2022-74)
LATEST UPDATES: Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2022
On July 1, the North Carolina House and Senate passed HB 103 and sent it to Governor Cooper, who signed it into law on July 11, 2022. This adjustment to the 2021-23 budget was not open to debate or revision, only an up or down vote. As a result, legislators had the difficult decision of whether to vote for a budget that included many problematic provisions.
The Leandro Plan was not fully funded. The 2022-23 appropriations fell $443 million short of what the Leandro Plan called for in FY 2022-23 (44% of the total plan left unfunded).
Salary increases did not keep up with inflation.
New Inflation Reserve allocation: $1,000,000,000.00
Additional Transfer to Savings Reserve Fund: $1,600,000,000.00
The $2.6 billion sent to the new inflation reserve and savings reserve could have easily covered the funds needed for Leandro.
Highlights of the Appropriations Act of 2022 pertaining to education
K-12 Education Overall: Provides $11.3 billion for FY 2022-23, which is a 6.4% increase from FY 2021-22.
- The annual starting pay base rate increased to $37,000/year.
- Provides an average 4.2% salary increase, including step increases based on years of teaching.
- For teachers with 0-5 years of experience, the increase is 6.1% to 7.2%.
- For teachers with 15 or more years of teaching, the increase is 0% to 2.7% except for teachers in their 24th year who receive a 6.6% raise (mostly due to the step increase).
- Requires SBE to establish a “Growth-Based teacher Bonus Program” to provide qualifying teachers with bonuses in January 2023 based on 2021-2022 test data.
Teacher Supplemental Allotments (local salary adjustments): Provides $70 million increase in recurring funds to the allotment created in the 2021-23 budget to pay salary supplements to teachers based on a county’s respective tax base, median household income, and effective tax rate. Increased the supplement cap per teacher from $4,250 to $5,000 and increased the tax base eligibility threshold.
Low Wealth/Small County Signing Bonus: Directs DPI to establish and administer a signing bonus program for eligible teachers and employees in 2022-23 that would match local funds on a 1:1 basis up to $1,000 in state funds.
Principal Salaries. A principal’s placement on the principal salary schedule for July – December 2022 is based on 1) size of school, and 2) growth score status for two of the prior three school years. Starting in January 2023, the principal’s placement on the salary scale for 2) growth score status will be set by performance during the prior school year (i.e. 2021-22). Due to the pandemic, some schools’ performance dropped, which will reduce salaries for those principals.
Adds Principal Performance Bonuses for principals whose schools perform in the Top 50% of growth. Bonuses range from $15,000 for Top 5% to $1,000 to Top 21% – 50%
Assistant Principals. Annual pay increased by an average of 3.4%.
Non-Certified Staff Salaries. Starting in 2022-23, non-certified staff will receive a salary increase of 4% or whatever is needed to achieve a minimum hourly rate of $15.00/hour. If staff salaries are higher than $15/hour, they will receive the 4% increase.
Central Office Staff: Provides 4% raise across the board (was 2.5 % in 2021-23 budget)
Retired Educators: Receive an additional 1% cost-of-living supplement for 2022-23.
Private School Vouchers:
- Adds $56 million to the base allocation for Opportunity Scholarships and expands student eligibility for the program from 175% to 200% of Free/Reduced Lunch eligibility (from $89,840 to $103,000/year for a family of 4).
- Total public allocation will be $176 million in FY 2023-24.
- Adds $16.3 million in recurring funds to the Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program (ESA+) to bring the annual amount to $47.9 million.
Early Grades Literacy: Provides $14 million recurring and $600,000 nonrecurring funds to DPI to fund 9 full-time Regional Literacy Coaches and 115 (1 per district) full-time Early Learning Specialists.
School Administration: Provides $6 million increase in funds to cover stipends for Masters of School Administration Interns.
School Nutrition Program: Adds $3.9 million to provide free lunch for students qualifying for reduced-priced meals in SY 2022-23.
Broadband Expansion: Adds $5 million (bringing the total to $20 million) in recurring funds to expand broadband in underserved areas.
Data Systems Study: Provides $500,000 non-recurring funds to myFutureNC to study the creation of an interconnected, real-time data system to facilitate communication and transition of students between public schools, community colleges, and universities.
Student Health and Safety
- School Safety Grants Program: Adds $32 million in non-recurring funds for the School Safety Competitive Grant Program to bring the total to $41.7 million in 2022-23.
- School Resource Officer (SRO) Grants: Adds $15 million in recurring funds to the grant program to place SROs in elementary and middle schools (new total $33 million in 2022-23).
- Feminine Hygiene Products Grant: Makes permanent and funds $250,000/year for grants to schools for feminine hygiene products for students.
Transportation: Adds $32 million in non-recurring funds to transportation fuel reserve to pay for higher fuel costs. Adds $2.8 million in non-recurring and $2.8 million in recurring funds to pay for higher fuel costs for driver training.
2021-2023 Biennium Budget Update
In November 2021, after months of anticipation, the conference budget report was finally released. It was signed by the governor on November 18, 2021. The budget does address many important measures like educator and school staff pay increases, covid relief, and a hold harmless ADM provision that will stave off budget cuts to schools. It falls short, however, in fully funding the Leandro remedial plan. It is disappointing that legislative leaders missed the opportunity to adequately support our schools and students, and instead prioritized tax cuts.
The compromise budget, over the next few years, eliminates North Carolina’s already low corporate tax rate. This will permanently reduce revenue the state has available for public school funding and other important needs. A summary of pay increases for educators follows below.
Highlights of the Conference report budget pertaining to education:
- Total budget spends $25.9 Billion in FY 2021-2022 and $27.0 Billion in FY 2022-2023.
- $10.6 Billion in total K-12 spending in FY 2021-2022 and $10.9 Billion in FY 2022-2023
- Hold harmless provision that ensures school budgets are not cut due to discrepancies in actual vs anticipated ADM.
- $528 million is to be transferred from the NC Lottery to the needs based public school capitol building fund and $80 million into newly created repair and renovations fund.
- Cuts personal income tax from 5.25% to 3.99% over six years, including cutting to 4.99% beginning Jan. 1.
- The 2.5% corporate income tax rate will be cut to 2.25% in 2025 and cut to 0% by the end of the decade.
- Increases zero-tax bracket to $12,750 for individuals, or $25,500 for married couples, up from $10,750 and $21,500.
- A $4.25 billion savings reserve would remain at the end of the biennium.
- An additional $1.5 billion more in recurring funds for K-12 public school system
- Funds broadband expansion.
- $18 million for direct and targeted intervention in low performing schools and districts.
- An additional $37.5 million for Science of Reading training professional development
- $400,000 to address the backlog for drivers education in the state.
- $36 million for grants for after school and before school programs.
- $36 million for summer school extension programs.
- Adds Fayetteville State University to NC Promise program which guarantees $500 in state tuition per semester.
- Limits executive power by changing state law to require the governor to obtain agreement from a majority of the Council of State if a statewide emergency declaration is to last more than 30 days.
- Ends controversial ISD program.
- Opportunity scholarship eligibility raised to include students with a household income level up to 175% of the amount required for the student to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. Voucher amount limit of $4,200 is removed and replaced with a limit of 90% ($5,850) of the state per pupil allocation for average daily membership in the prior fiscal year.
- $500,000 for an unnamed nonprofit to publicize and market the voucher program.
- Creation of a fast track replication process for some charter schools. Planning year will not be required for these schools.
What was left out?
- Full funding of remediation requirements for Leandro
- Restoration of masters pay
- Requirement to post curriculum documents online
- Eight weeks of paid parental leave for new mothers
- A delay in implementation of new social studies standards until the 2023-2024 school year and creation of a Standards Review Commission.
- Raising teacher pay to the national average
- Medicaid Expansion
- Helpful links to budget documents and recent stories:
Teachers will receive an increase of approximately 2.5% per year for FY 2021-2023. This includes an increase of about 1.3% plus step increases given for longevity. The restoration of Masters pay was not included in the final budget.
Highlights of educator pay:
- Raise hourly salaries for non-certified school employees up to $13 an hour in the first year, then to $15 in the second.
- All state employees and local education employees would get $1,000 bonuses.
- Teachers will receive an additional $1,000 bonus.
- Bonuses for teachers previously tied to testing will become $300 bonuses for all teachers.
- An additional $500 bonus would be given to employees earning less than $75,000
- $100 million in recurring funds for a new state-funded teacher salary supplement focusing on low-wealth counties. This would impact teachers in 95 of the state’s 100 counties. Excludes Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, Guilford and Buncombe counties. Kris Nordstrom of NC Policy Watch notes “The NCGA’s new ‘low wealth’ teacher salary supplement allotment disproportionately benefits white teachers and districts serving white students”.
- A one-time cost of living adjustment for retired state workers, and teachers. The amounts are 2% for this year and 3% for the next fiscal year.
- Principal pay would be raised by 2.5% over two years.
Previous Budget Proposals
House Budget Proposal
On August 12, 2021 the proposed budget bill was presented to the full House for a vote. Several Democrats noted that the legislation was created behind closed doors and that they were not given a chance to properly review the document before a vote was expected.
The House Budget, spends $25.7 billion in the first year and adds $940 million in the following year. The proposed spending plan was released on Monday evening and includes broadband expansion, infrastructure, and capital projects among other items. It was passed by the House on Thursday with a vote of 72-41. The budget will now be sent to the Senate for a concurrence vote. The two chambers will work towards a compromise. The compromise budget will then be presented to the Governor to pass or veto.
The state has a huge budget surplus estimated at $6.5 billion. Like the Senate budget, the House budget includes various tax cuts including personal and corporate income taxes. The House budget’s tax cuts are lower than the Senate’s. A recent analysis from the NC Justice Center states the “full impact of the changes by 2025 would be a reduction of $2 billion in annual revenue that otherwise could have funded priorities for the well-being of the state and the people.” Many public school advocates note that the budget falls short in several areas, and fails to fully fund the Leandro remediations supported by the Court. The needs of North Carolina’s communities and schools are great as the pandemic continues. More work needs to be done on the spending plan to adequately support our state and meet the critical requirements of our traditional public schools.
The following are some highlights from the budget plan:
- Educator raises are focused on veteran teachers. New steps were created for years 15-20 and 20-25. The average raises for teachers are approximately 5.5%.
- Reinstatement of advanced degree pay for educators with Master’s degrees.
- 8 weeks of paid parental leave for new mothers.
- Bonuses of $300 for all educators.
- Creation of a new health savings program for new teachers that will help with health care needs upon retirement.
- Bonuses of $1,800 for all principals.
- Assistant Principal pay raised to 22% above corresponding teacher pay step.
- Raises for non-certified school staff to bring minimum salaries to $13/hour in the first year of the budget and $15/hour in year two.
- Elimination of the requirement that teachers pay for their substitutes for personal leave days as long as a reason is given for the absence.
- Creation of a matching recruitment bonus program for rural areas.
- A hold harmless provision for principals’ pay as their salary was tied to school performance grades and school grade reports are not widely available due to Covid.
- A delay of the new social studies standards until at least the 2023-24 school year.
- Creation of a Standards Review Commission to review the social studies standards.
- The requirement that school boards create a local community media advisory committee to investigate and evaluate challenges to instructional materials and supplemental materials.
- A requirement that school districts post online what instructional materials are being used, including teacher lesson plans.
- A penalty for districts found not to be in compliance with a law requiring them to teach cursive writing and multiplication tables. The proposed budget would withhold the salary of the superintendent of the school district.
- Several provisions benefiting charter schools including giving multiple chances to rejected charter school applicants to win approval.
- School performance grades waived for the 2021-2022 school year.
- Permission for districts to offer virtual academies for this school year.
- Instead of a COLA adjustment, retirees will receive 2% increase each year of the budget for 4% total.
- Provisions for a restructuring of NCDPI that include a list of programs not eligible to be cut.
- The state’s two virtual charter school programs, which have historically had low performance grades, could continue operating for four more school years.
- Reducing the corporate tax rate from 2.5% rate to 1.99% over two years.
- Reducing the individual income tax rate from the current rate of 5.25% to 4.99%.
- Allocate $5.8 billion in state funds in the next two years on building construction and repairs. Find the full document here
Senate Budget Proposal
At a press conference on Monday, June 21, Senate Leader Phil Berger shared initial details about the Senate’s $25.7 billion dollar spending proposal. Previously, we reported that recent projected budget surpluses were estimated to be approximately $6.5 billion over initial estimates by 2023. This would go a long way in meeting critical needs of our schools that have been ignored for far too long. The Leandro case affirmed that inequitable and inadequate school funding bars access to a sound and basic public education, particularly for students of color and those from families with low incomes. Disappointingly the Senate budget proposal instead focuses on tax cuts.The NC Corporate tax rate is currently 2.5% and one of the lowest in the US. Related proposed legislation would eliminate it all together by 2028.
Raises for educators are a paltry 3% over two years. This after a tumultuous year many educators described as the most challenging of their career. This is no way to show our teachers our appreciation or build back the teacher pipeline. NCAE had this to say about the proposal “When presented with an added $6.5 billion in unexpected revenue, the Senate opted to reward educators for working non-stop to support students through the most difficult school year in history with a pitiful 1.5% raise. Corporate tax cuts take priority over students yet again.”
- A 3% raise for teachers over the next two years.
- State employees earning less that $75,000 will receive a $1,500 bonus. Those making more will receive a $1,000 bonus.
- Teachers and principals will get an additional $300 bonus.
- Non-certified employees will get minimum $13 an hour salary.
- Allotment for every school district to have a psychologist.
- Elimination of the controversial Innovative School District
- Additional funds for children with disabilities.
- Additional funds for academically gifted children.
- Small county school system supplemental funding includes school districts with ADMs up to 3,300 and allotments between 1.47M-1.82M.
- The reclassification of at least 7 full time equivalent full time positions within DPI to support science of reading and NC Read to Achieve program as amended by the Excellent Public Schools act of 2021.
- $15 million in non-recurring state funds for Smart Start for both years of the biennium.
- 2% rate increase supported by $1.7M in recurring state funds for FY 21-22 and FY 22-23 with the intention of supporting salaries for NC Pre-K teachers in private child care programs.
- $20 million in non-recurring federal state-level ARPA funding to support to support startup and capitol grants for communities with child care deserts or low-performing or high poverty school districts.
• No additional funding for slot expansion.
- Permits the use of special state reserve funds for transportation and establishes the transportation reserve fund for cover through a grant program extraordinary transportation costs for qualifying students.
- Establishes the 2021-2023 School Safety Grant program to improve safety in public schools by providing grants for services for students in crisis, for school safety training and for safety equipment in schools.
- Establishes a Feminine Hygiene program to provide grants up to 5,000 per public school unit. Unfortunately these funds are non-recurring.
- An increase of $76.8 Million dollars for the Opportunity Scholarship program.
- 7% raise on average for corrections officers.
- $459 million will be transferred from the NC Education Lottery to the Needs-Based Public School Capital Building Fund and $200 million to the Public School Capital Fund. A projected $2.4 billion will be spent on school capital over the next 7 years.
- A hold harmless provision for change in ADM. The State Board of Ed will not reduce allocations based on discrepancies between actual and anticipated ADM.
- A Children with Disabilities Reserve Fund is established for public school units that enroll more children with disabilities than anticipated prior to the start of the school year.
- $6 million will go towards science of reading training for the Read to Achieve program.
- Tax cuts including cutting the personal income tax rate to 3.99% by 2026. The current tax rate is 5.25%, and the budget would reduce it to 4.99% in 2022.
- The standard deduction would be raised to $25,500 and the child tax deduction would be increased to $500 for each child.
- Notably, the budget lacks a COLA adjustment for retirees and medicaid expansion
The Governor’s Recommended Budget was released on March $585.6 million in funding for FY 2021-22 and $1.0 billion for FY 2022-23 to improve teacher quality and support, provide additional resources for students with the greatest need, increase Local Education Agency (LEA) budgetary flexibility, ensure students are college and career ready, and strengthen early childhood education and supports. The recommended budget provides many of the resources necessary to meet the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. Highlights include:
- A $15-an-hour minimum wage for state workers
- Restoration of the state Earned Income Tax Credit and a new child care tax credit
- $120 million to hire an additional 1,000 school counselors and nurses
- Funding for another 1,500 slots in the state’s pre-kindergarten program
- $2,000 bonuses for teachers, principals, noncertified public school employees, university employees and community college employees this fiscal year and another $1,000 bonus next year
- $52 million for educator recruitment, retention and training
- Removes funding caps and increases funding for the children with disabilities and Limited English Proficiency allotments to increase the number of students receiving supplementary funding and address differential costs of serving specific populations
- Increases low wealth funding to provide eligible counties additional supplemental funding to address gaps in local revenue per student
- Provides $1.5 million to decrease the impact of implicit bias on children of color and children with disabilities
- Strengthens the early childhood educator pipeline by providing workforce development and compensation strategies
- Establishes a DPI Office of Equity Affairs to direct recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce
- Funding to support up to 90 additional Teaching Fellows for the 2021-22 academic year and 445 additional Fellows for 2022-23, expanding eligible institutions for the program, broadening eligible certification areas, extending the reduced payback period to Fellows who teach in high-poverty schools, improving opportunities for talented minority candidates, and expanding program support and enhancement
The Governor presented his recommendations to the NCGA this week. The House and Senate are in the midst of drafting their budgets. The next steps involve negotiations between the differing priorities to reach a compromise budget. Education will be a key issue as well as taxes and Medicaid expansion. Stay tuned for this important information!
2019-21 Biennium Budget-Update
UPDATE 9/15/19: Where are we in the budget process? On September 11th, members of the N.C. House of Representatives voted 55 – 9 to override the Governor’s veto of the proposed state budget. Democratic members of the House say they were told there would be no vote that morning and many members were absent for the vote. Many concerned citizens have been deeply critical of this maneuver that effectively silenced the voices of many lawmakers and constituents. For the budget to pass, the Senate would need to override the vote and the bill will become session law.
Earlier in the summer, the House and Senate finished negotiating their conference report, otherwise known as a compromise budget. They released the report on Tuesday June 25th. The budget was passed by both houses on June 26th. The bill text can be viewed here and the corresponding money report, here. On June 28, the governor vetoed the compromise budget. A vote to override the veto had been placed on the calendars of both chambers several times, but did not occur. Critics speculate that house leadership was waiting until they had the required votes to override the veto. Now that the House has voted to override the veto, the Senate will likely vote in the coming weeks.
On Tuesday, June 25 Legislative leaders released their compromise budget. The plan, unfortunately, does not include Medicaid expansion or the restoration of Master’s pay. The proposed compromise budget spends $14.2 billion next fiscal year on education and $14.8 million the following year. Average raises for teachers vary, with more going to experienced teachers.
See the salary schedules here.
Teachers with 15 years experience or less will receive a $1,000 raise each year from the state pay scale already in place. The base pay for beginning teachers stays at $35,000. Teachers with 16 to 20 years of experience would get a $500 raise both years, or 1% each year. Teachers with 21 to 24 years of experience would get a $1,500 raise this year followed by a $500 raise next year. Teachers with 25 years or more experience would get a raise of $600 this year and $500 next year. Veteran teachers with 25-plus years experience would also receive $500 bonuses by the end of October each year. The salary schedule would max out at $53,100 by the second year of the biennium.
Small County Signing Bonus for Teachers
DPI will administer a signing bonus program in the 2019-2020 fiscal year for eligible teachers who accept employment with LEAs that received small county school system supplemental funding in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Bonuses will be paid up to $2,000.
School Staff Funding
The budget includes a 1%-per-year raises for education support staff. NCAE leaders included recommendations for $15/hr minimum wage for non-certified staff, 5%
raise for all public school personnel when they marched with several thousand teachers in May.
$15 million in both years for a revised principal pay schedule. Most will go to the base salary for principals. The average raise would be approximately 6.2%. The budget also adds an extra school size category for principals at schools with more than 1,600 students. Extends the hold harmless provision so that a principal who made more money under previous pay schedules will not have a reduction in pay. The proposal establishes the Principal Recruitment Supplement Program where principals could receive a $30,000 salary supplement if they go to qualifying schools. A qualifying school is defined as a school with an overall school performance grade that places it in the bottom 5% of the state. The compromise budget does not factor in years of experience in their revised principal salary schedule.
For school construction projects, the compromise budget commits $4.4 billion over the next 10 years. Funds come from the public school capital fund, the State Capital Infrastructure Fund and the needs-based capital funding. A previous proposal from the House included putting a bond on the referendum.
Included in the budget proposal is an additional $15 million for supplies each fiscal year. Funds are non-recurring. Teachers would be paid directly to purchase supplies. They would receive $150 each in the first fiscal year and $200 in the second fiscal year.
Textbooks and Digital Resources
Provides additional funding for the Textbooks and Digital Resources Allotment.Provides $10.9 M in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $12 M in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021. The revised total requirements for this allotment, including ADM adjustments and receipts from the Indian Gaming Education Fund, are $74.0 million in each year of the biennium.
Compromise budget proposal does not include the 5% raise for COLA for retirees as public school advocates had hoped for. Instead, the budget gives retirees a one time 0.5% bonus.
A-F School Grades
The compromise budget does not change the weighting of school performance grades to raise the percentage of growth scores as the House budget proposed. The proposal leaves performance grades at 80/20 in favor of academic achievement. It does leave the school performance grades on a 15-point scale instead of moving to a 10 point scale. It is important to remember academic achievement grades are correlated with family income and do not reflect the learning in our schools. They also do not come with resources or financial support to improve grades.
Read to Achieve
The compromise budget includes legislation that would revamp the struggling Read to Achieve program. The program reportedly spent at least $150 million since 2012 and reading scores have not meaningfully improved. The budget uses language from the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019 to require teachers in grades K-3 to develop individual reading plans for struggling students. The budget also establishes revisions to training standards for teachers and a requirement of school districts to submit summer camp plans to DPI.
The compromise budget includes language that broadens enrollment priority for siblings and children of charter school employees.
Opportunity Scholarships (Vouchers)
The compromise budget raises the administrative cap from $1.5M to $2M annually.
The compromise budget includes language that initiates the Department of Public Instruction administering the following school safety grants:
$6.1 million non-recurring for school safety equipment grants in FY 2019-2020.
$4.5 million non-recurring for school safety training grants inFY 2019-2020.
$4.5 million non-recurring for students in crisis grants in FY 2019-2020.
$3 million recurring in FY 2019-2020 and $6 million recurring in FY 2020-2021 for grants to employ and train school resource officers.
The compromise budget does NOT include the Senate budget’s proposal to fund 100 new school psychologists and ensure every school district has at least one psychologist.
Financial Literacy Instruction
The compromise budget includes language mandating a high school Financial Literacy class. Public school teachers and advocates point out financial literacy is already included in High School civics curriculum and that this course should not supplant a US History course. There is $1 million allocated for associated training.
The compromise budget modifies the state graduation requirements to include one required credit in arts education to be completed by each student at any time in grades six through 12. Further, it stipulated that the State Board of Education will implement the arts education graduation requirement beginning with students entering the sixth grade in 2022.
The proposed budget provides funding to offset co-pays for students who are eligible for reduced-priced lunches in schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. It allocates $3 Million dollars for this. Unfortunately, the funds are non-recurring and are only available for 2019-2020.
Cooperative Innovative High Schools
Provides $1.5M in funding for additional resources to approved cooperative innovative high schools for the school’s first three years of operation. Does not cut funding of Cooperative Innovative High Schools as Senate plan had proposed. The proposal does restrict the State Board of Ed from approving more than four new Cooperative innovative High Schools per year if those schools are seeking supplemental funding.
The compromise budget includes language that requires the State Board of Education to include instruction of the Holocaust and genocide and acquire curriculum content and implement professional development addressing the Holocaust and genocide.
What Was Left Out of The Budget?
Disappointingly, the proposed compromise budget fails to expand Medicaid. North Carolina is one of the 14 states that has yet to pass legislation to expand Medicaid. If they were to enact legislation, approximately 500,000 more people would be covered.As it stands now, many adults without children are not eligible for Medicaid. This includes expectant mothers. The infant mortality rate in North Carolina is increasing and it is worse for infants of color. Compared to white babies, black babies are more than twice as likely to die in infancy. Medicaid expansion is associated with improvements in relative disparities for black infants compared with white infants. Maternal health is a substantial contributor to infant health. Healthy babies tend to be healthier children, who consequently are more likely to thrive once they get to school.
Other Items Left Out of the Budget
Adequate funding for mental health professionals and school nurses, reinstating healthcare benefits in retirement for educators entering the profession after Jan. 1, 2021, restoration of master’s pay, funding for teacher assistants, adequate per-pupil funding, and better accountability for charter schools and voucher recipients.
Some controversial proposals not included were: a virtual Pre-K program, stipulations on teacher leave days, a move towards weighted school funding, and removing the ability of school districts to sue county commissioners for more money for school construction projects.
Check back soon for more analysis!
The proposed Senate Budget, HB 966 and the corresponding money report were released Wednesday, May 29th. The budget passed its second reading on May 30th . The bill passed its third reading May 31st 30-16. The House and Senate will begin negotiation for a final budget to be presented to the Governor who may pass or veto the proposal. The budget would spend $23.9 billion in the fiscal year starting July 1 and includes $1.3 billion in additional spending for public education over two years.
It is important to remember this budget is far from final. The budget negotiations will likely continue into the summer and this information will change. Keep checking back for updates!
Raises for all teachers of approximately 3.5 over two years, $500 bonuses for teachers with 15-24 years of experience and $1,000 to teachers with 25+ years. Teachers would receive a pay raise at the start of the school year, compared to the House budget, that stipulates raises starting in January 2020. Senate leadership indicated all teachers would receive a raise.The base pay for beginning teachers starts at $35,000, and the salary schedule would max out at $52,520.
This chart from the Governor’s office shows the difference between House, Senate and Governor budget proposals in terms of teacher pay. Teacher Pay Comparison
$15 million in both years for a revised principal pay schedule. Most will go to the base salary for principals. The average raise would be approximately 6.2%. The provision that would double the performance bonus for those leading low performing schools has been removed for 2019-20.The proposal also adds an extra school size category for principals at schools with more than 1,600 students. The proposal establishes the Principal Recruitment Supplement Program where principals could receive a $30,000 salary supplement if they go to qualifying schools. A qualifying school is defined as a school with an overall school performance grade that places it in the bottom 5% of the state.
Non-Certified School Staff Pay
The Senate proposal calls for a 1% raise for non-certified school staff. Notably, these employees were left out of the $15/ hour bonus received by other state employees last year.
$4.8 billion across three accounts for school construction and maintenance over 10 years, starting immediately. These funds are contributed on an annual basis and are subject to availability of state funds and future legislative decisions.
Disappointingly, the proposed Senate budget fails to expand Medicaid. North Carolina is one of the 14 states that has yet to pass legislation to expand Medicaid. If they were to enact legislation, approximately 500,000 more people would be covered. As it stands now, an adult without children is not eligible for Medicaid. The infant mortality rate in North Carolina is increasing and it is worse for infants of color. Compared to white babies, black babies are more than twice as likely to die in infancy. Medicaid expansion is associated with improvements in relative disparities for black infants compared with white infants. Maternal health is a substantial contributor to infant health. Healthy babies tend to be healthier children, who consequently are more likely to thrive once they get to school.
The Senate budget includes funding for 100 new school psychologists and would ensure every school district has at least one psychologist. More mental health professionals are desperately needed in our schools. The proposal is welcome, but still falls far short of reaching nationally recommended ratios.
School Mental Health Support Personnel Grants
Provides $10 M in recurring funding in FY 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 for public school units to employ, contract with and/or train school mental health personnel as well as contract for other health support services.
$10 million recurring in both years and $8.2 million non-recurring in the first year for school mental health support personnel grants, $6.1 million non-recurring for school safety equipment grants in the first year, $4.5 million non-recurring in the first year for school safety training grants, and $4.5 million non-recurring in the first year for students in crisis grants. The budget proposal also includes $6 million recurring in both years of the biennium and $1.7 million non-recurring in the first year for school resource officers. Many are concerned about school safety, however, a 2018 study found increasing investments in school resource officers did not lead to safer schools. Further, there is evidence of racial disparities in arrests by SROs, which furthers inequities in education.
The proposed N.C. Senate budget contains a troubling provision that removes local school boards ability to take county commissioners to court if capital funding is not resolved in mediation. Advocates worry it removes the pressure and incentive for county commissioners to work with school boards to address school capital needs. The state has passed more and more school funding needs onto the counties in recent years and some areas do not have the capital to make up the difference. This has caused tremendous strain for our schools.
School Performance Grades
The Senate budget does not change the weighting of school performance grades to raise the percentage of growth scores as the House budget does. The proposal leaves performance grades at 80/20 in favor of academic achievement. Academic achievement grades are correlated with family income and do not reflect the learning in our schools. They also do not come with resources or financial support to improve grades.
The Senate budget would require school districts to provide $300 to teachers to purchase classroom supplies through an app like ClassWallet and get reimbursed. Critics note Class Wallet vendors’ products cost more and selection is limited.
Textbooks and Digital Resources
Provides additional funding for the Textbooks and Digital Resources Allotment.Provides $10.9 M in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $12 M in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021. The revised total requirements for this allotment, including ADM adjustments and receipts from the Indian Gaming Education Fund, are $74.0 million in each year of the biennium.
The proposed budget provides funding to offset co-pays for students who are eligible for reduced-priced lunches. It allocates $3 Million dollars for this. Unfortunately, the funds are non-recurring and are only available for 2019-2020.
Advanced Teaching Roles
Provides additional funding to expand the Advanced Teaching Roles program. Requires the SBE to establish a program to develop advanced teaching roles and organizational models that link teacher performance and professional growth to salary increases for classroom teachers in selected local school administrative units.The revised appropriation for Advanced Teaching Roles is $2M in FY 2019-20 and $3M in FY 2020-21, which is the same language as the House budget.)
The Senate Budget proposal, like the House budget, expands the number of University of North Carolina schools and private institutions in the N.C. Teaching Fellows to eight programs. Critics have raised concerns that historically black colleges and universities are not included in the program, especially in light of the research that points to the critical need for more educators of color.
Like the house budget, the Senate budget includes language mandating a high school Financial literacy class. Public school teachers and advocates point out financial literacy is already included in High School civics curriculum and that this course should not supplant a US History course. There is $1 million allocated for associated training.
NC Senate budget would eliminate several DPI positions that have been vacant for more than a year.
Read to Achieve
Provides $70,000 in non-recurring funding to acquire reading camp curriculum to conduct a Reading Camp Curriculum Pilot. DPI would be required to report findings on the impact of readings camps on proficiency from the pilot to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee by November 15, 2020.
Cooperative Innovative High Schools
Provides $1.5M in funding for additional resources to approved cooperative innovative high schools for the school’s first three years of operation.
Phases out funding for current schools who have received funds for more than 3 years by allocating for the 2020-2021 FY an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount a local school administrative unit received from the allotment for the 2019-2020 FY and no funds from the allotment for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and for subsequent fiscal years.
Phases out funding for current schools who have received funds for 2 years by allocating for the 2021-2022 fiscal year an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount a local school administrative unit received from the allotment for the 2020-2021 fiscal year and no funds from the allotment for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and for subsequent fiscal years.
The Senate budget proposal does not include any cost-of-living adjustments to monthly pension checks in its plan.
Some key differences from the house budget include no reinstatement of masters pay, no art requirement in high school, no money for virtual pre-k, no funding to study a weighted student funding model, no provision to reduce the lab school program from 9 schools to 6, and no restrictions on teachers’ personal leave days. Provisions in the House budget would make it nearly impossible for future teacher rallies to take place.
Read this chart to see a Budget Comparison between House, Senate and the Governor’s proposals.
The House unveiled its initial budget, HB 966 on April 25, 2019. The budget passed its third reading, and the Senate plans to vote on their version of the budget the week after Memorial Day. $10.4 billion of the 24.5 billion dollar budget would go towards K-12 public education. All monetary amounts listed below are in addition to the base budget and technical adjustments. Details of the budget, including school employee salaries, were released late Wednesday. The average is teacher raise is approximately 4.6 percent (6.3% total over two years). Under the proposed budget, principals would receive an average raise of 10 percent, assistant principals would get 6.3 percent and Teachers with 30 or more years of experience would get about a 16.3 percent raise. Teachers with 20 to 29 years would get from 5 to 9.6 percent. Teachers up through year 15 would still see their step increases, which include a $1,000 salary bump, at the beginning of the school year. Starting pay for educators would remain at $35,000. Teachers with advanced degrees would also get more money from this budget. Most state workers, including non-certified school staff would earn a 1% raise, or $500, whichever is greater.
The budget passed its third reading Friday, May 3 by a vote of 61-51 and was sent to the Senate.
It is important to remember this budget is far from final. The budget negotiations will likely continue into the summer and this information will change as amendments are added. Keep checking back for updates!
Important Budget Resources:
HB 966 can be viewed in full here. The full House Education Committee Report can be found here. Money report is here. A summary of the funds is here. House Education Budget Bill here. Public School Capital Outlays Chart here. Education Items in the Governor’s budget here. Highlights of the NC Public School Budget 2019 here. NC State Board of Education Budget Response here. NC Department of Public Instruction #NC2030 vision here. North Carolina School Finances website here. (source NCDPI)
See a comparison of key points of Governor Cooper’s Budget and the House Budget here
School Staff Funding
Would provides $47,472,443 in recurring funding in both FY 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 to reflect increase in average salary of various school positions.
Teacher Monthly Salary Schedule
The salary schedule will go into effect from January 1,2020 to June 30, 2020. Raises generally go into effect the first of the fiscal year which is July 1. Lawmakers did not cite specifics for the delay other than the lack of availability of funds. Raises increase by $100 per month each year from years 0-15, $50 per month for years 16-29 and $250 per month at 30 years and beyond. We’ve included a few years as examples.
Years of Experience “A” Teachers
Restore Education-Based Salary Supplements for Teachers and Instructional Support Personnel
The State Board of Ed policy TCP-A-006, as it was in effect on June 30, 2013 shall be used to determine whether teachers and instructional support are paid on the “M” salary schedule and whether they received a salary supplement for academic preparation at the six-year or doctoral level.
Small County Signing Bonus for Teachers
DPI will administer a signing bonus program in the 2019-2020 fiscal year for eligible teachers who accept employment with LEAs that received small county school system supplemental funding in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Bonuses will be paid up to $2,000.
Principal Salary Schedule
From January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 principals will receive a monthly salary for teachers who are classified as “A” plus an additional 25%. Higher amounts are in accordance with average daily membership and growth scores as listed below
Membership Base Met Growth Exceeded Growth
0-400 “A”+25% +$4,000 +$8,000
401-700 +$2,000 +$6,000 +$10,000
701-1,000 +$4,000 +$8,000 +$12,000
1,001-1,300 +$6,000 +$10,000 +$14,000
1,301-1,600 +$8,000 +$12,000 +$16,000
1,601+ +$10,000 +$14,000 +18,000
2019-2020 Principal Bonus Schedule
Statewide Growth Percentage Bonus
Top 5% $10,000
Top 15% $5,000
Top 20% $2,500
Top 50% $1,000
A principal who supervised a school with an overall performance grade of D or F in the 2017-2018 school year, if the principal supervised the school for the majority of the 2018-2019 school year, qualifies for a bonus of twice the amount listed above. The bonus will be paid at the highest amount for which the principal qualifies.
Assistant Principal Salaries
From January 1,2020 to June 30, 2020 assistant principals will receive a monthly salary based on the salary schedule for teachers who are classified at “A” teachers plus 20%. Assistant Principals will be placed on the step on the salary schedule that reflects the total number of years of experience as a certified employee of the public schools. Participants in an approved full-time master’s in-school administration program will receive up to a 10-month stipend at the beginning salary of an assistant principal during the internship period of the master’s program. The stipend shall not exceed the difference between the beginning salary of an assistant principal plus the cost of tuition, fees, and books and any fellowship funds received by the intern as a full-time student, including awards of the Principal Fellows Program.
School Administrator Salaries
Starting in January 1,2020- June 30, 2020. The monthly salary ranges that follow apply to assistant 8 superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers.
School Administrator I $3,632 to $6,697
School Administrator II $3,842 to $7,096
School Administrator III $4,070 to $7,520
School Administrator IV $4,228 to $7,814
School Administrator V $4,395 to $8,125
School Administrator VI $4,654 to $8,608
School Administrator VII $4,835 to $8,951.
Superintendent Salary Schedule
The monthly salary ranges that follow apply to public school 25 superintendents from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020:
Superintendent I $5,125 to $9,488
Superintendent II $5,433 to $10,054
Superintendent III $5,755 to $10,657
Superintendent IV $6,100 to $11,297
Superintendent V $6,467 to $11,978
Non-Certified Personnel Salaries
From January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the annual salary for non-certified public school employees whose salaries are supported from State funds shall be increased as follows:
For permanent, full-time employees on a 12-month contract, by the greater of one percent (1%) or five hundred dollars ($500.00). For the following employees, by a prorated and equitable amount based on the amount specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection:
- Permanent, full-time employees on a contract for fewer than 12 months.
- Permanent, part-time employees
- Temporary and permanent hourly employees
Proposed funding for 1,700 more slots in FY2019-20 and 1,700 in FY2020-21, for a total of 3,400 slots.
School Mental Health Support Personnel Grants
Budget would provide $19M in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $ 30.2M in recurring funds for FY 2020-2021 for public school units to employ, contract with and/or train school mental health support personnel as well as to contract for other health support services. Numbers of mental health staff in North Carolina are far below nationally recommended ratios. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10-17 in North Carolina. This proposal falls short of meaningfully meeting North Carolina’s needs.
Classroom Supplies for Teachers
Would provide $15M in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and FY 2020-2021 for classroom materials/instructional supplies/equipment allotment. The House proposal originally called for a $400 direct allotment to teachers, but was later amended to $145. The remaining $62.5M of the allotment would be distributed to districts to purchase school supplies. This is a good start, but does not return funding to pre-recession levels nor allow full local control of how to manage and use these funds to their maximum potential.
Would provide $14,569,928 in recurring funds for FY 2019-2020 and 19,521,903 in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 to offset projected increases in fuel charges and related transportation costs.
Textbooks and Digital Resources
Would provide $1,326,271 in recurring funds and $10M in non-recurring funds for FY 2019-2020 and $8.8 million in recurring funds for FY 2020-2021 for additional funding of the Textbooks and Digital Resources Allotment.
School Resource Officer Grants
Would provide $3M in non-recurring funds for FY 2019-2020 and $7.7M in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 for additional funding for the employment and/or training of school resource officers.
School Safety Equipment Grants
Would provide $3M in non-recurring funds for FY 2019-2020 and $6.1M in non-recurring funds for FY 2020-2021 for the purchase of safety equipment for government-owned buildings and related training.
School Safety Training Grants
Would provide $3 Million in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $4.6 Million in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 to allow LEAs to contract with community partners who provide training to help students develop healthy responses to trauma and stress.
Students in Crisis Grants
Would provide $2M in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $4.6M in recurring funds to allow LEAs to contract with community partners who provide evidence-based crisis services to students. Update: Amendment A20 appropriates $1M originally intended for virtual Pre-K to to the Students in Crisis Grants instead.
Digital Learning Plan
Increases funding for digital learning plan; $700K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $1.3M in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 to accelerate the implementation of several components of the State’s Digital Learning plan. (https://www.ncleg.gov/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/PDF/H898v1.pdf)
Computer Science Plan
Would provide $1.5M in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and again in FY 2020-2021 for Phase 2 of the State Computer Science Plan, with a goal of continued expansion of computer science offerings to all students.
Virtual Early Learning Pilot
Originally, the budget included $1M in non-recurring funds for the State Board of Education to contract with a third-party organization to offer computer-instruction to at-risk, preschool-aged children in up to 10 LEAs. Amendment A20 appropriated the money instead to the Students in Crisis Grants. Unfortunately, a last minute amendment restored funding to the provision. Public School advocates have serious concerns with this proposal. Young children learn best through hands-on experiences and most experts agree, their screen time should be limited. A better proposal would be to expand the high-quality Pre-k program NC offers, but that many eligible children cannot access due to insufficient funding.
Would provide $800K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $800K in FY 2020-2021 for additional funding for the Governor’s School, a program that provides summer enrichment activities for talented high school students.
Competency-Based Mathematics Education Pilot Program
Would provide $500K in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 for funding to establish the Competency-Based Mathematics Pilot program. The purpose of the pilot is to allow 9-12 grade students to advance to higher-levels of mathematics courses contingent on the mastery of concepts and skills.
Data Analytics Unit and Dashboard (5 FTEs)
Would provide $200K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $1.2M in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 in recurring funds in order to implement a recommendation from the 2018 operational audit of DPI to establish a data analytics section within DPI to improve data-driven decisions at DPI,the LEAs, and charter schools.
Advanced Placement Partnership
Would provide $150,000 in recurring funds in both FY 2019-2020 and FY 2020-2021 to expand the North Carolina Advanced Placement Partnership to increase training opportunities for teachers of AP classes and international baccalaureate courses.
NC Center for the Advancement in Teaching
Would provide $500K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $500K in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 to DPI to the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching to support the continued professional development of teachers.
Weighted Student Funding Formula
Would provide $1Million in non-recurring funding for the State Board of Education to contract with a third-party organization to develop a weighted student funding model for the State’s public schools. The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform, established in August 2017 has spent the last few years meeting to examine the feasibility of moving to a weighted student funding model. A weighted student funding model sets a base amount of funding for each student and then adds “weights” (money) for kids who fall in different categories such as low-income, English language learners and disabled. Proponents of the weighted funding method say it allows for more flexibility and transparency. They see the potential for more money to go to “schools of choice” as an incentive. Critics argue that the overhaul would create more problems than it fixes. Weighted student models miss fixed costs of a school district that are incurred regardless of population size. This hits rural areas with declining populations especially hard. Few, if any states have been able to implement this model in a way that is fair and equitable. The weighted student funding models can have the same inequities and complexities as the current allotments methods. Many caution against proceeding too quickly with an overhaul. Be sure to scroll down below to the section titled ‘Task Force May Change How Schools Are Funded’.
Cybersecurity & Risk Management Services for LEAs & Charters
Would provide $550K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $550K in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 in recurring funds to expand the School Connectivity Initiative to include cyber security and risk management for LEAs and Charter Schools.
Advanced Teaching Roles Grants
Would provide $500K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and $1.5M in recurring funds in FY 2020-2021 to expand the Advanced Teaching Roles program.
Renewal School System Evaluation
Would provide $300K in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 for a comprehensive evaluation of the Renewal School System, a program designed by S.L 2018-32 and designed to give the LEAs meeting certain criteria additional budgetary and policy flexibility.
Economics & Financial Literacy
Would provide $900K in non-recurring funds for a directed grant to the NC Council on Economic Education to provide economics and personal finance professional development and teacher stipends. This funding corresponds to the mandate for high schoolers to take a financial literacy class.
REAL School Gardens
Would provide $700K in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 for a directed grant to REAL School Gardens’ Carolina’s region to provide teachers with tools and training to implement effective experiential lessons outdoors.
Would provide $500K in recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 and again in FY 2020-2021 for services provided by BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Inc. for outreach to and support of North Carolina Families.
Provides $500K in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 to Muddy Sneakers to support its experiential learning programs that aim to improve the science aptitude of 5th graders through supplemental, hands-on field instruction of the State science standards.
Eastern North Carolina STEM
Provides $400K in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 to the State Board of Education to contract with an independent entity to administer a residential STEM enrichment program for underserved students. Participation in the program is limited to students enrolled in Northampton County Schools, Weldon City Schools, Roanoke Rapids City Schools, Halifax County Schools, Edgecombe County Schools, and KIPP Pride High School in Gaston, NC.
Life Changing Experiences Pilot Program
Provides $360K in non-recurring funds in FY 2019-2020 to DPI to contract with the Children and Parent Resource Group, Inc. for the Life Changing Experiences Program, a three dimensional and interactive multimedia education program which focuses on activities that negatively
impact teenagers, including alcohol and drugs, dangerous driving, violence, and bullying.
While the above organizations may do good, important work, we have to wonder who is benefiting from this funding and why this money wasn’t given directly to school systems.
Other provisions in the budget:
In addition to those outlined above, the proposed House budget includes special provisions. Those listed below are some of the most impactful:
- An amendment to SECTION #.(a) G.S. 115C-84.2 that reads: “Alterations of Adopted School Calendar. – A local board of education shall not alter a school calendar once adopted unless necessary to address a severe weather condition, energy shortage, utility failure, public health crisis, school safety crisis, emergency related to a school building or school transportation, or act of God.” Another item in the same section requires teachers to have confirmation of a substitute before being granted personal leave. Many think this is in response to recent teacher rallies. This provision would make it very difficult for school districts to close for future rallies. If legislative leaders would fully fund public education, rallies would not be necessary.
- A provision that expands the number of institutions participating in the NC Teaching Fellows program from five to eight.
- A provision to support highly qualified NC teaching graduates whereby a graduate who meets requirements and accepts initial employment at a school labeled “low-performing” would receive a salary equivalent to a similarly situated teacher with three years of experience on the “A” teachers salary.
- A requirement for high school students to receive financial literacy instruction including “the teaching of a full credit course focused solely on Economics and Personal Finance (EPF). A passing grade in the course shall be required for graduation from high school.” Content of the course is to include The true cost of credit, choosing and managing a credit card, borrowing money for a purchase of a car or other large purchase, home mortgages, credit scores and reports, planning and paying for college and other relevant financial literacy issues. The State Board of Ed is tasked with ensuring teachers receive proper training and money is allocated in the budget to meet this goal. While financial literacy is indeed important, many civics and history teachers argue these items are already included in the standard course of study and a full credit class will take away students’ time in an already packed high school course load.
- The number of lab schools would be reduced from nine schools to six. The provision also states that lab schools should reasonably reflect the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic make up of the LEA.
- The 15-point scale for school performance grades is maintained and the weight given to academic achievement and academic growth is changed to a 50/50% split. Public school advocates have been critical of North Carolina’s A-F school grading system. School grades are strongly correlated to family income levels.Schools with greater poverty earned fewer As and B’s and earned more C’s, D’s, and F’s than schools with less poverty. Moving towards a metric that includes an equal measure of student growth is a good start, though still an imperfect system of measurement. Read more about NC’s A-F grading system here.
- Proposes changes to the Opportunity Scholarship program include removing the requirement that standardized test scores for voucher students at private schools be made accessible. The budget provision directs the schools to keep the scores, but not necessarily make them available to the public. The Public School Forum of NC summarized the following changes:
- Allowing up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to be used to contract with a nonprofit corporation representing parents and families, for marketing of voucher programs, outreach, and scholarship application assistance for parents and students.
- Enabling unspent voucher dollars to be redirected to the Division of Nonpublic Education for data collection from nonpublic schools and to maintain a web site to provide information to students and parents to assist them in the selection of private schools;
- Strikes language that currently requires the agency overseeing school vouchers to file annual reports with the General Assembly and the Department of Public Instruction that detail the learning gains or losses of students receiving vouchers, and the competitive effects on public school performance on standardized tests as a result of the voucher program; and Eliminates a third party evaluation of the program intended to produce annual reports. Read more about this concerning provision here.
- A provision combines special education voucher programs into a new “Personal Education Student Account”. Certain disabilities would make children eligible for up to $17,000 annually.
- Creates a definition of a public school as a local school administrative unit, a charter school, a regional school, or a school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by the State Board of Education (SBE) or the University of North Carolina.
- A new requirement for an annual census of school resources officers by the Center for Safer Schools – a report shall be based on the census and submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and SBE by March 1. At a minimum, the report should include the following: The total number of school resource officers in the State and in each public school unit. Data regarding school resources officers’ education levels, years as sworn law enforcement officers, and years as school resource officers. Training required of school resource officers and training actually completed by school resource officers, including training specific to the position of school resource officer and other advanced or additional training. The funding source for all school resource officers. The location of school resource officers, differentiated by grade levels and type of public school unit. The percentage of SROs assigned to more than one school. The law enforcement affiliation of school resource officers.
- A provision concerning selection of reading diagnostic assessments for Read to Achieve that states the SBE shall approve no fewer than three K-3 assessment instruments designed by no fewer than three vendors for selection by LEAs (the current requirement is one), and the State Superintendent’s Evaluation Panel shall select the vendors by August 1, 2019. Currently the number of vendors is one.
- The creation of a School Counselor Study that will be implemented by NCDPI to study and report on school counselor positions. The study will look at the number of school counselor positions in the state and in each LEA, The allocation of the school counselors in each local school administrative unit. The methodology each local school administrative unit uses to determine the allocation of school counselors within the unit.The density of school counselors in each geographic region of the State. The number, percentage, and average salary of school counselor position funded with State dollars and funded with non-State dollars. The extent to which local school administrative units provide school counselors with local salary supplements and the amounts of those salary supplements. Job descriptions posted for school counselor positions as compared to actual duties of school counselors. After creating and administering surveys, The Department will report the results of its study to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and the Fiscal Research Division no later than March 1, 2020. UPDATE: Amendment A19 added the following: The number of school counselors, school nurses, school social workers, and school psychologists employed in each local school administrative unit. The ratio of students to each of the positions identified in subdivision (1) this section. The source of funding for each of the positions identified in subdivision (1) this section.”
- A provision to transfer the selection and adoption of instructional materials from the State Board of Ed to LEAs. Many public education advocates feel this provision would make it easier for parents to challenge materials including sexual education in schools.
- A provision to allow districts to spread out program enhancement teacher funding in grades K-12. Currently, funding can only be spread among grades K-5. The provision also requires students to complete at least one art class between grades 6-12.
For more details, view the full bill here and check back for updates!
State Budget Process Primer
In North Carolina, two-year budgets are created in odd years. The process begins early in an odd-numbered year, when the governor, as the director of the state budget, develops a set of spending priorities based on state agency requests and recommendations. This is presented to the General Assembly.
Legislators consider this roadmap and present their own budget priorities in the spring. The House and Senate alternate being the first chamber to introduce a budget plan for the biennium. A budget plan has two parts, a budget bill, and a money report.
After the first chamber produces and passes a budget, the second may either take that bill up or introduce and pass its own budget bill. That is usually the case. Also usually, the first chamber does not pass the second chamber’s bill, so the differences between the two budgets are reconciled in a conference committee consisting of both House and Senate members. Finally, each chamber agrees to the conference budget and sends it to the governor.
The General Assembly’s budget is theoretically presented to the governor by the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, but in reality often later in the summer. The governor may sign the budget into law; ignore it, in which case it becomes law after 10 days; or veto it and send it back to the General Assembly.
In the second year of the biennium – in other words, in even years – the governor proposes budget adjustment recommendations. The legislative budget process then continues in much the same manner with both chambers making their own budget plans, but it is usually shorter, hence our General Assembly’s Long and Short Sessions.
2019-21 Biennium Budget
Governor Cooper released his budget recommendations on Wednesday, March 6. The budget included significant expenditures for public education. The following goals were outlined: Recognizing teachers and school-based administrators, making NC a top 10 educated state by 2025, funding more pre-k slots, increasing graduation rates and increasing the percentage of adults over 25 with high ed degrees, addressing public school safety and youth mental health, strengthening the teacher pipeline, and prioritizing classroom instruction by providing more funding for textbooks and other classroom supplies.
On Tuesday, March 12 during a Joint House and Senate: Appropriations, Education Committee meeting, the Governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019-21 was presented by the Office of State Budget and Management (View presentation here).
On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, agency responses to the Governor’s Budget were given during the Joint House and Senate: Appropriations, Education Committee by the the NC Community College System, the University of North Carolina System (UNC), and NC Independent Colleges and Universities.
–UNC System response
On Thursday March 14, during the meeting of the Joint House and Senate: Appropriations, Education Committee, SBE (Chair Eric Davis) gave the Board’s response to the Governor’s Budget and Superintendent Johnson presented budget items tied to his 2030 vision.
Specifics of Governor Cooper’s budget:
Raise Teacher Pay
Average of 9.1% raise over two years. No teacher gets less than a 3% raise either year. Brings total state spending on education to more than $5.8 billion in FY 2019-2020 and over $6 billion in FY 2020-2021. See the full proposed teacher salary here.
Raises for Veteran Teachers
Provides salary increases for teachers and instructional support personnel for each year of service up to 30 years.
Restoring Master’s Pay
$6.8 million for teachers and instructional support personnel who have completed a master’s in their field since 2013.
Eliminating Teacher’s Paying for Their Own Substitute
$6.5 million to allow teachers to use their personal leave days as needed without having to pay for a sub. Currently, teachers pay $50/ day for their subs.
Recruiting and Retaining Teachers
$6.6 million to recruit, retain and support NC’s educator workforce including expanding Teaching Fellows program, help for new teachers, efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color and support for the “Grow Your Own” teacher cadet program.
Supporting the Teaching Profession
$7.7 million to support professional development for teachers and school leaders including funding the cost of obtaining National Board Certification.
Investing in Classroom Learning by adding $29 million to fund more textbooks, digital resources, and instructional supplies.
Raising Pay for Non-Certified & Central Office Public School Personnel
Fund a cost-of-living increase of $500 or 1.5 %, whichever is greater. Also, Governor proposed an additional $500 recurring salary increase in FY 2019-20 to approximately 45,000 state-funded non-certified public school personnel, including teaching assistants, custodians, and bus drivers.
Raising Pay for Principals/Assistant Principals
$5 million for principal salaries in FY 2019-2020 and $9.9 million in FY 2020-2021. See the full principal salary schedule here that includes an additional $5.6 million in FY2019-20. Also, includes $10.5 million in FY 2020-21 to fund the increase in assistant principal salaries resulting from the increases in the governor’s recommended “A” teacher schedule.
Upgrading K-12 Public School Buildings
Governor Cooper’s recommended budget includes a bond proposal called Invest NC. This $3.9 billion dollar bond package includes $2 billion for K-12 public schools. If voters approve the bond, each of the state’s 100 counties will receive at least $10 million to support public school construction, repairs, and renovations.
2018-19 Biennial Budget Passed June 2018
The budget bill, SB 99, was released on the NCGA website on Monday, May 28. The legislative leaders did not allow amendments thus the budget was voted on without any adjustments. The Senate’s final budget vote was 36-14 on May 31, 2018. The House voted in favor of the budget Friday, June 1, 2018 with a final vote of 66-44. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Cooper on June 6, 2018. On June 7, 2018, the Senate voted to override Gov. Cooper’s veto. The House concurred on June 11, 2018. A technical correction bill, SB 335 was used to fix some of the identified issues. One of the most surprising elements in the bill was the provision that would allow North Carolina municipalities to spend property tax revenues on any public school. The text of the full budget bill can be found on the NCGA website: https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/Senate/PDF/S99v6.pdf.
2018-2019 Budget Adjustments to the 2017-19 Biennial Budget
Compensation and Benefits
- $11.8 million is allocated to fund salary increases for teachers. The average teacher raise is 6.5%. The teacher salary schedule starts at $3,500 per month and increases by $100 for each year of service until 15 years. Between years 15-24, teachers would earn $5,000 per month. This rate is frozen until teachers reach 25 years of service. At 25+ years, the monthly salary would be $5,200 per month. This budget eliminates $5 million dollars for veteran teacher bonuses.
- $12 million is allocated for a principal pay increase and tied to test performance. The base salary schedule for principals is determined by the average daily membership (ADM) and whether or not their school failed to meet, met, or exceeded growth.
2018-2019 Principal Annual Salary Schedule
|1001 to 1300||$75,911||$83,503||$91,094|
Performance bonuses are also included and are awarded according to the Principal Bonus Schedule, calculated using schools’ A-F grades. Bonus levels are as follows:
Top 5%: $10,000, Top 10%: $7,500, Top 15%: $5,000 Top 20%: $2,500, Top 50%: $1,000
- Further, a principal who qualifies for a bonus and supervises a school with an overall school performance grade of D or F for a majority of the 2017-2018 school year qualifies for a bonus of twice the amount listed in the Principal Bonus Schedule.
- $418K is allocated for an assistant principal pay increase. The assistant principal salary schedule is equivalent to the base teacher salary plus 19%.
- $22.9 million is allocated to make the 4th-5th grade reading bonus program and the 4th-8th grade math bonus program recurring.
- The programs will provide $2,000 bonuses to the top 25% of teachers statewide and the same amount to the top 25% of teachers within individual LEAs, based on growth scores.
- State employees will earn a salary increase of either 2% or the amount required to reach an average annual salary of $31,200 or approximately $15/ hour. Notably, school employees such as teacher assistants or custodial staff are not included in the increase to reach $31,200, but will receive a prorated 2% raise.
- The budget increases the State’s contribution for members of the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System to fund a 1% one-time cost of living supplement to retirees.
- Increases Needs-Based School Capital fund by $42 million, largely through changing percentages of lottery funds going to this fund. School building funding was otherwise omitted. A blue ribbon panel estimated that, not including repercussions from the class size mandate, school construction needs were approximately $8 billion dollars and critical infrastructure needs remain.
- No additional state funding provided to meet mandated class size reduction.
- Section 38.8 authorizes cities in North Carolina to use local property taxes to fund any public school located within their localities. This could include charters, lab schools, and any other publicly funded entity. It appears to address a deficiency in HB 514, a bill that allowed for the creation of charters in the suburbs of Charlotte. HB514 will drastically alter the way schools could be funded. It could further the divide between have and have not schools by allowing cities to supplement funds for certain schools.
- $35 million is allocated for the school safety package, though only $5 million is recurring. The funding goes to expand the SRO grant program, to expand the anonymous tip line, and to create new grants to support students in crisis, school safety training, safety equipment, and school mental health personnel. Includes $10 million of non-recurring funds transferred from the Dorothea Dix hospital fund.
- What could have been used to fund approximately 1,000 more Pre-K slots was instead appropriated elsewhere. Over $75 million of federal funds were allocated to NC to expand Pre-K programs and of that, $50 million dollars was used to replace state funding.
Per Pupil Spending
- Little investment was made to expand school resources. Allotments for teaching assistants, textbooks, at-risk student services and more are still below 2008-2009 levels when adjusted for inflation.
- Opportunity Scholarship funding increases from $45 to $55 million.
- Funding for the Disabilities Grants increases from $10 million to $13 million.
- Adds $161 million to the rainy day fund.
- Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will remain in place at the expense of public schools and other worthy recipients. By 2019 corporate tax rates will fall to 2.5 percent and rates for top earners will fall to 5.25 percent. These cuts have taken, and will continue to take a huge chunk out of potential public school funding, resulting in a $900-million-dollar decrease.
Other Education Provisions
- Grants the virtual charter schools pilot an extension for another 4 years even though both virtual schools are low-performing.
- Section 7.2 allows the ISD to essentially oversee itself “in the event that temporary management is necessary due to contract termination, lack of a qualified ISD operator or other unforeseen emergency.”
- Military families are now permitted to enroll their children prior to residency in NC if they are in the process of being transferred to NC. They can enroll their children in public schools or participate in charter school lotteries (SB99).
Department of Public Instruction/State Board of Education
- Continues planned cuts in the amount of $4 million for central office and $5 million for DPI. This provision led to the layoff of 40 DPI employees, many of whom served low income populations.
Summary of the public schools education budget provisions is found here: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/fbs/budget/budgetsummary2019.pdf.
Summary about some of the issues that impact public schools are found here: https://www.ncsbac.org/advocacy/issue-briefs/.
Highlights of Education Bills Passed During Short Session 2018
HB514: Permit Municipal Charter School/Certain Towns. This bill allows Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill, majority white suburbs of Charlotte, to create their own charter schools. Further, they will be permitted to restrict access to local residents. In the budget amendments, a related provision (38.8) allows local municipalities to use (and raise) property taxes to fund schools. It is worrisome that this will exacerbate existing segregation and inequality. Charlotte is already experiencing high levels of segregation. Additionally, taxpayers could see increases in tax bills as localities take on school funding responsibilities. Many public school advocates think these related pieces of legislation will eventually be found unconstitutional. Also troubling is how this legislation could return North Carolina back to a time when the quality of education was inequitably distributed based on one’s zip code. On June 6, 2018, the N.C. House approved HB 514 with a 64-53 vote. It was ordered enrolled and ratified (Ch. SL 2018-3). Public school advocates have serious concerns about segregation and inequity. It was treated as a local law and therefore did not require the governor’s signature.
HB 374: Regulatory Reform Act of 2018. Repeals State Board of Education policies that are inconsistent with the June 8, 2018 Supreme Court ruling.
HB 670: Protect Educational Property. This bill increases the criminal penalty for making a threat of mass violence on educational property or at a place of worship; provides for conditional discharge of persons convicted of those offenses when the offense is committed under the age of twenty.
HB 986: Various Changes to Education Law. This bill enacted the following:
- Requires the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction to report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee by March 30 of each year on the compliance of schools with the requirements regarding cursive writing and the memorization of multiplication tables,
- Includes a provision that directs DPI to develop a mental health training program and suicide referral protocol and that the State Board of Education repeals it School-Based Mental Health Initiative Policy,
- Requires school districts to offer placement in advanced mathematics courses to students who score a level 5 or higher on end-of-grade or end-of-year mathematics testing,
- Instructs the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to study and make recommendations on ways to reduce testing not otherwise required by State or federal law in kindergarten through twelfth grade by January 15, 2019 and report findings and recommendations to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and
- Creates a “Renewal School System” model that authorizes a qualifying local school administrative unit to become a renewal school system and to receive charter-like flexibility. The only school district that qualified for “restart status” (see Bill for the criteria) is Rowan-Salisbury (https://www.rssed.org/). This LEA already has 16 of their 35 schools identified as low-performing restart schools and these schools as such have the same kind of flexibility enjoyed by charter schools. This special flexibility allows them to change their calendar or hire half of their teachers without certification and vary how they pay teachers in the pursuit of school improvement. A Renewal School System will allow the entire school district to treat all schools in its district like a restart school.
Many school boards and Superintendents across NC have complained about having one set of rules for their restart schools and one set of rules for their traditional schools. Education advocates have long lobbied for giving all school districts the same flexibility as charters to give them more options when it comes to curriculum, calendars, budgeting, and staffing for all of their schools not just low-performing schools.
If school boards were given the right to have their own charters under their elected purview or given system-wide flexibility like charters for traditional schools per se, one could argue you do not need a separate system for charter schools with non-elected governing boards.
HB 1031: Local Ed Funding Dispute Process. This bill repeals the authority for a local board of education to file legal action challenging the sufficiency of funds appropriated by county commissioners.
Key Bills Not Passed During 2018 Short Session
HB53: School Calendar Modification is an example of numerous Local Bills on School Calendar Flexibility: No movement of allowing school districts calendar flexibility
Calendar Flexibility Bills: H20, H41, H47, H50, H51, H60, H77, H79, H93, H106, H108, H121, H166, H167, H188, H202, H203, H209, H210, H213, H231, H234, H253, H269, H291, H296, H301, H313, H314, H318, H346, H372, H377, H419, H430, H521, H523, H839
HB933: Bill to improve flexibility needed to hire more school psychologists due to severe shortage.
HB746: Omnibus bill that included permit-less carry. If this bill would have passed it would mean that people as young as 18 years old with no training and no background check could carry a hidden loaded weapon in public. Bill did not receive a committee hearing on the Senate side.
For a more detailed list of Key Legislative Bills that did and did not see action during the 2018 Legislative Session, visit this link: http://publicschoolsfirstnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/06-29-18-Week-in-Review.pdf
Task Force May Change How Schools Are Funded
How are North Carolina schools funded now?
North Carolina currently funds schools with a complex formula that includes three basic types of allotments: position allotments, dollar allotments and categorical allotments. Position allotments include funding for teachers, principals and instructional support staff and other school personnel. Dollar allotments can be used to fund positions like teacher assistants and textbooks. Categorical allotments are used for budget items such as transportation and at-risk student services. View a summary of the funding formula. You may also want to review this document for more historical context presented by Adam Levinson, the NCDPI Chief Financial Officer, to the task force in December, 2017.
What are the proposed changes to the funding formula?
The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform, established in August 2017 to review the feasibility of moving to a weighted student funding model (see Task Force charge). A weighted student funding model sets a base amount of funding for each student and then adds “weights” (money) for kids who fall in different categories such as low-income, English language learners and disabled. The task force will consider the implications of moving to a weighted funding system and look at other states that have done the same.
Proponents of the weighted funding method say it allows for more flexibility and transparency. They see the potential for more money to go to “schools of choice” as an incentive. Critics argue that the overhaul might create more problems than it fixes. Weighted student models can miss fixed costs of a school district that are incurred regardless of population size. Few, if any states have been able to implement this model in a way that is completely fair and equitable. The weighted student funding models can have the same inequities and complexities as the current allotments methods. Many caution against proceeding too quickly with an overhaul. A notable omission in the task force’s undertaking is any discussion of the current adequacy of funding.
Several presentations to the task force in January 2018 are helpful in understanding the impact of changing the current education funding formula. These presentations can be found on the NCGA website. Information was provided by several superintendents along with the NC School Boards Association (NCSBA) and the NC Association of School Administrators (NCASA). Both the NCASA and the NCSBA advised that if the North Carolina proceeds with implementing a weighted funding model, that they should gradually transition to any new funding formula to allow a more successful transition and to allow time for staff training and adjustments. Additionally, both groups recommended provisions be included to; “hold harmless” funding levels so districts do not receive less money than they have now, a maintenance of position allotments, and an adequate base level of funding.
The NCASA pointed out no state has yet been able to implement a “clean, simple version of a weighted student formula pushed by advocates” and that transition to a new funding model “would create transition costs without obvious benefits”. Clearly, there is much for this task force to consider before proceeding.
The task force committee will continue to meet periodically to gather information. They plan to present their findings to the NCGA by October of this year. You can follow the work of this task force on the NCGA website. Be sure to review each meeting’s agenda and materials posted for the presentations.
2017-19 Biennium Budget
This is the Senate’s turn to create the first legislative biennium budget, so Senate leaders released their plan at midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, less than 12 hours before the Senate Appropriations, Base Budget Committee met to discuss it. The full chamber passed the bill at 3:08 AM on May 12. The Senate budget bill, SB257, and the money report form the budget. The specifics of the Senate’s Education budget are available at the link.
The House made the Appropriations bill available on the night of May 30, the money report and special provisions are also online, and it passed the Appropriations Committee late in the afternoon of May 31. The full chamber passed the bill at 12:29 AM on June 2. You can read the details of the House Education budget.
The Department of Public Instruction has a useful spreadsheet available for download that compares Gov. Cooper’s proposal with the Senate’s adopted budget, including comparisons of the salary and benefit packages and pay schedules for teachers and principals.
Here are the budget bill and the money report proposed by the conference committee and released just before midnight on Monday, June 19. The Senate held the first vote on the 983-page plan the very next day, and House leaders followed over the next two days. Although Gov. Cooper vetoed the bill, his veto was overridden on Wednesday, June 28.
You can read about the impact of the budget, and these are some high-/low-lights:
Compensation and benefits
- Average 3.3% teacher pay raise, with raises for almost every step and an increase & bonuses of $385 for 25+ years in 2017-18 and 2018-19
- Retirees will get 1% COLA (this is recurring, not one-time)
- Non-teaching state employees will receive $1,000 raises (not bonuses)
- Raises for assistant principals (avg 13.4% over 2 years) and principals (avg 8.6%). More here.
- Makes 3 teacher bonus programs permanent: Third Grade Read to Achieve Teacher Bonuses, Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate/Cambridge AICE Teacher Bonuses, and the Career and Technical Education Teacher Bonuses
- Adds funding for $2,150 math performance bonuses for grades 4-8 teachers and the same for reading performance bonuses for grades 4-5 , to go to the top 25% statewide and within LEAs in 2017-18 only
- Eliminates retirement health benefits for state employees hired after Jan. 21, 2021. More here.
- Expands teacher assistant tuition assistance program in several counties.
- Funds reimbursing initial teacher license application fees for graduates of an approved NC educator preparation program
Per Pupil Spending
- Per pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, 6.7% below pre-Recession levels
- Adds 3,525 new pre-K slots over 2 years, BUT 2/3 of the funding comes from a federal block grant (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF) that is threatened by federal budget cuts
- Does not include funding for specials (Art/Music/PE/world language) teachers when class size restrictions take effect
- Adds $11.2M in non-recurring funds for textbooks
- Increases funding cap for children with disabilities to 12.75%
- Provides an additional $2.4 M recurring for the state’s digital learning plan
- Creates grants for LEAs to expand CTE programs to grades 6 and 7
- Adds $363M to rainy day fund
- Includes Raise the Age language & funding for ADAs
- Cuts personal income tax rate from 5.49% to 5.25% and corporate tax rate from 3% to 2.5% in 2019
- Does not cut Governor’s School or Wright School
- Restores middle-of-the-night Eastern NC STEM summer program cut made in Senate
- Cuts central office administration (LEAs) by 7.4% in first year and 11.6% in the second
- Allows K-3 class size flexibility pilot program ending in 2019-20 for dual language immersion classes and certain schools in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, CMS, Edgecombe, Pitt, Vance, and Washington counties
- Creates Education Savings Accounts for students with disabilities. This will take the form of a taxpayer-funded $9,000 debit card given directly to parents for educational expenses. Parents of students with serious disabilities can receive these funds even if their children are already receiving Disabilities Grants. Management may be contracted to a private financial management firm. Kindergartners will be eligible for this program.
- Adds $10M per year to voucher program until 2027-28 when it will plateau at $144.8M annually; also makes that funding part of the base budget going forward
- Creates a task force to study accountability within the voucher program, with guaranteed representation for: private schools that accept voucher students and associations that represent those schools; organizations “representing parental school choice, such as Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina”; independent organizations that evaluate K12 education; and public school leaders.
Department of Public Instruction/State Board of Education
- Cuts NCDPI by 13.9% over the next 2 years. More here.
- Gives the Superintendent of Public Instruction $1,000,000 to pay for an audit of NCDPI
- Gives the superintendent $700,000 for up to 10 new exempt positions within his office, with no approval from the State Board
- Also gives the superintendent $300,000 for his lawsuit against the State Board and…
- Prohibits the State Board from using any state funds for private counsel in litigation
- Terminated for political reasons the State Board’s Executive Director and employees of NCDPI. Three NCDPI staffers whose firings are written into the budget worked in their spare time on former superintendent’s campaign, and the State Board director represents the GOP-led Board at the legislature.
- Creates Joint Legislative Task Force on education funding reform, with 9 members appointed by each chamber’s leaders by Sept. 1, 2017, to complete a report with proposed legislation by Oct. 1, 2018
- Transfers Education and Workforce Innovation Commission from the governor’s office to NCDPI
- Establishes B-3 Interagency Council between NCDPI and the Department of Health and Human Services, including 2 positions, for “the development and implementation of an interagency plan for a coordinated system of early care, education, and child development services with a focus on program outcomes in satisfying the developmental and educational needs of all children from birth to eight years of age”
- Changes the Achievement School District’s name to the Innovative School District (ISD)
- Creates new, less generous form of the Teaching Fellows program that was axed in 2011. This plan favors STEM/special ed teachers and offers incentives for teaching in low-wealth schools. Contrast the original program with Gov. Cooper’s proposal and the legislative proposal that’s included in the budget here.
- Keeps school performance grade formula at 80% achievement, 20% growth, and switches to 10-point grading scale beginning with 2019-20 school year
The budget devised by House and Senate negotiators to reconcile the differences between their respective chamber plans was released late on Monday, June 27. The Senate passed the measure Wednesday, June 29, and the House on Friday, July 1. The budget comprises two documents: the conference budget bill and the conference money report.
Here are some highlights:
- Raises teacher salary by an average of 4.7%. The teacher salary schedule will restore annual step increases for teachers in years 0-14, at year 15 salary will stay the same for next 10 years.
- Raises average teacher salaries to over $50,000 in 2016-17 and $55,000 over the next three years.
- School administrators receive step increase and a 1.5% increase to base salaries
- Non-certified school personnel receive a 1.5% salary increase.
- School administrators and noncertified personnel will also receive a one-time 0.5% bonus.
- There is a pilot program for rewarding third grade teachers. Teachers who are in the top 25% in the state for EVAAS student growth index scores in reading will share $5 million. Teachers who are in the top 25% of their LEAs for the same score will share $5 million, and teachers who fall in both categories will receive both bonuses.
- The state’s voucher program will expand by an extra $10 million and 2,000 students every year until 2027-2028 when spending will plateau at $144.8 million per year. The budget also expands the percentage of money that can go to Kindergarten and 1st grade recipients, from 35% to 40% of what remains after prior recipients are enrolled.
- The school performance grade formula will not change from 80% test scores, 20% growth to 50/50 as the House proposed, and the 15-point scale will remain for the next three years.
- The budget codifies maximum class sizes for the earliest grades. The funded class size ratios are: Kindergarten 1:18; 1st grade 1:16; and 2nd and 3rd grade 1:17.
- A provision in the Senate budget that would have changed the schedules of year-round schools was omitted.
- The budget funds 260 new pre-K slots at a cost of $1.325 million. For reference, there are more than 7,000 children on the state’s pre-K waiting list. The governor and the House both proposed spending $4 million to fill 800 spots.
- The percentage of virtual charter school teachers who must live in state decreases from 90% to 80%. The budget also changes the way students who withdraw are counted under the withdrawal rate cap of 25%, creating four new exceptions. For instance a student who withdraws for “a family, personal, or medical reason” and who notifies the school would not count as a withdrawal under the cap.
The NC Senate released its $22.2 billion budget plan just before midnight on Tuesday, May 31. Chamber leaders were, as planned, able to pass the 187-page bill that features faster tax cuts than the House plan just over 48 hours later, at 12:05 Friday, June 3. Read the full measure here and the Appropriations Committee report on it here.
The Senate budget proposal includes teacher raises, which the News & Observer compared to the House plan:
HOW THE TEACHER PAY PLANS COMPARE
Starting salary: Remains at $35,000 in both the House and Senate plans
Five years of experience: 4.1 percent raise in House plan; 4.8 percent raise in Senate plan
10 years of experience: 5 percent raise in House plan; 6.25 percent raise in Senate plan
15 years of experience: 3.4 percent raise in House plan; 7.5 percent raise in Senate plan
20 years of experience: 3.2 percent raise in House plan; 3.8 percent raise in Senate plan
25 years of experience: 2 percent raise in House plan; no raise in Senate plan
The Senate budget provides $27.1 million to reduce second grade class size to 1:16 ratio, which is just one fewer student per classroom. At the same time, the upper chamber followed the House’s lead in making lottery money the sole source of non-instructional support funds. Senate budget writers also put almost double the money in the state’s rainy day fund, just about $600 million, while cutting DPI’s budget by $2.2 million and LEA central office funding by $5 million. In addition – or subtraction, really – the budget eliminates $10 million for school connectivity and $4.8 million for at-risk students. The Senate slightly increased textbook funding (to $9.25 million) but uses one-time, rather than recurring, funds to do so. All told, funding for K-12 public education would remain 8% below pre-Recession levels, adjusted for inflation.
Oddly, the Senate budget incorporates SB862’s “forward funding” for the voucher program into the budget itself. It creates the proposed reserve and funds it based on the program’s expansion of 2,000 additional students per year. NC Policy Watch calculates that would entail giving 112,892 vouchers out annually in just ten years. The reserve provision will cost $170 million more than current voucher funding plans would in just the next 5 years.
The House budget includes small teacher pay raises. They average 3% but are structured so that teachers in the middle of their careers get more than new or veteran teachers. Those teachers would get bonuses of $1,000, paid throughout the year, rather than salary increases. Those bonuses would however, count toward retirement. The main budget writer for the House, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) stated that “the House’s goal is to see us be at or above the average teacher salary for the Southeast.” This is a lower goal than seeking to reach the national average, and we are currently 9th out of the 12 Southeastern states.
The NCAE has more highlights of the education budget:
- Provides $46.8 million for enrollment growth of nearly 5,900 students.
- Replaces $57.3 million in General Fund dollars with lottery money to pay for non-instructional support personnel. This area is now fully-supported by lottery funds, which should be used to enhance education funding, not supplant current General Fund spending on schools.
- Provides $25 million for literacy coaches to support Read to Achieve, but would mean elimination of the first-grade class size reduction passed last year and reduction in reading camp funds.
- Provides $11.6 million in one-time funds for textbooks and digital materials. We would remain about 34 percent below pre-recession levels.
- Provides $5 million in one-time funds for instructional supplies. We would remain about 50 percent below pre-recession levels.
- Provides $1.3 million to reinstate funding for salary supplements to instructional coaches who have earned National Board Certification.
- Provides $5.8 million in additional private school voucher funds for Special Education Scholarship grants.
- Provides $1.1 million for a differentiated pay pilot similar to Project LIFT in Charlotte.
- Provides $4.3 million for $50 dollar bonuses for Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate teachers for each student who scores highly on exams or CTE teachers whose students pass industry certifications.
- Provides $2 million in the university budget for a N.C. Scholarship for Teacher Advancement and Retention program similar to the N.C. Teaching Fellows program previously eliminated.
- Modifies A-F letter grading system of schools from 80 percent performance and 20 percent growth to 50-50. It would also keep the 15-point system in place.
- In addition, Health & Human Services budget writers approved spending $4 million more to fund an additional 800 pre-K slots.
You can also see NC DPI’s comparison of the governor’s proposal and the House budget here.
2016-17 Budget Proposals
The State Board of Education released a set of budget priorities in March 2016 that aim to make NC number one for teacher pay in the Southeast. Currently, we are 9th out of the 12 states.
Gov. McCrory’s budget proposal, released in April, is too modest to achieve that. It includes some teacher pay raises, however those largely come in the form of one-time bonuses for teachers rather than permanent pay raises. It also continues per pupil funding below pre-Recession levels when adjusted for inflation.
The NC House Education Appropriations subcommittee released its budget report and special provisions proposal on May 12, 2016. It does not include funding for teacher pay increases as the writers say they will add that to the budget further along in the process. It increases reliance on lottery funds rather than paying expenses out of the General Fund. It also cuts funds for smaller first grade class sizes in order to add money for literacy coaches, and the extra money it provides for textbooks and digital learning resources is in the form of one-time only payments.
The Senate budget proposal, released just before midnight on Tuesday May 31, is described above.
Don’t forget, you can keep up with the status of all of the bills that affect our public schools here!
2015-17 Biennium Budget
After enacting two continuing budget resolutions, House and Senate leaders reached a final budget agreement on September 18, shortly after midnight. Governor McCrory signed the budget bill (House 97) later the same day. The budget includes a total spending amount of $21.735 billion, which is a 3.1 percent increase over the previous budget.
Over all the budgets keeps recession-era levels of investment in education while our student population and costs are increasing. Further cuts to state revenue were also implemented this session.
Earning potential is low for teachers because their salaries are capped at about $50,000 (an increase of only $15,000 over their entire career). The national average ending salary, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality is around $76,000.
- Read our fact sheet, The Impact of the 2015-17 State Budget or our Quick Facts for additional information and links to other budget resources.
- Access a presentation from the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division to understand how public schools are funded.
- The NC DPI presented a list of the 2015 Relevant Laws Passed. (Here)
- Historical per pupil funding: 2008-09 to 2015-16. (Here)
|Teacher Pay||25th in U.S.||41st in U.S.|
|Teacher Career Status||Yes||No (except for those who have already earned it)|
|Salary Supplement for Master’s Degree||Yes||No|
|NC Teaching Fellows Program||Yes||No|
|Class Size Capped (grades 4-12)||Yes||No|
|Per Pupil Expenditure||$5,896||$5,744|
|Total Education Budget||$8.706 B||$8.878 B|
The new biennial budget highlights are below (see budget bill here). It is also helpful to review the results of the 2013-15 budget below to better understand the national rankings assigned NC for teacher pay and per pupil funding.
- Increases school vouchers by $6.8 million in 2015-16 and $14 million in 2016-17, a total increase of 129% over 2014-15 funding level. Total dollars available for 2015-16 is $17.6 million and $24.8 million for 2016-17.
- New beginning teachers will be paid $35,000 (an increase from $33,000).
- All State employees/school personnel receive a one-time $750 bonus (includes central office staff). The salary steps (tiers) are the same as 2014-15 and will be funded for teachers and principals/assistant principals.
- There is no change to master’s and other advanced degree pay. If you had a master’s or other advanced degree or had completed one class prior to August 1, 2013, you are grandfathered under rules in place prior to that date. Master’s and other advanced degree pay will always be allowed if your job requires it.
- Teacher Assistants are funded at the 2014-15 levels, but funds must be used for teacher assistants only with all flexibility for the funds being eliminated effective this school year. Funds 15,300 TA positions, about 7,000 less than 2008.
- Teacher support will now be funded from general funds (not lottery funds) and non-instructional support personnel funded from lottery funds (no longer from general funds).
- Class size for first grade classes is reduced to 1:16 for 2016-17; an additional $27 million is allocated for additional teachers.
- Textbook and digital resources increased by $21.8 million for 2015-16 and by $31 million for next year (currently funded at ~$24 million).
- Funds driver’s education for 2015-2016 (general fund) and 2016-2017 (civil penalty and forfeiture fund). School districts can charge up to $65 per student to fund driver’s education. School districts must reduce fee for students who prove economic hardship.
- A decrease of 5,400 Pre-K slots since 2008; a waiting list remains.
2013-15 Biennium Budget
The passage of the 2013-15 state budget dealt a powerful and immediate blow to North Carolina’s public schools. It is helpful to see the funding levels and staff cuts made two years ago as you consider the new biennial budget’s allocations. Some increases this year are restoring monies lost two years ago and many funding cuts have been restored. Some of the key actions are below.
- Teacher career status was terminated by legislators but a June 2015 ruling from the NC Appeals Court said that ending teacher career status for educators who have already earned that status was unconstitutional. Career status protects teachers from being fired arbitrarily (without due process). Yet, teachers who have yet to earn career status are effectively temporary employees and are given only one-year contracts. Beginning in 2016, teachers without career status can be offered one, three or four-year contracts.
- Caps annual teacher salaries at $50,000. A certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree would earn $50,000 at 25 years of service. The U.S. average public school teacher salary is $58,000.
- Eliminated 5,184.5 teachers and 272 support personnel (guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, etc.) in 2013-14.
- Cut teacher assistant positions: 3,850 positions in 2013-14 and an additional 3,300 in 2014-15.
Last updated: November 21, 2021