Where Are They Now? Education Bills Edition

The last week of April featured the all-important legislative crossover deadline.

WakeEd has been following several bills that address drivers education funding, teacher pay, financial flexibility, and calendar flexibility.  We thought a review of how these bills have moved through the General Assembly would be helpful.

As a reminder, bills that are introduced must be heard three times and voted to pass by either the House or Senate.  This sometimes includes moving through committee for discussion and/or amendment.  At this point, the bill crosses over.  If introduced by the House, it crosses over to the Senate.  If introduced by the Senate, it crosses over to the House.

If a bill fails to make it through the group in which it was introduced by a deadline set by the General Assembly, it fails to cross over.  For any bill to become law, it must be passed by both groups.  Therefore, crossover is crucial to a bill becoming law.  And, by extension, the crossover deadline is of great interest to those watching bill of interest to them.

Education Bills That Did Not Make Crossover*

Driver Education Bills (HB 919 and SB 515) – sought to restore funding for school systems to provide driver education to students.

Grading of Schools (HB 300, HB 368, SB 30) – sought to change the weighting of proficiency data and growth data to generate a school performance grade.

Teacher Pay (HB 662, HB 769, SB 107, SB 237, SB 444) – sought to increase teacher compensation by flat increases or restoring the “M” salary schedule.

Financial Flexibility (HB 53 and HB 573) – sought to provide greater financial flexibility to districts as to how they supplement teacher pay or use state-funded positions.

Calendar Flexibility (HB 9 and HB 206) – sought to provide authority to local school boards to set start and end dates for school years.

*It is important to note that some bills may survive not making the crossover deadline.  If a bill that did not meet the crossover deadline receives a fiscal appropriation, then that bill can survive and advance.

Education Bills That Made Crossover*

HB 164: School Calendar Flexibility – sets the school year at 1,025 hours of instruction over nine calendar months.  Currently the school year is defined as 1,025 hours OR 185 days.

HB 587: School Flexibility Act – promotes four school reform models and encourages workshops provided to superintendents on financial flexibility already available to them.

HB 803: School Performance Scores – changes the weighting of school achievement and school growth in determining a school performance grade from 80 percent achievement and 20 percent growth to 50 percent achievement and 50 percent growth.

*These three bills made crossover.  However, that does not ensure they will be heard by the Senate.  They have each been sent to the Ways and Means Committee in the Senate.  Senator Apodaca chairs the Ways and Means Committee and has referred to committee as, “a graveyard.”  The committee seldom meets and often receives bills that the Senate has no interest in seeing progress.  In short, these bills have little promise to become law.

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