Members of the House and Senate Education Appropriations Committees continued meeting jointly this week and received two key reports regarding public school funding. Earlier on Thursday, the committee received an update from Deputy State Superintendent Michael Maher on the status of COVID response in public schools and utilization of funds provided by the federal government for that purpose. On Tuesday, the committee continued its earlier discussion on budget priorities from the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) and the NC Community Colleges System (NCCCS). The meeting began with an overview of the NCCS’s legislative agenda, which included some K-12 related requests, such as improvements to career counseling and apprenticeship programs.
NCDPI then resumed its presentation on its 2023-2025 budget priorities, which included many education “hot topics” such as improving educator recruitment and retention, eliminating the child nutrition co-pay, and hiring principal coaches to better serve low-performing schools. The following is a full list of legislative budget priorities shared by NCDPI during Tuesday’s meeting:
- NC Center for Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Changes — Request to utilize professional development funds that can be targeted to the specific needs of schools and districts through NCCAT
- Eliminating the Child Nutrition Co-Pay
- Computer Science PD — Request to fund remaining 50% not already funded
- School Safety/Center for Safer Schools Grants
- School Nurses — Request to ensure we have at least one school nurse in every Tier 1 and 2 School; NCDPI is still debating whether this would require district fund matching, or if it will request the state provide all needed funding for approximately $100 million.
- Principal Turnaround Coaches — 17 FTE ($2.4 million recurring) to serve 51 low-performing designated schools not currently served.
- Pay Increases for Teacher and Principals — “More information in the coming weeks”; NCDPI noted the State Board of Education is continuing to review the “Pathways To Excellence” teacher pay and licensure proposal, and further action is expected on this proposal in the next few weeks.
- Career Development Plan Funding — Request for $300K recurring and pending legislative changes
- Permanent Division of Office of Learning Recovery — Request for $1,152,506 recurring, starting in the second year of the biennium.
- Innovation and Learning Recovery Grants — Request for $40 million non-recurring, starting in the second year of the biennium.
- Literacy Specialists Salary Increases — Request for $1.107 million recurring
In addition to sharing NCDPI’s budget requests, NCDPI staff also repeated previous requests for various “special provisions,” such as an update to the principal salary schedule that would base school growth criteria on a minimum of three years of data, rather than only on school growth data from the previous school year.
NCDPI also requested the continuation of certain non-recurring NC General Assembly Initiatives, such as the Needs-Based Capital Grants, which have provided over $800 million for school capital needs over the past two years, as well as the continuation of School Safety Grants; CTE, Modernization, and Workforce Grants; NCCAT Funding; and Transportation Fuel Reserve funds.