Dozens of school and district leaders from across the state met with their lawmakers and shared priorities on behalf of their students and staff on Tuesday during NCASA’s 2023 School Leader Day At The Legislature. The successful event began with remarks from State Superintendent Catherine Truitt and Senate Education Comm. Chair Sen. Amy Galey (R-Alamance), as well as a panel discussion featuring House Education Comm. Chair John Torbett (R-Gaston) and House Deputy Democratic Leader Rep. Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford). Many attendees then met with their legislative representatives to highlight NCASA’s budget priorities and share concerns regarding several pieces of legislation, such as the bill requiring LEAs to provide charter schools with more access to district funds, and the bill significantly expanding eligibility and funding for the state’s private school voucher program.
Many school leaders shared excellent feedback about the event, including Dr. Rhonda Schuhler, Franklin County Schools Superintendent and NCASA President-Elect, who stated, “It has been very beneficial to have the opportunity to be on the ground here at the legislature. I have a strong working relationship with our representatives already, but this provides a unique opportunity to sit down on their turf and to have a discussion about the issues that are most important to education right now.”
One of the main legislative priorities discussed with lawmakers was reforming the principal pay plan to add more stability in the base salary and provide principals a pay bump for working in more complex schools. Dr. Patrick Greene, principal at Greene Central High School and 2022 NC Principal of the Year highlighted the importance of making connections with legislators when discussing these proposals, stating, “I think the personal stories we share with lawmakers really do matter when you can articulate how these things really do matter, how they affect kids, and teachers and principals at the ground level.” Dr. Greene continued, “[T]hese issues aren’t just a bullet point on a list, or an item on a budget…It has a face.”
The NCASA team greatly appreciates all of the school leaders who were able to participate in Tuesday’s event, and we hope participants left the legislature feeling proud of their advocacy efforts. NCASA looks forward to hosting the event again and welcomes any feedback or suggestions from members on ways to make future advocacy days even more successful.