The recently enacted 2023 state budget includes several provisions adjusting or clarifying requirements for public schools under the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which became law in mid-August following the state legislature’s successful override of Governor Cooper’s earlier veto of the bill. Because much of the bill became effective only days before most traditional public schools were set to begin the 2023-2024 school year, many school leaders raised questions and concerns about quickly implementing the bill’s numerous new requirements.
While the biggest news at the state legislature last week was certainly the long-awaited passage of the 2023-2025 state budget package, which is set to become law on October 2 without the Governor’s signature, state lawmakers also sent a handful of other education-related bills to the Governor’s desk last week for final consideration.
After weeks of little activity at the state legislature, lawmakers on Wednesday successfully voted to override Governor Cooper’s vetoes of several bills, including a handful relating to K-12 education, which have now become law.
Senate lawmakers on Thursday voted down party lines to concur with the House on a controversial parental rights bill, in the legislation’s last step before being sent to the Governor for final consideration.
It became clear this week that lawmakers would not meet their initial goal of passing a state budget before the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, with many lawmakers now estimating a final budget package to be shared after July 24.
While many legislative leaders were likely working this week on state budget negotiations behind closed doors, lawmakers in the Senate discussed and approved two education proposals not included in current budget proposals — a bill that would change state requirements for principal licensure and a bill that would require students to complete a computer science course before graduating high school.
The North Carolina Senate approved its state budget proposal on Thursday in a 37-12 vote after hours of debate throughout the week on its many controversial aspects, including a proposal that would allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, commonly referred to as “private school vouchers.
This week was especially busy at the NC General Assembly, as lawmakers in both the House and Senate pushed a frenzy of bills forward ahead of Thursday’s May 4 bill crossover deadline, or the last day in which a policy bill can pass from its originating chamber and still be eligible to be heard in the other chamber. As a result of the impending deadline, several legislative committees, including the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee, held meetings on Monday, a day usually void of any substantive legislative work.
State lawmakers in the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Wednesday approved, mostly down party lines, a bill purported to be the largest expansion of NC’s “Opportunity Scholarship Program” in state history. Senate Bill 406, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Co-Chairs Sens. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and Amy Galey (R-Alamance), would open the private school voucher program to all students, regardless of family income level, in the 2024-2025 school year. The bill, as summarized by legislative staff, would allocate almost $4 billion to the program over the next 10 years and would provide qualifying students with “scholarship grants” on a sliding scale based on family income.
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).
Dr. Ethan Lenker, Superintendent of Pitt County Schools,Awarded 2023 Raymond Sarbaugh Leadership Award
Dr. Ethan Lenker, Superintendent of Pitt County Schools, was awarded the NC Association of School Administrators’ (NCASA) 2023 Raymond Sarbaugh Leadership Award during the NCASA 2023 Conference on Educational Leadership. This award, named in honor of NCASA’s first full-time Executive Director, the late Raymond Sarbaugh, is given annually to an NCASA member who shows outstanding leadership in public school service, as well as a commitment to enhancing and supporting the efforts of fellow school administrators and NCASA.
Mr. Jack J. Hoke, Executive Director of the NC School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA), was awarded the 2023 Champion for Children Award during the NC Association of School Administrators’ (NCASA) 2023 Conference on Educational Leadership. The Champion For Children Award, a prestigious honor given annually by NCASA to an individual demonstrating leadership in supporting and enhancing public education, was awarded this year to Mr. Hoke in recognition of over five decades of service as an educator, mentor, and fierce advocate for public schools.
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