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.
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The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee (JLEOC) met Wednesday and received recommendations from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) about revamping the special education funding formula to reflect actual “levels of service” provided to exceptional children rather than continuing with the state’s 13% funding cap.
The “House Select Committee on an Education System For NC’s Future” heard on Monday from school administrators across the state regarding special programs and academies focused on modern student discipline and reform strategies.
Legislation to authorize virtual instruction options for next school year and set new parameters for it thereafter was rolled into the state budget bill this week rather than moving forward in Senate Bill 671, where it originally started this session.
Members of the House K-12 Education Committee approved on Wednesday three bills, including one that proposes a constitutional amendment to change the governance structure of the State Board of Education. House Bill 1173, which was filed in the waning days of the legislative session, would allow voters in the November 2022 elections to decide whether positions on the State Board should be elected, rather than appointed by the Governor.
Members of the Senate voted not to concur on Wednesday with House changes to a bill laying out new parameters for virtual education and remote academies in the state. The primary bill sponsor, Senate Education Co-Chair Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) asked fellow Senators not to concur with the latest version of Senate Bill 671, noting
Members of the NC House of Representatives this week voted 72-23 in favor of a bill that would make several changes to virtual education and remote academies in our state.
The NC Senate this week passed House Bill 755: Parents’ Bill of Rights in a vote of 28-18, after the bill gained approval in the Senate Rules Committee this week, as well as in the Senate Education and Health Care committees last week.
Governor Cooper released on Wednesday his 2022-23 State Budget Proposal, entitled “Building on Success,” which includes over half a billion dollars in proposed investments to education.
The NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) this week sent a final report on virtual academies to the General Assembly, calling for expanded opportunities for PSUs to operate virtual academies. The report was the result of COVID-19 relief legislation passed by state lawmakers in August of 2021, which required NCDPI to establish a Working Group on Virtual Academies and make recommendations on the use of virtual academies in our state.
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