The draft legislation provides testing and program waivers, additional budget flexibility for schools and school districts, changes to the school calendar, and modifies program and reporting requirements.
It should be noted that all the provisions in the draft legislation are temporary and apply only to the coronavirus impact period. In addition, no appropriations are included in the draft legislation. The document will be forwarded to the House for consideration. The full legislature will convene on April 28.
Highlights of the draft legislation include:
- Testing waivers for EOGs, EOCs ACT, diagnostic and formative assessments for grades K-3 and WorkKeys
- Waives requirements for calculation and display of school report cards
- Waives requirements for identification of new low-performing schools and new continually low performing schools
- Repeals requirements regarding low performing schools and automatic selection for Innovative School District using 2019-20 school data
- Waives mandatory advanced math placement based on EOC and EOG scores
- Waives CPR(cardiopulmonary resuscitation) requirement for graduation for those who cannot complete because of Covid-19 and are otherwise qualified to graduate.
- Allows principals to make third grade promotion decisions
- Waives requirement for monthly progress reports for children in Read to Achieve program during school closure
- Requires that students retained for 2021 school year also receive the same interventions they would have received in other years
- Waives Reading Camps for 2019-20 school year
- Requires state board to submit recommendations to Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on alternative interventions to summer instruction
- Requires reading assessment of all fourth graders within ten days of the start of the school
- Waives requirement for posting K-3 reading outcomes. Scores must be reported to Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee
- Waives requirement that nonpublic schools (including home schools) administer and maintain records on standardized tests for 2019-20 school year
- Waives requirement that schools operate for at least nine calendar months
Opportunity Scholarship Program
- Waives requirement that schools which enroll Opportunity Scholarship recipients also administer and report standardized test results
- Allows State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) to carry forward funds from OSP to remit scholarship funds for spring by October 1, 2020
- Extends by one-month SEAA reporting requirements to Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee for the Opportunity Scholarship and Disabilities Grant Program
- Extends eligibility for Apprenticeship Community College Tuition Waiver by one semester for those who were impacted by Covid-19
- Waives interest charges on student debt at UNC institutions for those impacted by coronavirus.
Extends reporting dates for UNC institutions
- Allows an additional semester of eligibility for NC Scholarship for Children of War-Time Veterans
- Establishes the intent of legislature to not use 2019-20 growth scores for calculating principal salaries
- Revises teacher evaluation requirements to use observations prior to school closure. Waives any requirement to use observations not completed before school closure.
As mentioned earlier, the legislation – as drafted – includes no appropriations. Appropriations ranges will likely be considered by committee chairs before the legislature reconvenes. The federal CARES Act provides $388.8 million in emergency relief for elementary and secondary schools. In addition, North Carolina will receive approximately $95.6 million for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency support to schools, institutions of higher education or local education agencies.
The draft legislation will now be sent to committee for review.