The North Carolina House of Representatives yesterday released the initial draft of the state budget. The “2023 Appropriations Act” (HB 259) reflects spending of nearly $29.8 billion for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. In addition, spending plans include a 10.2% pay raise for teachers across the next two years. The draft budget also includes numerous other provisions impacting public education, such as authorizing remote charter academies, setting new guidelines around academic transparency, addressing school safety and threat assessment, and more.
What’s next in terms of budget deliberations? Here’s the anticipated timeline, from the Associated Press:
The House budget committees will debate the measure and consider amendments Thursday. House floor votes are expected next week. Senate Republicans will then advance their own spending plan in the coming weeks.
Leaders from both chambers will then negotiate a final budget bill to vote on and present to Cooper, probably in June.
Opposition to HB 219, Charter School Omnibus, is mounting. We need all supporters to take action as we work for fair funding for public charter school students.
To that end, we have a new video about HB 219 for you to share with your friends and networks. Many thanks to Jamila Lindsay, a parent at Lake Norman Charter School, for providing the voice recording, and to Brian Jodice for putting the video together.
The video is just 42 seconds–please watch and pass it on!
Why is it so important to take action?
Groups such as the NC School Boards Association and the NC Association of School Administrators are mobilizing strong opposition to HB 219. District leaders have said this bill will cost school districts millions of dollars. See a YouTube video from Dr. Jeff James, the superintendent of Iredell Statesville Schools, in which he says HB 219 will cost his district $12 million. HB 219 could be called, “Let’s defund public education,” he says.
The Board of Education for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) has said HB 219 could cost the district over $17 million. (The school district’s 2022-23 operating budget is $1.8 billion.) Read a summary about CMS opposition in the EduGram newsletter.
The reality, however, is that HB 219 seeks to ensure public charter school students receive an equal share of the money they would receive if they attended a district school. Public charter school students in North Carolina receive 37% less local funding, on average, than public district school students. (Source: BEST NC)
What steps can you take?
Spread the word about HB 219! Share the Coalition’s video above. Reach out to your House or Senate member to share your views. Find out who represents you in the General Assembly by using this link. Lawmakers are back in their Raleigh offices today, so please reach out to them this week to share your views. If you hear back from your legislators, please pass responses on to Lindalyn Kakadelis at email@example.com.
In addition, you can share your own messages about HB 219 with stakeholders. Coalition member Juli Gardner, the director of school operations at Community School of Davidson, has created her own video explaining HB 219. Watch it here.
Earlier today, the Yass Foundation for Education announced the launch of the 2023 Yass and STOP prizes in education. The competition includes 64 education awards, providing over $20 million in grants. See the press release about the 2023 awards launch here.
The application is now open, and the deadline to apply is July 15. Apply for the 2023 awards here.
Here’s the summary from the Yass Foundation about the prizes:
Each year, the Yass Prize and STOP Awards Initiative recognizes the nation’s top education innovators who outperform for underserved students. In addition to the grand prize, finalists receive $500,000 and quarter- and semi-finalists will vie for $100,000 and $200,000 awards, respectively.
The Yass Prize is sector agnostic, meaning that there is no preference for any type of education other than it be Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless.
The 74 recently published a wide-ranging interview with Shavar Jeffries, the innovative new CEO of the KIPP Foundation. An acronym for Knowledge Is Power Program, KIPP is the largest public charter school network in the country. In fact, KIPP’s network now features 280 public charter schools. In North Carolina, for instance, KIPP NC, which includes four Coalition member schools, serves over 3,100 students.
In The 74 interview, Jeffries addresses how to shore up bipartisan support for public charter schools and the challenges that educators face, post-pandemic. Here’s his hope:
We just want to continue to focus on children, to try to not get caught up in a partisan food fight, to really focus on what’s going to support students to love themselves, to recognize their culture and their identity as a source of power and a source of strength in order to fulfill their potential and change the world.
We’re going to ensure that student achievement and outcomes are the lodestar. And hope and hope that if we tell our story to enough of the right people, over a long enough period of time, more often than not, that’ll be good for kids.
Mark your calendars for March 23! That’s the date the application opens for both the Yass and STOP prizes. These awards recognize educators/education providers who are engaged in transformative education efforts. The Yass Foundation plans to award $20 million in 2023. Charter leaders, please consider applying!
Here’s how the Yass Foundation describes its goals for the awards:
The mission of the Yass Prize and STOP Awards Initiative is to identify and support more best in class education providers who can tackle the big education challenges of the day and deliver an education for students that is Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless. It’s more than an awards program or a philanthropic endeavor. It’s a movement intended to transform education for everyone.
In 2022, the Yass Foundation for Education awarded more than $20 million in grants to new and alumni organizations, including the prestigious $1 million Yass Prize to transform education, given to the group that most exemplifies the STOP principles.
Learn more here about how to apply. As mentioned above, the application opens on March 23. The deadline to apply is July 15. Semifinalists will be announced in the fall, while finalists will be revealed in December. Read more about the 2022 award winners or about the Yass Prize and Foundation.
We were glad to see so many charter supporters join us for Monday’s virtual meeting addressing HB 219, Charter School Omnibus. Matthew Tilley, the Coalition’s counsel, provided a clear and concise explanation about what’s at stake for charters in terms of local funding. As we mentioned during the meeting, opponents of the bill are mobilizing to contact General Assembly members. If we want to receive the funds that should follow a student to a public charter school, we must take action to support this bill. Both the NC Association for Public Charter Schools and the Coalition are encouraging all charter stakeholders to get involved! Please put advocacy for HB 219 at the top of your list. We need all hands on deck to make fair funding a reality for charter schools and students!
Find out who represents you in the General Assembly by using this link. You can email, call, or write to your House or Senate member. Please feel free to personalize your correspondence with your legislators, as this is most compelling.
Yesterday the N.C. House passed HB 8, Computer Science Graduation Requirement, by a vote of 115-2. Beginning with the 2024-25 school year, students would need to pass a computer science class in order to graduate. However, students would have the flexibility to do this in middle or high school.
The bill applies to all public school units, which includes public charter schools. HB 8 has now been sent to the N.C. Senate.
Here is some specific language from the bill:
Graduation Requirement. – Each public school unit shall offer to high school students a computer science course which includes instruction in using existing technologies and creating new technologies. The public school unit may offer such a course to middle school students. The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Department of Public Instruction, shall adopt a list of approved courses that fulfill this requirement and make it publicly available on the Department’s website. A passing grade in this course, whether taken in middle school or high school, satisfies the graduation requirement established in G.S. 115C-12(9d)a.3.
TMSA Triangle will hold a virtual panel at the UN! The event is taking place at the UN’s 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Model UN students from TMSA Triangle are helping to organize the panel. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt will serve as the keynote speaker.
Here are the details:
WHAT: TMSA Triangle Virtual Panel at the UN
WHEN: Monday, March 13, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.