Monday, August 4, 2014

Summary of Education Budget Provisions

Part 3 of 4 on the 2014-15 budget.

Again, the Committee Report summarizing the budget adjustment provisions is online here and the full budget bill is online here.


Teacher Pay Increases
·         Salary Increase for Educators: The budget allocates $275 mil in recurring funds for an average 7% teacher pay raise. The increase brings the minimum pay for all teachers to at least $33K per year.
·         Salary Increase for School-based Administrators - $5.8 mil is allocated for a step increase for school-based administrators. Provides funds for salary schedule changes and an experience-based step for all step-eligible school-based administrators. In addition, funds are provided for a nonrecurring salaries and benefits bonus of $1,000 ($809 salary increase) for all school-based administrators who do not receive a salary increase on this schedule.
·         Salary Increase for Other School Personnel - $32.6 mil is allocated to provide a $500 salary increase for all other school personnel. Provides a $618 recurring salary and benefit increase ($500 salary increase) for permanent full-time non-certified and central office personnel.
·         Classroom Teachers - the budget includes $42M increase to decrease class size by 1 student in Kindergarten and first grade.
·         $18.7 mil for Master’s degree supplement. The Master’s degree supplement will continue for Certified school nurses and instructional support personnel in positions for which a master's degree is required for licensure; Teachers and instructional support personnel who were paid on that salary schedule or received that salary supplement prior to the 2014-2015 school year; and Teachers and instructional support personnel who (i) complete a degree at the master's, six-year, or doctoral degree level for which they completed at least one course prior to August 1, 2013, and (ii) would have qualified for the salary supplement pursuant to State Board of Education policy that was in effect on June 30, 2013. The Education Oversight Committee will  study the payment of salary supplements for advanced degrees and make recommendations.
·         Maintains Teacher Assistant funding at a level that will purportedly maintain the levels at which TAs were employed last year, but provides no additional funding for increased enrollment, and backs out funding for positions that were used for Teachers instead of Teacher Assistants.

Education Funding for Children in PRTFs
·         Funds for children in Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities: The budget includes $3.2 mil in funding for the education of children in PRTFs. The special provision language amends Chapters 115C and 122C to make clear that the SBOE has a duty to ensure educational services in PRTFs for all children and to ensure that a child with a disability as defined under G.S. 115C-106.3(1) in a PRTF receives educational services and procedural safeguards as required by law.
·         The special provision also sets out the requirements of the facilities for the facility-based schools.
·         This is a DRNC agenda item and a major victory for children receiving treatment in these facilities.

Other Adjustments
·         $6 mil to implement the Excellent Public Schools Act.
·         Provides an additional $42 mil to decreases class size allocations by 1 student in both Kindergarten and Grade 1. The new Kindergarten allotment ratio will be 1 guaranteed teaching position for every 18 students in membership, an increase of 359 positions. The new Grade 1 allotment ratio will be 1 guaranteed teaching position for every 17 students in membership, an increase of 402 positions. This expansion, combined with other class size modifications made in S.L. 2013-360, will lower the FY 2014-15 teacher allotment ratios in Grades K-3 by 1 student per teacher as compared to the FY 2013-14 ratios.
·         Lottery Receipts - the budget replaces $147 mil in general fund dollars for teachers and teacher assistants with lottery receipts.
·         At-risk Student Services - This allotment is reduced by $9.2 mil.
·         $2.75 mil, or 3%, reduction to LEAs for Central Office staff.
·         $5 mil cut to DPI, with no reduction to be taken from NC Center for Advancement of Teaching or the Schools for the Deaf or Morehead, unless there are positions that have been vacant for more than 16 months; or from Communities in Schools of North Carolina, Teach for America, or Beginnings For Parents of Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
·         $11.8 mil for Opportunity Scholarships.
·         $1 mil for the Communities in Schools program.
·         Enacts law regarding Epinephrine auto-injectors (Epi Pens) use and storage at schools.

·         Establishes a Virtual Charter School Pilot Program: Directs the State Board of Education to establish a pilot program for 2 virtual charter schools serving students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, beginning with the 2015-2016 school year. A virtual charter school participating in the pilot may serve any grade span of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, and shall continue for a period of four school years and shall end with the 2018-2019 school year. The special provision language sets out other requirements including student teacher ratios.

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