On April 25, the Senate passed an amended version of HB 13 to address the class-size funding issue. The version of the bill adopted by the Senate delays the class-size reduction mandate until the 2018-19 school year with the exception that the average class-size for K-3 will be capped at 20 students in 2017-18 (current 16-17 law is 21 students), and would also cap the individual class-size in K-3 at 23 students in 2017-18 (current 16-17 law is 24 students). These class-size reductions for 2017-18 are reasonable and possible within current budget structures.
For the 2018-19 school year, however, the full class-size reductions (as enacted in the 2016 budget; Section 8.33(b) of S.L. 2016-96) go into effect with a verbal commitment (nothing in HB 13) to fund the reductions. Estimates for the additional necessary funding for this are around an additional $320 million, recurring. Again, there is no appropriation language in the amended HB 13. The Senate version of HB 13 passed the Senate by 48 to 1. The bill now goes back to the House for approval.
The key to successful implementation for this proposed class-size funding fix will be whether sufficient full funding is provided in the Senate and House budget to address the class-size reductions that will take place in 2018-2019. Estimates for full funding are around an additonal $320 million. NCPTA encourages our PTA members throughout North Carolina to reach out to their legislators and advocate for full funding in the budget to keep our arts, music, PE, and world languages teachers in place next year when the class-size reductions take place. You can find contact information for your state senator and state representative here: http://www.ncleg.net/representation/WhoRepresentsMe.aspx
A suggested script for calling or emailing our Representatives:
Dear House Members: We thank you for your strong support for fair funding for our specials teachers and for supporting letting local school districts make good decisions in providing programs and services at their schools that best serve their children. Sponsoring HB13 and then unanimously voting for this bill shows your understanding of how school districts operate and your willingness to seek solutions to problems that do not harm our teachers or children. Now, I am asking you to stand strong again. I am asking you to vote NO and send HB13 back to the Senate insisting that they add money into the budget for specials in 2018 or at least add in language into the bill showing this is their INTENT. I know we have counted on you to carry this issue and you have done a remarkable job. Can you please take this final step in helping us keep our specials teachers next year and removing the stress and angst created by not having the funding identified and guaranteed. Sincerely,
XYZ OR something like this..