New state laws affect education

Some bills flew under radar

By Jeff Linville -

The state budget passed by the General Assembly included several funding issues that affect schools. There were also several bills passed this long session that impact education in a smaller way.

Some of the bills touch upon schools in a minor way such as changes to unemployment insurance or regulatory reform. House Bill 13 has been the most discussed law as it affects class room size, but that one doesn’t go into effect for another year.

Here are three smaller bills that might have gone unnoticed by the general public.

Senate Bill 64

The month of November is now Veterans’ History Awareness Month.

The state has made it clear that public schools will be closed on Veterans Day — whereas it use to be up to the districts to decide for themselves. The law also states that this is a holiday for school personnel as well, not just a teacher workday.

Additionally, “The State Board of Education shall develop recommended programs in collaboration with active military installations, veterans, and veterans service organizations that enable students to gain a better understanding of the meaning and importance of the contributions of American veterans and, in particular, veterans from North Carolina.”

Recommended programs may be integrated into lesson plans and may include veteran participation and veteran sponsorship in the form of an Adopt-A-Veteran program.

“All schools are encouraged to collaborate with veterans and veteran service organizations during Veterans’ History Awareness Month to designate time for appropriate commemorative activities.”

Senate Bill 312

This new law is “an act to allow the State Surplus Property Agency to distribute state surplus computers to nonprofit entities that refurbish and donate computers for the benefit of low-income students and households.”

The surplus agency already collects and sells surplus, obsolete and seized property and vehicles. This adds in a provision that instead of selling computers that get replaced, the agency seeks a nonprofit group that would be willing to fix them up for the poor.

“When distributing computer equipment to nonprofit entities that refurbish computers and donate them to low-income students or households in this state, the State Surplus Property Agency must give consideration to the counties where the computer equipment will be donated to ensure that all geographic regions of the state benefit from the distributions.”

Senate Bill 448

This law allows local school districts to employ college professors as short-term “adjunct instructors” at their schools.

The law states that the State Board of Education will develop a minimum level of “relevant education or employment experience” for the professor that will qualify the individual to contract with a school district in “specific core academic subjects.”

The adjunct instructor would be subject to a criminal background check before starting.

As a temporary employee, the instructor would not be eligible for paid leave, participation in the teachers’ retirement program or to purchase health care through the teachers’ state health plan.

“An adjunct instructor may be employed for less than 20 hours per week or for less than six full consecutive months of employment,” the law states.

While college professors may have an extensive knowledge of a given subject, the General Assembly also understands that children require a different approach than college students.

The professors don’t have to hold a state licensure for K-12 instruction. However, if they do not, the instructors will have to complete training in areas such as:

– Identifying children with disabilities;

– Positive management of student behavior;

– Effective communication for defusing and de-escalating disruptive or dangerous behavior; and

– Safe and appropriate use of seclusion and restraint.

Some bills flew under radar

By Jeff Linville

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

comments powered by Disqus