Legislative Update from Bryan Holloway
Received November 4, 2019
Legislators were in Raleigh again last week. We continue to watch for a budget override or compromise. The override was on the calendar each day in the Senate, but they did not take the vote to override. One can only assume that they did not have the votes to secure an override of the governor’s veto. We also see no real effort to negotiate a compromise budget.
In light of no compromise or override, we are starting to hear legislators discuss the prospect of passing portions of the budget in large blocks in their entirety (for example education, transportation, ag commerce, etc., would see action in a single block). This would likely not occur until 2020 if it’s the chosen path.
Legislators did adjourn at the end of last week and agreed not to return for session until November 13. However, discussions between lawmakers and the governor will likely continue.
The following 2 piecemeal versions of the budget pertaining to educator salaries passed last week and have moved to the governor for action:
1. As reported earlier, House Bill 377 has now passed both chambers and has been sent to the Governor. HB 377 includes funding to cover the experience-based step increases for teachers, assistant principals, and other school personnel eligible for step increases. HB377 does not include across the board salary increases.
2. In an effort to secure across the board funding increases for educator salaries, Senate Bill 354 was advanced by the Senate and House and await a decision from the Governor. This bill would fund educator salaries to the level originally allocated in the state budget which was vetoed by the governor. However, SB 354 ads a provision to increase educator salaries beyond the initial budget allocation in exchange for allowing the state budget veto to be overridden. If SB 354 were to be signed by the governor, then certified employees would see a raise of 4.4% or .5 percent more than what was included in the original budget. Non certified staff would see a 4% increase over the 2 years of the budget biennium along with a .5% bonus which would show up in paychecks for October 2020. Central Office personnel would see a 4% increase in pay spread over 2 years as well. Again, this enhanced educator pay package is contingent upon the veto override being allowed to proceed.
We understand the growing frustration over the uncertainty of the budget this year. However, one positive is that we are seeing those discussions include passing the budget in blocks.
If they were to pass the budget in blocks, that would make NCATA legislative priorities law (the 2 coordinator positions at NC State University and the $500,000 allocation for While Lake).
However, a full budget override or compromise would still be possible (which would also garner your legislative priorities).
To dispel rumors, it should be noted that the budget override can occur in the 2020 calendar year.
We will continue to monitor, advocate, and report as we find out new information from Raleigh.