Our priorities: getting on the record with legislators

Here are LCPS’s 2018 legislative priorities as presented to state lawmakers and local elected officials during the district’s annual Legislative Breakfast on Monday, April 16.

Lenoir County Public Schools 2018 Legislative Priorities

The Most Significant Issues

K-3 Class Size Limits: We want to thank the N.C. General Assembly for working to create the recent changes to the original HB 13 and to create a more gradual approach of phasing in the changes in class-size caps.  This will provide our district and others with time to prepare in terms of additional positions needed and additional classrooms required.  Even with the more gradual approach, the new mandates will, however, create another degree of difficulty for school systems as we work to manage budget challenges within the context of reduced enrollment and additional positions required at the same time. The projected impact over the next three years will be just over $1 million dollars and 18 additional positions. We agree that smaller class sizes can be beneficial and should continue to be one of our goals.  We ask for your support in fully funding the K-3 enhancement positions by developing an allotment formula that will keep these valuable positions in our elementary schools.

Public School Accountability: LCPS fully supports the dialogue in the General Assembly for revamping the A-F grading formula to put more emphasis on student growth.  Such an approach would be consistent with what a number of states already have done in accentuating progress and the processes of continuous improvement. Giving equal credit to results of standardized tests and to growth – a 50-50 split that often has been discussed – would more accurately reflect the true work and progress being made in our schools.

School Calendar Flexibility: We ask the General Assembly to provide boards of education with the same flexibility given to charter schools in adopting a school calendar that best meets the needs of our students, particularly the more than 500 LCPS students taking college-level courses at the local community college. Calendar flexibility has benefits for students and staff, allowing LCPS to coordinate with the college calendar and to complete a full semester prior to the Christmas break.

Capital Funding: School environment and infrastructure are strongly linked to student outcomes. Public school capital infrastructure needs total about $8 billion over the next five years, according to DPI. We ask the General Assembly to develop methods to help school districts meet the mounting list of capital needs.

Other Important Issues

Compensation: LCPS appreciates the General Assembly’s efforts to raise teacher pay in recent years but acknowledges with legislators that the salary schedule for the state’s school administrators needs significant reform. As you know, studies show school administrator salaries in North Carolina are ranked 50thin the nation. As the General Assembly continues to make progress on teacher salaries, we ask legislators to begin that process with school principals and other administrators.

Technology Funding: The use of technology in education is growing at an explosive rate. That is particularly true at LCPS, where iPads are the primary learning tool in our classrooms and digital learning is the standard. With the increased emphasis on digital assets comes the increased need for solid connectivity and skilled technicians to maintain those networks. We ask our state government to continue to acknowledge the future of education by providing the resources required to give school districts a reliable digital presence.