Update from Legislative / Advocacy Chair Tara Muller 3/9/2017
March 14 – Lobby Day
The NC PTA has designated March 14, 2017 as PTA lobby day, to show lawmakers
that we care about public schools! If you are interested in attending events at the
NC General Assembly to lobby for legislation to strengthen our public schools, see
NCPTA.org for more info. You don’t have to be an expert – just show up!
On Tuesday, March 8, 2017, a lobbying effort took place to encourage the Wake
County School Board to adopt a “safe zone resolution” similar to those in Chicago
and Los Angeles to protect undocumented students from deportation while
attending school. Nationwide, undocumented students’ ability to attend public
school has been at issue since President Donald Trump ordered Immigration and
Customs Enforcement officials to step up deportation. Christine Kushner, the
board’s vice chairman, said her father came to Fayetteville from Greece as a teen in
1946. “Being in a public school for a fifteen-year-old man in the nineteen forties
opened up America,” Kushner said, adding that sharing such stories can lead to
“greater conversations” about pressures that face the school system and the
community. The School Board is taking the resolution under consideration.
WCPSS Budget Update
The Board Advisory Committee met this month at Sanderson High School and
explained how the WCPSS budget is funded and allotted. Did you know…
• Only 5% of public school boards in the US are publicly funded, and ours is one!
• The Wake County Commissioners (elected officials) are the folks who decide how much funding goes to the Wake Co. school system (usually through property tax increases).
The Chair is Sig Hutchison and Vice Chair is Matt Calabria, and the school task force
folks are Erv Portman and Greg Ford. If you want increased funding, those are the
people to contact.
• This year’s school board plans to focus on additional counselors, mental health issues, pre-K expansion, and achieving a living wage for school employees.
• Wake County schools spends $8,400 per child per year, on average. This is much less
than most school similar school systems. For example, Chapel Hill public schools spend
$11,000 per child, and Montgomery Co, MD (similar population and size) spends
$13,000 per child.
Governor Roy Cooper’s new budget proposal includes a 5% average raise for teacher
pay this year and next, with the goal of raising pay to the national average in five
The NC General Assembly convened on January 11, 2017 for a full session. North
Carolina ranks 50 out of 50 in pay for administrators. Therefore, the General
Assembly has created a Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based
Administrator Pay. Principal pay, while often overshadowed by public debates over
lagging teacher pay in North Carolina, has emerged as a keynote item for education
leaders in 2017. Be on the lookout for discussions regarding education appropriation
for our wonderful administrators.
Class Size Mistake Corrected
Last year’s state budget mandated class size reduction. Great idea, except that the
budget included no additional funds to make that happen. School systems trying to
abide by the new class size mandate scrambled to cut art, music, and PE. The
legislators clearly recognized their mistake. The NC House of Representatives just
voted 114 to 0 to adopt legislation (House Bill 13) to relax the new class size
mandate. Specifically, the bill allows schools to exceed the average class size
requirements by up to three students and the mandated individual class size by up
to six students.
Carroll Middle School in the news!
Brooks ES feeder school Carroll Middle School was featured on the NBC nightly
news with Lester Holt! The school’s new principal is visiting every students’ home
in her efforts to connect the school with the families.
If you learn of policy issues or legislation affecting Brooks, please contact Tara@MullerLawFirm.com.