GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2021

 

SESSION LAW 2021-180

SENATE BILL 105

 

 

AN ACT to make base budget appropriations for current operations of state agencies, departments, and institutions and for other purposes.

 

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 

PART I. Title and Introduction

 

TITLE OF ACT

SECTION 1.1.  This act shall be known as the "Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2021."

 

INTRODUCTION

SECTION 1.2.  The appropriations made in this act are for maximum amounts necessary to provide the services and accomplish the purposes described in the budget in accordance with the State Budget Act. Savings shall be effected where the total amounts appropriated are not required to perform these services and accomplish these purposes, and the savings shall revert to the appropriate fund at the end of each fiscal year, except as otherwise provided by law.

 

PART II. Current Operations and Expansion/General Fund

 

GENERAL FUND APPROPRIATIONS

SECTION 2.1.(a)  Appropriations from the General Fund for the budgets of the State departments, institutions, and agencies, and for other purposes as enumerated, are made for each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, according to the following schedule:

 

Current Operations - General Fund                                    FY 2021‑2022         FY 2022‑2023

 

EDUCATION

Community College System

      Requirements                                                                     1,819,143,571          1,685,373,047

      Less: Receipts                                                                       502,936,159             345,149,910

      Net Appropriation                                                           1,316,207,412          1,340,223,137

 

Public Instruction

      Requirements                                                                   13,493,426,049        13,146,477,032

      Less: Receipts                                                                    2,890,675,279          2,219,558,462

      Net Appropriation                                                         10,602,750,770        10,926,918,570

 

University of North Carolina

UNC at Asheville

      Requirements                                                                          72,523,226               69,523,226

      Less: Receipts                                                                         21,876,242               21,876,242

      Net Appropriation                                                                50,646,984               47,646,984

 

UNC at Chapel Hill - Academic Affairs

      Requirements                                                                        738,414,858             649,514,858

      Less: Receipts                                                                       434,041,754             366,041,754

      Net Appropriation                                                              304,373,104             283,473,104

 

UNC at Chapel Hill - Area Health Ed.

      Requirements                                                                          54,748,874               54,748,874

      Less: Receipts                                                                                         0                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                54,748,874               54,748,874

 

UNC at Chapel Hill - Health Affairs

      Requirements                                                                        340,457,192             338,957,192

      Less: Receipts                                                                       133,319,411             131,819,411

      Net Appropriation                                                              207,137,781             207,137,781

 

UNC at Charlotte

      Requirements                                                                        430,927,003             430,927,003

      Less: Receipts                                                                       165,165,330             165,165,330

      Net Appropriation                                                              265,761,673             265,761,673

 

UNC at Greensboro

      Requirements                                                                        292,392,935             289,992,935

      Less: Receipts                                                                       108,204,808             108,204,808

      Net Appropriation                                                              184,188,127             181,788,127

 

UNC at Pembroke

      Requirements                                                                          94,610,944               94,109,865

      Less: Receipts                                                                         16,289,132               15,789,132

      Net Appropriation                                                                78,321,812               78,320,733

 

UNC at Wilmington

      Requirements                                                                        249,933,584             249,933,584

      Less: Receipts                                                                       102,044,807             102,044,807

      Net Appropriation                                                              147,888,777             147,888,777

 

UNC Board of Governors

      Requirements                                                                          47,352,910               45,192,410

      Less: Receipts                                                                              419,717                    259,217

      Net Appropriation                                                                46,933,193               44,933,193

 

UNC BOG - Aid to Private Institutions

      Requirements                                                                        295,621,921             263,221,921

      Less: Receipts                                                                         64,000,000                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                              231,621,921             263,221,921

 

UNC BOG - Institutional Programs

      Requirements                                                                        464,024,187             398,717,902

      Less: Receipts                                                                       191,277,624                 7,398,652

      Net Appropriation                                                              272,746,563             391,319,250

 

UNC BOG - Related Educational Programs

      Requirements                                                                        202,404,186             220,757,760

      Less: Receipts                                                                         79,531,975             100,266,975

      Net Appropriation                                                              122,872,211             120,490,785

 

UNC School of the Arts

      Requirements                                                                          50,730,632               50,366,379

      Less: Receipts                                                                         16,836,377               16,472,124

      Net Appropriation                                                                33,894,255               33,894,255

 

Western Carolina University

      Requirements                                                                        161,859,440             161,897,131

      Less: Receipts                                                                         28,112,897               28,112,897

      Net Appropriation                                                              133,746,543             133,784,234

 

Winston-Salem State University

      Requirements                                                                          87,439,197               87,439,197

      Less: Receipts                                                                         22,435,103               22,435,103

      Net Appropriation                                                                65,004,094               65,004,094

 

East Carolina Univ. - Academic Affairs

      Requirements                                                                        407,120,602             407,123,708

      Less: Receipts                                                                       170,099,826             170,099,826

      Net Appropriation                                                              237,020,776             237,023,882

 

East Carolina Univ. - Health Affairs

      Requirements                                                                          94,969,394               94,969,394

      Less: Receipts                                                                         13,133,406               13,133,406

      Net Appropriation                                                                81,835,988               81,835,988

 

Elizabeth City State University

      Requirements                                                                          39,493,791               39,493,791

      Less: Receipts                                                                           3,660,169                 3,660,169

      Net Appropriation                                                                35,833,622               35,833,622

 

Appalachian State University

      Requirements                                                                        268,283,708             267,650,375

      Less: Receipts                                                                       117,742,367             117,742,367

      Net Appropriation                                                              150,541,341             149,908,008

 

Fayetteville State University

      Requirements                                                                          79,732,941               79,732,941

      Less: Receipts                                                                         24,568,975               24,568,975

      Net Appropriation                                                                55,163,966               55,163,966

 

NC A&T University

      Requirements                                                                        194,014,245             195,896,516

      Less: Receipts                                                                         87,664,443               87,664,443

      Net Appropriation                                                              106,349,802             108,232,073

 

NC School of Science and Mathematics

      Requirements                                                                          34,010,685               35,486,077

      Less: Receipts                                                                           3,643,589                 2,283,359

      Net Appropriation                                                                30,367,096               33,202,718

 

NC State University - Academic Affairs

      Requirements                                                                        879,087,918             871,715,734

      Less: Receipts                                                                       436,172,095             436,172,095

      Net Appropriation                                                              442,915,823             435,543,639

 

NC State University - Ag. Research

      Requirements                                                                          73,433,973               73,433,973

      Less: Receipts                                                                         17,662,615               17,662,615

      Net Appropriation                                                                55,771,358               55,771,358

 

NC State University - Coop. Extension

      Requirements                                                                          61,382,049               59,619,549

      Less: Receipts                                                                         19,844,142               18,144,142

      Net Appropriation                                                                41,537,907               41,475,407

 

North Carolina Central University

      Requirements                                                                        142,860,118             139,027,491

      Less: Receipts                                                                         51,836,529               51,836,529

      Net Appropriation                                                                91,023,589               87,190,962

 

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Aging and Adult Services

      Requirements                                                                        181,643,877             131,690,170

      Less: Receipts                                                                       131,163,407               79,269,184

      Net Appropriation                                                                50,480,470               52,420,986

 

Central Management and Support

      Requirements                                                                        429,345,578             361,027,599

      Less: Receipts                                                                       237,165,932             180,445,000

      Net Appropriation                                                              192,179,646             180,582,599

 

Child Development and Early Education

      Requirements                                                                     1,345,027,024             819,437,662

      Less: Receipts                                                                    1,102,361,197             576,599,001

      Net Appropriation                                                              242,665,827             242,838,661

 

Health Benefits

      Requirements                                                                   20,103,850,258        18,820,750,486

      Less: Receipts                                                                  16,126,513,963        14,295,834,219

      Net Appropriation                                                           3,977,336,295          4,524,916,267

 

Health Service Regulation

      Requirements                                                                          81,425,934               78,387,487

      Less: Receipts                                                                         56,415,057               55,603,140

      Net Appropriation                                                                25,010,877               22,784,347

 

Mental Hlth/Dev. Disabl./Subs. Abuse Serv.

      Requirements                                                                     1,866,645,398          1,707,121,244

      Less: Receipts                                                                    1,023,516,021             848,124,105

      Net Appropriation                                                              843,129,377             858,997,139

 

Public Health

      Requirements                                                                     1,399,715,419             985,744,986

      Less: Receipts                                                                    1,231,231,383             814,352,013

      Net Appropriation                                                              168,484,036             171,392,973

 

Services for the Blind/Deaf/Hard of Hearing

      Requirements                                                                          43,481,862               43,122,761

      Less: Receipts                                                                         34,533,038               34,037,306

      Net Appropriation                                                                  8,948,824                 9,085,455

 

Social Services

      Requirements                                                                     2,161,485,879          1,998,527,999

      Less: Receipts                                                                    1,941,828,091          1,781,852,590

      Net Appropriation                                                              219,657,788             216,675,409

 

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

      Requirements                                                                        159,234,735             157,729,471

      Less: Receipts                                                                       117,518,882             115,719,592

      Net Appropriation                                                                41,715,853               42,009,879

 

AGRICULTURE, NATURAL, AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES

Agriculture and Consumer Services

      Requirements                                                                        372,398,736             225,820,109

      Less: Receipts                                                                       202,582,863               62,920,117

      Net Appropriation                                                              169,815,873             162,899,992

 

Commerce

      Requirements                                                                        599,260,602             252,886,311

      Less: Receipts                                                                       382,599,635               57,089,545

      Net Appropriation                                                              216,660,967             195,796,766

 

Environmental Quality

      Requirements                                                                     1,974,202,612             270,201,810

      Less: Receipts                                                                    1,867,310,314             168,141,345

      Net Appropriation                                                              106,892,298             102,060,465

 

Labor

      Requirements                                                                          46,418,913               41,538,245

      Less: Receipts                                                                         24,971,497               19,445,475

      Net Appropriation                                                                21,447,416               22,092,770

 

Natural and Cultural Resources

      Requirements                                                                        394,934,053             278,077,598

      Less: Receipts                                                                       167,852,892               46,719,049

      Net Appropriation                                                              227,081,161             231,358,549

 

Wildlife Resources Commission

      Requirements                                                                          97,932,592             101,846,889

      Less: Receipts                                                                         85,060,825               81,599,123

      Net Appropriation                                                                12,871,767               20,247,766

 

JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY

Public Safety

      Requirements                                                                     2,858,617,132          2,765,918,766

      Less: Receipts                                                                       390,169,907             267,676,596

      Net Appropriation                                                           2,468,447,225          2,498,242,170

 

Administrative Office of the Courts

      Requirements                                                                        718,636,816             691,722,774

      Less: Receipts                                                                         46,268,647                 2,398,077

      Net Appropriation                                                              672,368,169             689,324,697

 

Justice

      Requirements                                                                        108,798,980             102,807,319

      Less: Receipts                                                                         43,682,434               40,562,557

      Net Appropriation                                                                65,116,546               62,244,762

 

Indigent Defense Services

      Requirements                                                                        150,427,784             152,524,875

      Less: Receipts                                                                         13,755,019               14,245,217

      Net Appropriation                                                              136,672,765             138,279,658

 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT

Administration

      Requirements                                                                          94,042,041               72,600,521

      Less: Receipts                                                                         32,856,444               11,363,679

      Net Appropriation                                                                61,185,597               61,236,842

 

Administrative Hearings

      Requirements                                                                            8,186,644                 8,540,331

      Less: Receipts                                                                           1,347,120                 1,273,214

      Net Appropriation                                                                  6,839,524                 7,267,117

 

Auditor

      Requirements                                                                          26,458,840               23,073,933

      Less: Receipts                                                                         10,256,759                 6,547,434

      Net Appropriation                                                                16,202,081               16,526,499

 

Budget and Management

      Requirements                                                                        239,898,420               10,939,568

      Less: Receipts                                                                       225,092,508                    557,408

      Net Appropriation                                                                14,805,912               10,382,160

 

Budget and Management - Special Approp.

      Requirements                                                                          31,935,413                 5,517,000

      Less: Receipts                                                                                         0                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                31,935,413                 5,517,000

 

Controller

      Requirements                                                                          29,282,114               32,631,521

      Less: Receipts                                                                           1,095,838                    856,394

      Net Appropriation                                                                28,186,276               31,775,127

 

Elections

      Requirements                                                                          13,068,815                 8,194,592

      Less: Receipts                                                                              201,227                    116,122

      Net Appropriation                                                                12,867,588                 8,078,470

 

General Assembly

      Requirements                                                                        103,315,475               81,600,598

      Less: Receipts                                                                         23,789,804                    714,449

      Net Appropriation                                                                79,525,671               80,886,149

 

Governor

      Requirements                                                                            6,667,609                 6,764,103

      Less: Receipts                                                                              976,940                    909,888

      Net Appropriation                                                                  5,690,669                 5,854,215

 

Housing Finance Agency

      Requirements                                                                        190,660,000               10,660,000

      Less: Receipts                                                                       180,000,000                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                10,660,000               10,660,000

 

Human Resources

      Requirements                                                                            9,558,061                 9,907,043

      Less: Receipts                                                                              228,305                    116,966

      Net Appropriation                                                                  9,329,756                 9,790,077

 

Industrial Commission

      Requirements                                                                          22,773,995               22,737,319

      Less: Receipts                                                                         13,788,856               13,579,528

      Net Appropriation                                                                  8,985,139                 9,157,791

 

Insurance

      Requirements                                                                          72,508,374               64,323,278

      Less: Receipts                                                                         18,980,536                 9,778,203

      Net Appropriation                                                                53,527,838               54,545,075

 

Lieutenant Governor

      Requirements                                                                            1,179,841                 1,200,134

      Less: Receipts                                                                                10,525                        1,989

      Net Appropriation                                                                  1,169,316                 1,198,145

 

Military and Veterans Affairs

      Requirements                                                                          11,937,180               12,436,170

      Less: Receipts                                                                              318,198                    170,004

      Net Appropriation                                                                11,618,982               12,266,166

 

Revenue

      Requirements                                                                        679,577,715             176,677,836

      Less: Receipts                                                                       568,895,961               63,478,511

      Net Appropriation                                                              110,681,754             113,199,325

 

Secretary of State

      Requirements                                                                          17,332,553               17,864,409

      Less: Receipts                                                                              652,146                    392,018

      Net Appropriation                                                                16,680,407               17,472,391

 

Treasurer

      Requirements                                                                          68,742,382               68,143,731

      Less: Receipts                                                                         63,736,148               63,097,790

      Net Appropriation                                                                  5,006,234                 5,045,941

 

Treasurer - Other Retirement Plans/Benefits

      Requirements                                                                          32,905,423               33,255,423

      Less: Receipts                                                                                         0                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                32,905,423               33,255,423

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Department of Information Technology

      Requirements                                                                     1,060,618,295               86,621,172

      Less: Receipts                                                                       971,184,135               16,695,570

      Net Appropriation                                                                89,434,160               69,925,602

 

RESERVES, DEBT, AND OTHER BUDGETS

Statewide Reserves

      Requirements                                                                        101,000,000               64,646,670

      Less: Receipts                                                                       101,000,000                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                                0               64,646,670

 

Statewide Enterprise Resource Planning

      Requirements                                                                          25,000,000               25,000,000

      Less: Receipts                                                                         25,000,000               25,000,000

      Net Appropriation                                                                                0                               0

 

State Capital & Infrastructure Gen. Fund Approp.

      Requirements                                                                                          0                               0

      Less: Receipts                                                                                         0                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                                0                               0

 

State Treasurer - General Debt Service

      Requirements                                                                        673,624,208             649,265,711

      Less: Receipts                                                                       673,624,208             649,265,711

      Net Appropriation                                                                                0                               0

 

State Treasurer - Debt Service - Federal

      Requirements                                                                                          0                               0

      Less: Receipts                                                                                         0                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                                0                               0

 

CAPITAL

State Fiscal Recovery Fund - Capital

      Requirements                                                                          50,000,000                               0

      Less: Receipts                                                                         50,000,000                               0

      Net Appropriation                                                                                0                               0

 

      Total Requirements                                                       59,834,157,715        51,980,785,489

      Less: Total Receipts                                                       33,912,731,433        25,000,110,879

      Total Net Appropriation                                               25,921,426,282        26,980,674,610

 

SECTION 2.1.(b)  For purposes of this act and the Committee Report described in Section 43.2 of this act, the requirements set forth in this section represent the total amount of funds, including agency receipts, appropriated to an agency, department, or institution.

 

GENERAL FUND AVAILABILITY

SECTION 2.2.(a)  The General Fund availability derived from State tax revenue, nontax revenue, and other adjustments used in developing the budget for each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium is as follows:

 

                                                                                                  FY 2021‑2022         FY 2022‑2023

Unappropriated Balance Remaining FY 2020-21                 457,272,694          2,487,245,252

      Actual/Anticipated Reversions                                             523,224,136             200,000,000

      Actual Over Collections                                                    6,230,486,722                                -

      S.L. 2021-19: UNC Building Reserves/Certain Projects        (2,359,159)                              -

      Actual Transfer to Savings Reserve                                    (877,717,564)                              -

Total, Prior Year-End Fund Balance                                  6,330,906,829          2,687,245,252

 

Tax Revenue                                                                                                                                  

      Personal Income                                                              15,388,100,000        15,998,900,000

      Sales and Use                                                                     9,681,100,000          9,830,000,000

      Corporate Income                                                              1,300,500,000          1,343,600,000

      Franchise                                                                               840,000,000             861,300,000

      Insurance                                                                               808,900,000             961,800,000

      Alcoholic Beverages                                                             453,300,000             461,700,000

      Tobacco Products                                                                 258,300,000             256,900,000

      Other Tax Revenues                                                             155,800,000             152,700,000

      Subtotal, Tax Revenue                                                  28,886,000,000        29,866,900,000

 

Non-Tax Revenue                                                                                                                         

      Judicial Fees                                                                         216,600,000             224,200,000

      Investment Income                                                                 29,600,000               36,100,000

      Disproportionate Share                                                         115,400,000             122,500,000

      Master Settlement Agreement                                              139,400,000             134,100,000

      Insurance                                                                               100,500,000             103,400,000

      Other Non-Tax Revenues                                                     217,900,000             220,000,000

      Subtotal, Non-Tax Revenue                                               819,400,000             840,300,000

 

Total, Net Revenue                                                              29,705,400,000        30,707,200,000

 

Adjustments to Tax Revenue                                                                                                       

      Personal Income Tax Changes                                                                                              

      Deduction for PPP Loans, EIDL, & similar programs        (427,000,000)            (35,000,000)

      Changes to Mill Rehabilitation Tax Credits                             1,400,000                (3,700,000)

      Changes to Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits                         (200,000)                 (200,000)

      Reduce Rate, Change Certain Deductions                          (650,020,000)       (1,700,600,000)

Sales and Use Tax Changes                                                                                                         

      Credit Short-Term Car Rental Proceeds to Highway Fund  (69,800,000)            (74,600,000)

Corporate Income Tax Changes                                                                                                 

      Deduction for PPP Loans, EIDL, & similar programs        (183,000,000)            (15,000,000)

      Changes to Mill Rehabilitation Tax Credits                             2,900,000                (7,500,000)

      Changes to Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits                         (500,000)                 (500,000)

Franchise Tax Changes                                                                                                                

      Eliminate Alternate Property Bases                                                        -            (173,300,000)

Insurance Tax Changes                                                                                                                

      Changes to Mill Rehabilitation Tax Credits                             1,500,000                (3,800,000)

      Changes to Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits                         (300,000)                 (300,000)

      Limit Gross Premiums Tax on Surety Bonds                            (700,000)              (1,000,000)

Tobacco Products Tax Changes                                                                                                  

      Expand Cigar Excise Tax                                                                        -               25,200,000

Subtotal, Adjustments to Tax Revenue                              (1,325,700,000)       (1,990,300,000)

 

Statutorily Required Reservations of Revenue                                                                          

      NC GREAT Program (S.L. 2019-230)                                  (15,000,000)            (15,000,000)

      State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF)                  (1,300,000,000)       (1,345,500,000)

Subtotal, Statutorily Required Reservations of Revenue (1,315,000,000)       (1,360,500,000)

 

Reserves                                                                                                                                         

      Medicaid Contingency Reserve                                          (125,000,000)                              -

      Medicaid Transformation Reserve                                      (215,820,000)          (246,000,000)

      Information Technology Reserve                                        (109,661,155)          (165,000,000)

      Transfer to Savings Reserve                                             (1,134,006,723)       (1,134,006,722)

      Additional Transfer to SCIF                                             (2,349,334,999)       (1,039,500,000)

      State Emergency and Disaster Response Reserve              (425,000,000)          (375,000,000)

      Economic Development Project Reserve                            (338,000,000)                              -

      Unfunded Liability Solvency Reserve                                  (40,000,000)            (10,000,000)

      Wilmington Harbor Enhancements Reserve                       (283,800,000)                              -

Subtotal, Reserves                                                                (5,020,622,877)       (2,969,506,722)

 

Other Adjustments to Availability                                                                                              

      Adjustment to Transfer from State Treasurer                           2,320,420                 3,337,657

      Adjustment from Insurance Reg. Fund                                         61,578                    101,285

      UNC/Medicaid Receivables Transfer                                     31,305,584               31,305,584

Subtotal, Other Adjustments                                                     33,687,582               34,744,526

 

Revised Total General Fund Availability                          28,408,671,534        27,108,883,056

 

Less General Fund Net Appropriations                                 25,921,426,282        26,980,674,610

Unappropriated Balance Remaining                                   2,487,245,252             128,208,446

 

SECTION 2.2.(b)  In addition to the amount required under G.S. 143C‑4‑3.1, as amended by Section 5.7 of this act, the State Controller shall transfer to the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund established under G.S. 143C‑4‑3.1 the sum of two billion three hundred forty-nine million three hundred thirty-four thousand nine hundred ninety-nine dollars ($2,349,334,999) in nonrecurring funds in the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of one billion thirty-nine million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,039,500,000) in nonrecurring funds in the 2022‑2023 fiscal year. Funds transferred under this subsection are appropriated for the fiscal year in which they were transferred and shall be used in accordance with Part 40 of this act.

SECTION 2.2.(c)  In addition to the amount required under G.S. 143C‑4‑2, as amended by Section 5.6 of this act, the State Controller shall transfer to the Savings Reserve the sum of one billion one hundred thirty‑four million six thousand seven hundred twenty‑three dollars ($1,134,006,723) in nonrecurring funds in the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of one billion one hundred thirty‑four million six thousand seven hundred twenty‑two dollars ($1,134,006,722) in nonrecurring funds in the 2022‑2023 fiscal year. This transfer is not an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

SECTION 2.2.(d)  No funds shall be transferred to the Unfunded Liability Solvency Reserve pursuant to subsection (i) or (j) of G.S. 143C‑4‑2 during the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium.

SECTION 2.2.(e)  The State Controller shall reserve to the Medicaid Transformation Reserve from funds available in the General Fund the sum of two hundred fifteen million eight hundred twenty thousand dollars ($215,820,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of two hundred forty‑six million dollars ($246,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year. Funds reserved in the Medicaid Transformation Reserve pursuant to this subsection do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

SECTION 2.2.(f)  The State Controller shall transfer the sum of four hundred thirty million eight hundred twenty thousand dollars ($430,820,000) for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of forty‑six million dollars ($46,000,000) for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year from funds available in the Medicaid Transformation Reserve in the General Fund to the Medicaid Transformation Fund established under Section 12H.29 of S.L. 2015‑241.

SECTION 2.2.(g)  The State Controller shall reserve to the Medicaid Contingency Reserve described in G.S. 143C‑4‑11 from funds available in the General Fund the sum of one hundred twenty-five million dollars ($125,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year. Funds reserved in the Medicaid Contingency Reserve pursuant to this subsection do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

SECTION 2.2.(h)  There is established in the General Fund an Information Technology Reserve that shall make funds available for information technology project expenditures only upon an act of appropriation by the General Assembly. The State Controller shall reserve to the Information Technology Reserve from funds available in the General Fund the sum of one hundred nine million six hundred sixty‑one thousand one hundred fifty‑five dollars ($109,661,155) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of one hundred sixty‑five million dollars ($165,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year. The State Controller shall transfer funds available in the Information Technology Reserve to State agencies and departments for information technology projects in accordance with the following schedule, and the funds transferred are appropriated for the fiscal year in which they are transferred:

 

State Agency or Department                                        2021‑2022                 2022‑2023

 

(1)        Office of the State Controller

(Budget Code: 19084)                                                   $25,000,000             $25,000,000

(2)        Department of Public Instruction

(Budget Code: 23515)                                                     48,748,522               37,850,910

(3)        Community College System

(Budget Code: 26802)                                                     28,500,000                               0

(4)        Administrative Office of the Courts

(Budget Code: 22006)                                                       7,412,633                 8,405,916

 

SECTION 2.2.(i)  The State Controller shall reserve the sum of four hundred twenty-five million dollars ($425,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, and the sum of three hundred seventy-five million dollars ($375,000,000) for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, from funds available in the General Fund to the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Reserve established under G.S. 166A‑19.42. Funds reserved in the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Reserve pursuant to this subsection do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

SECTION 2.2.(j)  The State Controller shall transfer the sum of four hundred eleven million seven hundred sixty‑nine thousand five hundred dollars ($411,769,500) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year from funds available in the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Reserve, to be used in accordance with Sections 5.9 and 5.9A of this act, and the funds transferred are appropriated for the fiscal year in which they are transferred.

SECTION 2.2.(l)  There is established in the General Fund a Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Reserve that shall make funds available for expenditures associated with the Wilmington Harbor Enhancement project only upon an act of appropriation by the General Assembly. The State Controller shall reserve to the Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Reserve from funds available in the General Fund the sum of two hundred eighty‑three million eight hundred thousand dollars ($283,800,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year. Funds reserved in the General Fund pursuant to this subsection do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

SECTION 2.2.(m)  There is established in the General Fund an Economic Development Project Reserve that shall make funds available for expenditures associated with economic development projects meeting or exceeding high‑yield project metrics only upon an act of appropriation by the General Assembly. The State Controller shall reserve to the Economic Development Project Reserve from funds available in the General Fund the sum of three hundred thirty-eight million dollars ($338,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year. Funds reserved in the General Fund pursuant to this subsection do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

 

PART III. Highway Fund and Highway Trust Fund

 

CURRENT OPERATIONS/HIGHWAY FUND

SECTION 3.1.  Appropriations from the State Highway Fund for the maintenance and operation of the Department of Transportation and for other purposes as enumerated are made for the fiscal biennium ending June 30, 2023, according to the following schedule:

 

Highway Fund                                                                        FY 2021‑2022         FY 2022‑2023

Administration                                                                            100,148,404             100,148,990

 

Division of Highways

Administration                                                                        45,738,718               45,600,056

Construction                                                                         127,543,078               77,543,078

Maintenance                                                                      1,658,910,598          1,699,760,767

Governor's Highway Safety Program                                          305,546                    305,546

OSHA                                                                                          358,030                    358,030

 

Aid to Municipalities

Powell Bill                                                                            154,875,000             154,875,000

Other Municipal Assistance                                                     4,319,350                               0

 

Intermodal Divisions

Ferry                                                                                        56,252,098               57,235,982

Public Transportation, Bicycle and Pedestrian                       97,421,832               69,394,735

Aviation                                                                                130,172,588             131,772,588

Rail                                                                                          44,613,338               44,613,338

 

Division of Motor Vehicles                                                        152,450,570             152,428,637

 

Other State Agencies, Reserves, Transfers                                   49,430,850               65,819,281

 

Capital Improvements                                                                    3,860,000                 3,543,972

 

Total                                                                                      $2,626,400,000        $2,603,400,000

 

HIGHWAY FUND AVAILABILITY

SECTION 3.2.  The Highway Fund availability used in developing the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennial budget is shown below:

 

Highway Fund Availability                                                   FY 2021‑2022         FY 2022‑2023

Actual Over Collections                                                             249,824,965                                

Partial Accounting of HTF Cash Advance Repayments           (176,577,495)                               

Transfer of Funds to Emergency Reserve

      (G.S. 136‑44.2E(b) and (d))                                                  (61,000,000)                               

Estimated Ferry Overdrafts                                                           (7,971,879)                               

Ferry Vessels – Salvo and Avon                                                   (4,275,591)                               

 

Beginning Balance                                                                                        0                               0

Motor Fuels Tax                                                                      1,672,500,000          1,641,700,000

Licenses and Fees                                                                       872,600,000             875,600,000

Highway Short‑Term Lease                                                         10,000,000               10,000,000

Investment Income                                                                         1,500,000                 1,500,000

 

Adjustments to Availability                                                                                                            

      Additional Highway Short‑Term Lease                                 69,800,000               74,600,000

 

Total Highway Fund Availability                                      $2,626,400,000        $2,603,400,000

 

HIGHWAY TRUST FUND APPROPRIATIONS

SECTION 3.3.  Appropriations from the State Highway Trust Fund to the Department of Transportation for construction and other purposes as enumerated are made for the fiscal biennium ending June 30, 2023, according to the following schedule:

 

Current Operations – Highway Trust Fund                       FY 2021‑2022          FY 2022‑2023

Program Administration                                                               39,433,938               39,433,938

Bonds                                                                                            93,042,400               93,047,650

Turnpike Authority                                                                       49,000,000               49,000,000

State Ports Authority                                                                    45,000,000               45,000,000

FHWA State Match                                                                        5,104,440                 5,104,440

Strategic Prioritization Funding Plan for

      Transportation Investments                                               1,320,019,222          1,496,313,972

Transfer to Visitor Center                                                                  400,000                    400,000

 

Total                                                                                      $1,552,000,000        $1,728,300,000

 

HIGHWAY TRUST FUND AVAILABILITY

SECTION 3.4.  The Highway Trust Fund availability used in developing the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennial budget is shown below:

 

Highway Trust Fund Availability                                        FY 2021‑2022          FY 2022‑2023

Projected Over Collections                                                         326,587,369                                

Partial Accounting of Cash Advance Repayments                     176,577,495                                

STI Projects                                                                               (503,164,864)

 

Beginning Balance                                                                                        0                                

Highway Use Tax                                                                       958,300,000             997,900,000

Motor Fuels Tax                                                                         418,000,000             546,300,000

Fees                                                                                             173,700,000             182,100,000

Investment Income                                                                         2,000,000                 2,000,000

 

Total Highway Trust Fund Availability                            $1,552,000,000        $1,728,300,000

 

PART IV. Other Availability and Appropriations

 

OTHER APPROPRIATIONS

SECTION 4.1.(a)  State funds, as defined in G.S. 143C‑1‑1, are appropriated for each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, as follows:

(1)        All budget codes listed in the Governor's Recommended Base Budget for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, submitted pursuant to G.S. 143C‑3‑5, are appropriated up to the amounts specified, as adjusted by the General Assembly in this act and as delineated in the Committee Report described in Section 43.2 of this act, or in another act of the General Assembly.

(2)        Agency receipts up to the amounts needed to implement the legislatively mandated salary increases and employee benefit increases provided in this act for each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium.

SECTION 4.1.(b)  Receipts collected in a fiscal year in excess of the amounts appropriated by this section shall remain unexpended and unencumbered until appropriated by the General Assembly, unless the expenditure of overrealized receipts in the fiscal year in which the receipts were collected is authorized by G.S. 143C‑6‑4. Overrealized receipts are appropriated in the amounts necessary to implement this subsection.

SECTION 4.1.(c)  Funds may be expended only for the specified programs, purposes, objects, and line items or as otherwise authorized by the General Assembly.

 

OTHER RECEIPTS FROM PENDING AWARD GRANTS

SECTION 4.2.(a)  Notwithstanding G.S. 143C‑6‑4, State agencies may, with approval of the Director of the Budget, spend funds received from grants awarded after the enactment of this act for grant awards that are for less than two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000), do not require State matching funds, and will not be used for a capital project. State agencies shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the chairs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division within 30 days of receipt of such funds.

State agencies may spend up to the greater of one percent (1%) or ten million dollars ($10,000,000) of the total amount of grants awarded after the enactment of this act to respond to an emergency, as defined in G.S. 166A‑19.3, with the approval of the Director of the Budget. State agencies shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the chairs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division within 30 days of receipt of such funds, including specifying the total amount of grants awarded to respond to the emergency.

State agencies may spend all other funds from grants awarded after the enactment of this act only with approval of the Director of the Budget and after consultation with the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations.

SECTION 4.2.(b)  The Office of State Budget and Management shall work with the recipient State agencies to budget grant awards according to the annual program needs and within the parameters of the respective granting entities. Depending on the nature of the award, additional State personnel may be employed on a time‑limited basis. Funds received from such grants are hereby appropriated up to the applicable amount set forth in subsection (a) of this section and shall be incorporated into the authorized budget of the recipient State agency.

SECTION 4.2.(c)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, no State agency may accept a grant not anticipated in this act if acceptance of the grant would obligate the State to make future expenditures relating to the program receiving the grant or would otherwise result in a financial obligation as a consequence of accepting the grant funds.

 

EDUCATION LOTTERY FUNDS

SECTION 4.3.(a)  The allocations made from the Education Lottery Fund for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium are as follows:

                                                                                                 FY 2021‑2022          FY 2022‑2023

 

Noninstructional Support Personnel                                         $385,914,455           $385,914,455

Prekindergarten Program                                                              78,252,110               78,252,110

Public School Building Capital Fund                                         100,000,000             100,000,000

Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund                                  145,252,612             153,252,612

Public School Repair & Renovation                                            30,000,000               50,000,000

Scholarships for Needy Students                                                  30,450,000                               –

UNC Need‑Based Financial Aid                                                  10,744,733                               –

Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges

      and Universities                                                                                      –               41,194,733

LEA Transportation                                                                      21,386,090               21,386,090

TOTAL ALLOCATION                                                        $802,000,000           $830,000,000

SECTION 4.3.(b)  G.S. 18C‑162 reads as rewritten:

"§ 18C‑162.  Allocation of revenues.

(a)        The Commission shall allocate revenues to the North Carolina State Lottery Fund in order to increase and maximize the available revenues for education purposes, and to the extent practicable, shall adhere to the following guidelines:

(1)        At least fifty percent (50%) of the total annual revenues, as described in this Chapter, shall be returned to the public in the form of prizes.

(2)        At least thirty‑five thirty‑eight percent (35%) (38%) of the total annual revenues, as described in this Chapter, shall be transferred as provided in G.S. 18C‑164.

(3)        No more than eight five percent (8%) (5%) of the total annual revenues, as described in this Chapter, shall be allocated for payment of expenses of the Lottery. Advertising expenses shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the total annual revenues.

(4)        No more than seven percent (7%) of the face value of tickets or shares, as described in this Chapter, shall be allocated for compensation paid to lottery game retailers.

…."

 

NEEDS‑BASED CHANGES

SECTION 4.4.(a)  Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 38B.

"Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund.

"§ 115C‑546.10.  Fund created; purpose; prioritization.

There is created the Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund as an interest‑bearing, nonreverting special fund in the Department of Public Instruction. The State Treasurer shall be the custodian of the Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund and shall invest its assets in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 147‑69.2 and G.S. 147‑69.3. The Department of Public Instruction shall award grants from the Fund to counties to assist with their critical public school building capital needs in accordance with the following priorities:

(1)        Counties designated as development tier one areas.

(2)        Counties with greater need and less ability to generate sales tax and property tax revenue.

(3)        Counties with a high debt‑to‑tax revenue ratio.

(4)        The extent to which a project will address critical deficiencies in adequately serving the current and future student population.

(5)        Projects with new construction or complete renovation of existing facilities.

(6)        Projects that will consolidate two or more schools into one new facility.

(7)        Counties that have not received a grant under this Article in the previous three years.

"§ 115C‑546.11.  Matching requirement; use of funds; maximum awards.

(a)        An eligible county awarded a grant under this Article shall provide local matching funds from county funds, other non‑State funds, or a combination of these sources for the grant as provided in this section. An eligible county is a county with an adjusted market value of taxable real property of less than forty billion dollars ($40,000,000,000). The adjusted market value of taxable property in a county is equal to the county's assessed taxable real property value, using the latest available data published by the Department of Revenue, divided by the county's sales assessment ratio determined under G.S. 105‑289(h). The amount of matching funds for a county awarded a grant shall be published annually by the Department of Public Instruction prior to any application period. The local match requirement applied to the project shall be based on the match requirement effective at the time of the grant award. The local match requirement is calculated as follows:

Adjusted Market Value of Taxable Real Property                            Percentage Match

 

            Over                                        Up to

            $0                                            $2 billion                                                         0%

            $2 billion                                 $10 billion                                                       5%

            $10 billion                               $20 billion                                                       15%

            $20 billion                               $30 billion                                                       25%

            $30 billion                               $40 billion                                                       35%

(b)        Grant funds shall be used only for the construction of new school buildings and additions, repairs, and renovations. Grant funds shall not be used for real property acquisition or for capital improvements to administrative buildings. Grant funds shall be disbursed in a series of payments based on the progress of the project. To obtain a payment, the grantee shall submit a request for payment along with documentation of the expenditures for which the payment is requested and evidence that the matching requirement contained in subsection (a) of this section has been met. No portion of grant funds may be used to acquire a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

(c)        Maximum grant award amounts shall be determined as follows:

(1)        Up to thirty million dollars ($30,000,000) for an elementary school.

(2)        Up to forty million dollars ($40,000,000) for a middle school or a combination of an elementary and middle school.

(3)        Up to fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) for a high school.

(d)       The Department of Public Instruction shall review projected enrollment to evaluate the reasonableness of a project's size and scope.

"§ 115C‑546.12.  Grant agreement; requirements.

A county receiving grant funds pursuant to this Article shall enter into an agreement with the Department of Public Instruction detailing the use of grant funds. The agreement shall contain at least all of the following:

(1)        A requirement that the grantee seek planning assistance and plan review from the School Planning Section of the Department of Public Instruction.

(2)        A progress payment provision governing disbursements to the county for the duration of the school construction project based upon the construction progress and documentation satisfactory to the Department that the matching requirement in G.S. 115C‑546.11 has been met.

(3)        A provision requiring periodic reports to the Department of Public Instruction on the use of disbursed grant funds and the progress of the school construction project.

(4)        A requirement that matching funds paid by the county pursuant to G.S. 115C‑546.11 must be derived from non‑State and nonfederal funds.

"§ 115C‑546.13.  Lease exception; requirements.

(a)        Notwithstanding any provision of this Article to the contrary, a county may utilize grant funds for a lease agreement if all of the following criteria are met:

(1)        Ownership of the subject property on which the leased school is constructed shall be retained by the county.

(2)        The lease agreement shall include a repairs and maintenance provision that requires the landlord to bear the entire expense of all repairs, maintenance, alterations, or improvements to the basic structure, fixtures, appurtenances, and grounds of the subject property for the term of the lease.

(3)        The lease agreement shall be for a term of at least 15 years and no more than 25 years.

(4)        In lieu of the progress payment requirement provided in G.S. 115C‑546.11(b), a county that has entered into a lease agreement shall provide a copy of the lease agreement to the Department of Public Instruction and shall be periodically reimbursed upon submission of documentation satisfactory to the Department that the matching requirement of this section has been met.

(b)        For the purposes of this section, the term "lease agreement" shall include any ancillary agreements or predevelopment agreements entered into in anticipation of or in accordance with a lease. A lease agreement entered into pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to the requirements of Article 8 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes. In determining whether the lease agreement is necessary or expedient pursuant to G.S. 159‑151(a)(1) and G.S. 159‑151(b)(1), the Local Government Commission may consider any other relevant construction and financing methods available to the county.

"§ 115C‑546.14.  Reporting.

(a)        On or before April 1 of each year, a grant recipient shall submit to the Department of Public Instruction an annual report for the preceding year that describes the progress of the project for which the grant was received. The grant recipient shall submit a final report to the Department of Public Instruction within three months of the completion of the project.

(b)        On or before May 1 of each year, the Department of Public Instruction shall submit a report to the chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division. The report shall contain at least all of the following information for the fiscal year:

(1)        Number and description of projects awarded.

(2)        Total cost of each project and amount supported by the Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund.

(3)        Projections for local school administrative unit capital needs for the next 30 years based upon present conditions and estimated demographic changes.

(4)        Any legislative recommendations for improving the Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund program."

SECTION 4.4.(a1)  Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 38C.

"Public School Building Repair and Renovation Fund.

"§ 115C‑546.15.  Fund created; administration.

There is created the Public School Building Repair and Renovation Fund. The Fund shall be administered by the Department of Public Instruction and shall be used to provide funds to counties for repair and renovation projects for local school administrative units within a county.

"§ 115C‑546.16.  Fund disbursements; allowable uses.

The Department of Public Instruction shall annually allocate all funds available from the Fund to each county in this State in equal amounts. Counties shall utilize funds received under this section for enlargement, improvement, expansion, repair, or renovation of classroom facilities at public school buildings within local school administrative units located in the county. Funds received under this section shall not be used for the retirement of indebtedness. As used in this section, "public school buildings" has the same meaning as in G.S. 115C‑546.2(b)."

SECTION 4.4.(b)  Counties previously awarded grant funds from the Needs‑Based Public School Capital Fund that have not yet started construction of the project may apply to the Department of Public Instruction to increase the grant award if the maximum grant award or matching requirements in subsection (a) of this section are more beneficial to the county. Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑546.10, the Department of Public Instruction shall prioritize applications submitted pursuant to this subsection.

SECTION 4.4.(c)  Beginning with the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, a grant recipient that was awarded funds pursuant to Sections 5.3(d) through (e2) of S.L. 2017‑57, as amended, shall be subject to the provisions contained in the agreement entered into with the Department of Public Instruction for the administration of the remaining term of the grant.

SECTION 4.4.(d)  Sections 5.3(d) through (h) of S.L. 2017‑57, as amended by Section 1.1(a) of S.L. 2017‑187, Section 1.1 of S.L. 2017‑212, Section 5.3 of S.L. 2018‑5, and Section 3A.1(a) of S.L. 2018‑80, are repealed.

SECTION 4.4.(e)  G.S. 115C‑546.2(f) is repealed.

 

INDIAN GAMING EDUCATION REVENUE FUND APPROPRIATION

SECTION 4.5.  Notwithstanding G.S. 143C‑9‑7, there is allocated from the Indian Gaming Education Revenue Fund to the Department of Public Instruction, Textbooks and Digital Resources Allotment, the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in the 2022‑2023 fiscal year.

 

CIVIL PENALTY AND FORFEITURE FUND

SECTION 4.6.  Allocations are made from the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund for the fiscal biennium ending June 30, 2023, as follows:

                                                                                                  FY 2021‑2022          FY 2022‑2023

School Technology Fund                                                            $18,000,000             $18,000,000

Drivers Education                                                                         27,393,768               27,393,768

State Public School Fund                                                           183,041,640             147,041,640

Total Appropriation                                                               $228,435,408           $192,435,408

 

CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND/REALLOCATION AND USE OF UNSPENT FUNDS

SECTION 4.7.(a)  Subsection (a) of Section 4.4 of S.L. 2021‑25 reads as rewritten:

"SECTION 4.4.(a)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, as unspent funds are returned to the Coronavirus Relief Fund established under S.L. 2020‑4, the Office of State Budget and Management, in consultation with the Director of the Budget, shall reallocate up to the sum of the nonrecurring funds as follows to ensure maximum use of the funds:

(1)        The first ten million dollars ($10,000,000) in nonrecurring funds to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, to be used for unmet needs related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance program in response to the COVID‑19 public health emergency.

(2)        The next one hundred fourteen million dollars ($114,000,000) to the State Treasurer to be used for COVID‑19 related expenses incurred by the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees between the dates of March 1, 2020, and March 2, 2021.

(3)        Any funds remaining after the reallocations under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to distribute equally among each of the food banks in this State to reimburse for COVID‑19 related expenses incurred between the dates of March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021.

(4)        Any funds remaining after the reallocations under subdivisions (1) through (3) of this subsection to the Department of Public Safety to be used to offset General Fund expenditures that are eligible to be funded under the applicable federal law or guidance."

SECTION 4.7.(b)  This section is effective when it becomes law and applies retroactively to May 24, 2021.

 

MODIFICATIONS OF PREVIOUS APPROPRIATIONS AND REPORTING ON ARPA FUNDS

SECTION 4.8.(a)  Section 3.2 of S.L. 2021‑25 reads as rewritten:

"SECTION 3.2.(a)  Except as otherwise provided in this section, federal funds received by the State under the American Rescue Plan Act for the programs set forth in the schedule below for funds subject to Section 2.1 or 2.3 of this act, funds received from federal grants authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act are appropriated in the amounts provided in the notification of award from the federal government or any entity acting on behalf of the federal government to administer the federal funds. Federal funds received by the State under the American Rescue Plan Act from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund are only appropriated up to the estimated amount set forth in the schedule below for the program. State agencies may, with approval of the Director of the Budget, spend these funds received from federal receipts and federal grants. Any positions created with the funds shall terminate at the earlier of the funds being fully expended or the deadline established by applicable federal law and guidance for use of the funds. The programs and grant amounts in the schedule set forth in this subsection are estimates of North Carolina's allocations to be deposited in the State's Treasury and administered by State agencies. This schedule is meant to be illustrative of federal grants that have been, or will be, received by the State in addition to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund funds under the American Rescue Plan Act. These amounts are not inclusive of federal funds distributed or paid directly to individuals, businesses, health care providers, or private postsecondary institutions:

Program                                                                                                      Amount

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund                                            $701,279,800

Emergency Assistance to Non‑Public Schools                                          82,952,000

IDEA: Grants to States                                                                               81,359,400

IDEA: Preschool Grants                                                                              5,961,100

IDEA: Infants & Toddlers                                                                           6,298,200

Child Care Stabilization Grants                                                               805,767,400

Child Care Entitlement to States                                                                16,096,000

Community‑Based Child Abuse Prevention                                                7,695,000

Child Abuse State Grants                                                                             3,067,000

Supportive Services                                                                                   13,984,000

Congregate and Home Delivered Meals                                                    23,045,000

Preventive Services                                                                                      1,363,000

Family Caregiver                                                                                         4,463,000

Title VII Long‑Term Care Ombudsman                                                         310,000

SNAP State Administrative Expense Grants                                             35,443,000

FTA Urbanized Area Formula                                                                     4,696,400

HOME Investment Partnerships Program                                               137,414,000

Emergency Management Performance Grants                                            2,660,000

National Endowment for the Arts: State Arts Agencies                                 912,000

Emergency Rental Assistance                                                                  556,611,000

Homeowner Assistance Fund                                                                  273,337,000

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund

                                                                                        3,260,772,5353,601,780,364

Expand Genomic Sequencing                                                                      6,662,900

Epidemiology and Lab Capacity for School Testing                               315,895,900

Community Health Centers Expanded Access to COVID‑19

         Vaccines, Build Vaccine Confidence                                                 4,057,900

WIC Cash Value Vouchers Increase                                                          19,930,600

Institute for Museum and Library Services                                                 4,309,000

Homeless Children and Youth                                                                   23,576,625

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program                    625,310

Commodity Supplemental Foods Program                                                     119,000

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program                                       86,970,460

State Small Business Credit Initiative                                                      120,461,927

Immunization and Vaccines for Children                                                102,468,748

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program                                 17,105,002

Child Care and Development Block Grant                                              502,777,789

Pandemic Emergency Assistance                                                              16,782,875

Mental Health Block Grant                                                                        41,535,246

Substance Abuse Block Grant                                                                   36,420,651

FTA Nonurbanized Area                                                                            13,833,386

FTA Rural Transit Assistance Program                                                          209,718

FTA Intercity Bus Formula                                                                          4,183,036

Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Persons with Disabilities–State               781,873

Crisis Response Workforce                                                                        62,340,758

Disease Intervention Workforce                                                                27,361,745

Public Health Laboratory Preparedness                                                          142,473

Family Violence Prevention and Services                                                   3,691,782

FAA Airport Rescue Grants                                                                         2,471,000

Detection and Mitigation of COVID‑19

         in Homeless Populations                                                                     1,439,232

Detection and Mitigation of COVID‑19

         in Confinement Facilities                                                                  20,230,000

Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program

         ‑ Testing and Mitigation                                                                      4,909,144

Nursing Home and Long Term Care

         Strike Teams                                                                                     14,144,928

Elder Justice – Adult Protective Services                                                    2,579,576

Total Estimated Funding                                           $6,400,545,0707,834,552,821

"SECTION 3.2.(b)  The final amount of federal funds awarded for the following programs are not yet known but are hereby appropriated in the same manner as provided in subsection (a) of this section: (i) State Veterans Home Construction Grants, (ii) Family Violence Prevention and Services, (iii) Payments to State Veterans Homes, and (iv) Elder Justice – Adult Protective Services."

SECTION 4.8.(b)  Section 1.2 of S.L. 2021‑25 reads as rewritten:

"SECTION 1.2.  In addition to any report required under this act or any other law, each State agency or department that receives federal grant funds under Section 3.2 of this act shall submit (i) a copy of any report required to be submitted to the federal government with respect to the funds within five days of the date the federal report is due and (ii) a quarterly report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations Operations, the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division beginning on July 15, 2021, detailing the use of funds. The quarterly report required from each State agency or department that receives federal grant funds under Section 3.2 of this act shall include the amount of funds granted, the source of the funds, how the funds were used during the quarter, and the amount of funds that remained unspent at the end of the quarterly reporting period. The quarterly report required under this section shall end upon submission of the final report from each State agency or department, which shall be no later than 90 days from the date the grant period ends for the relevant funds."

SECTION 4.8.(c)  Nothing in this act or the Committee Report described in Section 43.2 of this act shall be construed as appropriating the funds set forth in Section 3.2 of S.L. 2021‑25, as amended by this section, in excess of the amounts provided in the notification of award from the federal government or any entity acting on behalf of the federal government to administer the federal funds.

 

GENERAL PROVISIONS FOR AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT OF 2021 FUNDING

SECTION 4.9.(a)  Applicability. – Except as otherwise provided in this act, provisions funded in this act by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, P.L. 117‑2, are subject to the provisions of this section.

SECTION 4.9.(b)  Definitions. – The definitions in S.L. 2021‑25 and the following definitions apply in this act:

(1)        American Rescue Plan Act or ARPA. – The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as defined in S.L. 2021‑25.

(2)        State Fiscal Recovery Fund. – As established in Section 2.2 of S.L. 2021‑25.

(3)        State Fiscal Recovery Reserve. – As established in Section 2.1 of S.L. 2021‑25.

SECTION 4.9.(c)  Conflict. – If an allocation made under this act of State Fiscal Recovery Fund funds is found to be disallowed by federal law, the disallowed allocation is repealed and the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) shall transfer the amount of the disallowed allocation to the State Fiscal Recovery Reserve. If the funds have been allocated to a nonprofit corporation, and the use of funds by the nonprofit corporation is disallowed by federal law, the nonprofit corporation shall return the amount of funds allocated to the nonprofit corporation to OSBM to transfer the disallowed, repealed allocation, as provided in this section. Amounts transferred into the State Fiscal Recovery Reserve pursuant to this section are receipts that do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

OSBM shall report on any allocation disallowed under this section to the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division no later than 15 days following the disallowance. The report shall note the amount disallowed, the intended recipient of the disallowed allocation, and the specific basis on which the determination of disallowance was made.

SECTION 4.9.(d)  Guidance. – OSBM shall work with the recipient State agencies to budget receipts awarded pursuant to ARPA to allow for the tracking of such funds through either separate accounts or fund codes according to the program needs and within the parameters of the respective granting entities and applicable federal laws and regulations. State agencies shall not use funds received pursuant to ARPA for recurring purposes. Depending on the nature of the award, additional State personnel may be employed on a temporary or time‑limited basis.

SECTION 4.9.(e)  Disbursement. – OSBM shall allocate State Fiscal Recovery Fund funds to State agencies and departments upon justification from the agency or department and only as needed to implement the provisions of this act. State Fiscal Recovery Fund funds shall be allocated to nonprofit organizations on a quarterly basis unless OSBM determines that cash flow or the nature of the program being funded requires otherwise.

SECTION 4.9.(f)  Interest. – All interest earned on funds held in the State Fiscal Recovery Fund shall be transferred to the State Fiscal Recovery Reserve.

SECTION 4.9.(g)  Administration. – For administrative expenses related to administration of a provision allocating ARPA funds in this act, a State agency may, of ARPA funds allocated to it under this act, use up to the lesser of (i) the amount allowed by federal law or guidance or (ii) ten percent (10%) of ARPA funds allocated to it under this act. When utilizing the authority set forth in this subsection, a State agency shall not reduce funds earmarked in this act, or the Committee Report described in Section 43.2 of this act, for a particular local government project or non-State entity project.

SECTION 4.9.(h)  Accounting. – A State agency receiving State Fiscal Recovery Fund funds shall track such funds separately from other funds by use of either separate accounts or fund codes.

SECTION 4.9.(i)  Reports. – In addition to any report required under this act or any other law, OSBM shall provide a quarterly report to the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division, beginning October 15, 2021, detailing the use of State Fiscal Recovery Fund funds allocated under this act. The report required from OSBM under this section shall include, for the preceding quarter, the amount of funds disbursed to each State agency, State department, and nonprofit organization; the amount of funds remaining to be disbursed to each State agency, State Department, and nonprofit organization; and how the funds were used by each State agency, State department, and nonprofit organization.

SECTION 4.9.(j)  Audit. – The State Auditor shall conduct biennial preliminary financial audits and a final performance audit of the State Fiscal Recovery Fund no later than 90 days following the latest date on which expenditures may be made under applicable federal law or guidance.

SECTION 4.9.(k)  Reversion. – The funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund shall not revert at the end of each fiscal year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium but shall remain available to expend until the date set by applicable federal law or guidance.

 

TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM STATE FISCAL RECOVERY RESERVE TO STATE FISCAL RECOVERY FUND

SECTION 4.10.  The State Controller shall transfer the sum of five billion three hundred fifty‑five million six hundred twenty‑four thousand two hundred twenty‑one dollars ($5,355,624,221) for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year from the State Fiscal Recovery Reserve to the State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

 

TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM CORONAVIRUS CAPITAL PROJECTS RESERVE TO CORONAVIRUS CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND

SECTION 4.12.  The State Controller shall transfer the sum of two hundred seventy‑seven million sixty thousand eight hundred fifty‑five dollars ($277,060,855) for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Reserve, established in Section 2.3 of S.L. 2021‑25, to the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, established in Section 2.4 of S.L. 2021‑25.

 

OSBM/Additional Funds for Continuity of Services

SECTION 4.13.  Of the funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), the sum of twenty‑five million three hundred thirty‑five thousand four hundred seventy‑one dollars ($25,335,471) shall be used for State agency continuity of operation needs across State government. Expenditures incurred during the period allowed by applicable federal law and guidance are eligible for funding under this section. No funding provided under this section shall be used to establish new programs. OSBM shall provide a report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and the Fiscal Research Division no later than March 1, 2022, and quarterly thereafter, until all funds have been allocated, detailing the allocation of funds under this section. Each report shall include which State agencies received allocations, the amounts disbursed, the amount spent and which fiscal year, and for what purposes the funds were used by fund code and line‑item detail.

 

PART V. General Provisions

 

ESTABLISHING OR INCREASING FEES

SECTION 5.1.(a)  Notwithstanding G.S. 12‑3.1, an agency is not required to consult with the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations prior to establishing or increasing a fee to the level authorized or anticipated in this act.

SECTION 5.1.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 150B‑21.1A(a), an agency may adopt an emergency rule in accordance with G.S. 150B‑21.1A to establish or increase a fee as authorized by this act if the adoption of a rule would otherwise be required under Article 2A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

 

DIRECTED GRANTS TO NON‑STATE ENTITIES

SECTION 5.2.(a)  Definitions. – For purposes of this act and the Committee Report described in Section 43.2 of this act, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Directed grant. – Nonrecurring funds allocated by a State agency to a non‑State entity as directed by an act of the General Assembly.

(2)        Non‑State entity. – As defined in G.S. 143C‑1‑1.

SECTION 5.2.(b)  Requirements. – Nonrecurring funds appropriated in this act as directed grants are subject to all of the following requirements:

(1)        Directed grants are subject to the provisions of subsections (b) through (k) of G.S. 143C‑6‑23.

(2)        Directed grants of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or less may be made in a single annual payment in the discretion of the Director of the Budget. Directed grants of more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) shall be made in quarterly or monthly payments in the discretion of the Director of the Budget. A State agency administering a directed grant shall begin disbursement of funds to a non‑State entity that meets all applicable requirements as soon as practicable, but no later than 100 days after the date this act becomes law.

(3)        Beginning on the first day of a quarter following the deadline provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection and quarterly thereafter, State agencies administering directed grants shall report to the Fiscal Research Division on the status of funds disbursed for each directed grant until all funds are fully disbursed. At a minimum, the report required under this subdivision shall include updates on (i) the date of the initial contact, (ii) the date the contract was sent to the entity receiving the funds, (iii) the date the disbursing agency received the fully executed contract back from the entity, (iv) the contract execution date, and (v) the payment date.

(4)        Notwithstanding any provision of G.S. 143C‑1‑2(b) to the contrary, nonrecurring funds appropriated in this act as directed grants shall not revert until June 30, 2023.

(5)        Directed grants to nonprofit organizations are for nonsectarian, nonreligious purposes only.

SECTION 5.2.(c)  This section expires on June 30, 2023.

 

CAP STATE‑FUNDED PORTION OF NONPROFIT SALARIES

SECTION 5.3.  No more than one hundred twenty thousand dollars ($120,000) in State funds, including any interest earnings accruing from those funds, may be used for the annual salary of any individual employee of a nonprofit organization.

 

STATUTORY CONTINUING RESOLUTION/REVISE REPORTING REQUIREMENT

SECTION 5.4.(a)  G.S. 143C‑5‑4(b)(9), as amended by Section 4.3 of S.L. 2021‑25, reads as rewritten:

"(9)      Grant funds. – Notwithstanding G.S. 143C‑6‑4, State agencies may, with approval of the Director of the Budget, spend funds received from grants awarded during the current fiscal year that are for less than two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000), do not require State matching funds, and will not be used for a capital project. State agencies shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations Operations, the chairs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division within 30 days of receipt of such funds. State agencies may spend up to the greater of one percent (1%) or ten million dollars ($10,000,000) of the total amount of grants awarded during the current fiscal year to respond to an emergency with the approval of the Director of the Budget. State agencies shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations Operations, the chairs of the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget, the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division within 30 days of receipt of such funds, including specifying the total amount of grants awarded to respond to the emergency. State agencies may spend all other funds from grants awarded during the current fiscal year only with approval of the Director of the Budget and after consultation with the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations. The Office of State Budget and Management shall work with the recipient State agencies to budget grant awards according to the annual program needs and within the parameters of the respective granting entities. Depending on the nature of the award, additional State personnel may be employed on a time‑limited basis. Funds received from such grants are hereby appropriated up to the applicable allowable amount set forth in this subdivision and shall be incorporated into the authorized budget of the recipient State agency. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subdivision, no State agency may accept a grant if acceptance of the grant would obligate the State to make future expenditures relating to the program receiving the grant or would otherwise result in a financial obligation as a consequence of accepting the grant funds. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit or limit expenditures that are authorized under subdivision (1) of this subsection. For purposes of this subdivision, the term (i) "emergency" is as defined in G.S. 166A‑19.3 and (ii) "grant" means funds received from a grant that was not included in the base budget for the fiscal year in which the grant was awarded."

SECTION 5.4.(b)  This section becomes effective June 30, 2021, and applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 fiscal year.

 

REVISIONS TO BASE BUDGET DEFINITION AND RECOMMENDED STATE BUDGET

SECTION 5.5.(a)  G.S. 143C‑1‑1(d)(1c) reads as rewritten:

"(1c)    Base Budget. – That part of the recommended State budget that provides the baseline for the next biennium. The base budget for each State agency shall be the authorized budget for that agency with adjustments only for the following:

a.         Annualization of programs and positions.

b.         Reductions to adjust for items funded with nonrecurring funds during the prior fiscal biennium.

c.         Increases to adjust for nonrecurring reductions during the prior fiscal biennium.

d.         Adjustments for federal payroll tax changes.

e.         Rate increases in accordance with the terms of existing leases of real property.

f.          Adjustments to receipt projections, made in accordance with G.S. 143C‑3‑5(b)(2)c.

g.         Reconciliation of intragovernmental and intergovermental transfers.transfers that require no net General Fund increase.

h.         Adjustments for statutory appropriations and other adjustments as directed by the General Assembly.

i.          Reconciliation of salary‑related employer contributions, longevity, and special separation allowance under Article 12D of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 5.5.(b)  G.S. 143C‑3‑5 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143C‑3‑5.  Budget recommendations and budget message.

(b)        Odd‑Numbered Years. – In odd‑numbered years the budget recommendations shall include the following components:

(1)        A Recommended State Budget setting forth goals for improving the State with recommended expenditure requirements, funding sources, and performance information for each State government program and for each proposed capital improvement. The Recommended State Budget may be presented in a format chosen by the Director, except that the Recommended State Budget shall clearly distinguish program base budget requirements, program reductions, program eliminations, changes in program fund sources, program expansions, and new programs, and shall explain all proposed capital improvements in the context of the Six‑Year Capital Improvements Plan and as required by G.S. 143C‑8‑6.

(1a)      The Governor's Recommended State Budget shall include a base budget, which shall be presented pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2)        A Recommended Base Budget showing, for each budget code and purpose or program in State government, accounting detail corresponding to the Recommended State Budget.

c.         The Recommended Base Budget shall include accurate projections of receipts, expenditures, and fund balances. Estimated receipts, including tuition collected by university or community college institutions, shall be adjusted to reflect actual collections from the previous fiscal year, unless the Director recommends a change that will result in collections in the budget year that differ from prior year actuals, or the Director otherwise determines there is a more reasonable basis upon which to accurately project receipts. If receipts are projected to decrease, the corresponding expenditure shall be decreased in a like amount. Revenue and expenditure detail provided in the Budget Support Document shall be no less detailed than the two‑digit level in the North Carolina Accounting System Uniform Chart of Accounts as prescribed by the State Controller.

(c)        Even‑Numbered Years. – In even‑numbered years, the Governor may recommend changes in the enacted budget for the second year of the biennium. These recommendations shall be presented as amendments to the enacted budget and shall be incorporated in a recommended Current Operations Appropriations Act. Any recommended changes shall clearly distinguish program reductions, program eliminations, changes in program fund sources, program expansions, and new programs, and shall explain all proposed capital improvements in the context of the Six‑Year Capital Improvements Plan and as required by G.S. 143C‑8‑6. The Governor shall provide sufficient supporting documentation and accounting detail, consistent with that required by G.S. 143C‑3‑5(b), subsection (b) of this section, corresponding to the recommended amendments to the enacted budget.

…."

SECTION 5.5.(c)  This section is effective July 1, 2021, and applies beginning with the 2022‑2023 fiscal year.

 

SAVINGS RESERVE CLARIFICATION

SECTION 5.6.  G.S. 143C‑4‑2 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143C‑4‑2.  Savings Reserve.

(d)       Savings Reserve Requirement. – Each Current Operations Appropriations Act enacted by the General Assembly shall include a transfer to the Savings Reserve of the lesser of (i) fifteen percent (15%) of each fiscal year's estimated growth in State tax revenues that are deposited in the General Fund, except that if that transfer Fund or (ii) the amount that would cause the balance of the Reserve to exceed reach the recommended Savings Reserve balance developed pursuant to subsection (f) of this section then the amount transferred pursuant to this subsection shall be reduced accordingly.section.

(e)        Actual Transfer Transfers of Funds to Savings Reserve. – Each fiscal year, the Office of State Controller shall transfer to the Savings Reserve the estimated growth amount required by amount included for transfer pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. If the actual growth in State tax revenues is higher than the estimated growth used for purposes of subsection (d) of this section, the Office of State Controller shall adjust the amount of the additionally transfer to the Savings Reserve the amount necessary to achieve an amount equivalent to increase the total transfer under this subsection to fifteen percent (15%) of the actual growth.

…."

 

STATE CAPITAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE FUND/SPECIFY AMOUNTS TRANSFERRED TO FUND

SECTION 5.7.(a)  G.S. 143C‑4‑3.1 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143C‑4‑3.1.  State Capital and Infrastructure Fund.

(b)        Creation and Source of Funds. – There is established in the General Fund the The State Capital and Infrastructure Fund, hereinafter referred to as the "Fund." The Fund shall be maintained Fund (the Fund) is established as a special fund and in the General Fund to be administered by the Office of State Budget and Management to carry out the provisions of this section. With the exception of debt service obligations, appropriations from the Fund may be administered by other State agencies as deemed necessary by the Office of State Budget and Management. Interest accruing from the and investment earnings received on monies in the Fund shall be credited to the Fund. The Fund shall consist of the following sources of funding:additional sources:

(1)        One‑fourth of any unreserved fund balance, as determined on a cash basis, remaining in the General Fund at the end of each fiscal year.The following amounts transferred from the General Fund at the beginning of the applicable fiscal year:

a.         For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the sum of one billion three hundred million dollars ($1,300,000,000).

b.         For the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, the sum of one billion three hundred forty‑five million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,345,500,000).

c.         For the 2023‑2024 fiscal year, the sum of one billion three hundred ninety‑two million five hundred ninety‑two thousand five hundred dollars ($1,392,592,500).

d.         For the 2024‑2025 fiscal year, the sum of one billion four hundred forty‑one million three hundred thirty‑three thousand two hundred thirty‑eight dollars ($1,441,333,238).

e.         For the 2025‑2026 fiscal year, the sum of one billion one hundred million dollars ($1,100,000,000).

f.          For each fiscal year after the 2025‑2026 fiscal year, the transfer shall be increased three and one‑half percent (3.5%) over the amount required under this subdivision for the preceding fiscal year.

(2)        Four percent (4%) of the net State tax revenues that are deposited in the General Fund during the fiscal year.

(3)        All monies appropriated by the General Assembly for the purposes of General Fund capital improvements, as defined in G.S. 143C‑1‑1(d).

(4)        All interest and investment earnings received on monies in the Fund.

(5)        Any other funds, as directed by the General Assembly.

(c)        Funding Requirements. – Administration. – Each Current Operations Appropriations Act enacted by the General Assembly shall include (i) a transfer to the Fund of four percent (4%) of each fiscal year's estimated net State tax revenues that are deposited in the General Fund and (ii) one‑fourth of the General Fund unreserved fund balance, as determined on a cash basis, at the end of each fiscal year.

(d)       Transfer of Funds to the Fund. – Each the amount required under subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section. Each fiscal year, the Office of State Controller shall transfer to the Fund the estimated amounts required pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. Each fiscal year, the Office of State Controller shall transfer to the Fund one‑fourth of the General Fund unreserved fund balance, as determined on a cash basis, at the end of the fiscal year.this subsection.

…."

SECTION 5.7.(b)  This section is effective June 30, 2021.

 

2021 DISASTER RELIEF AND RECOVERY/MITIGATION/RESILIENCY

SECTION 5.9.(a)  Allocations. – The funds appropriated in Section 2.2(j) of this act for disaster relief, recovery, mitigation, and resiliency shall be allocated as follows:

(1)        $20,000,000 to the State Match Fund, as created in subsection (d) of this section, administered by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, to be used for State match requirements for disaster declarations by the President of the United States under the Stafford Act, P.L. 93‑288, in this State prior to July 1, 2021. These funds shall not apply to disaster declarations occasioned by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(2)        $10,000,000 to the State Match Fund, as created in subsection (d) of this section, administered by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, to be used for State match requirements for disaster declarations by the President of the United States under the Stafford Act, P.L. 93‑288, in this State that may arise from disaster declarations after July 1, 2021. These funds shall not apply to disaster declarations occasioned by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(3)        $15,000,000 to the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund, as created in subsection (f) of this section, to be administered by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management.

(4)        $15,000,000 to the Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency Fund, as created in subsection (g) of this section, to be administered by the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management.

(5)        $25,000,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management for Golden L.E.A.F. (Long‑Term Economic Advancement Foundation), Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to establish and administer the Small Project Mitigation and Recovery Program (Program) in accordance with this subdivision. The Program shall disburse grants up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to units of local government for flood mitigation and recovery projects. These funds may be used for planning or as matching funds when applicable.

(6)        $40,000,000 to the Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund within the Department of Environmental Quality for grants to local governments for coastal storm damage mitigation projects in accordance with G.S. 143‑215.73M. Of the funds allocated by this subdivision, (i) twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) shall be allocated to the Town of Oak Island as matching funds for shoreline stabilization to recover from Hurricane Isaias and (ii) two million dollars ($2,000,000) shall be allocated to the North Carolina Coastal Federation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to provide grants for living shorelines, oyster reefs, and marsh restoration in order to protect other coastal communities that are vulnerable to storm surge and tidal flooding.

(7)        $20,000,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Mitigation Services, to be used to develop a statewide Flood Resiliency Blueprint in accordance with subsection (c) of this section. The Department may use up to three percent (3%) of these funds for administrative expenses in developing the Flood Resiliency Blueprint.

(8)        $4,000,000 to the Dam Safety Emergency Fund, as established in Section 12.10 of this act, administered by the Department of Environmental Quality, for costs associated with the emergency repair or removal of dams.

(9)        $3,500,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Mitigation Services, to be used in accordance with G.S. 143‑214.11A to create one or more pilot projects addressing chronic flooding in the Stoney Creek watershed impacting businesses, roadways, and access to emergency services in Wayne County and Goldsboro. The pilot projects shall also serve as the basis for expanding natural infrastructure flood mitigation projects to additional watersheds and scaling solutions to enhance community resiliency across North Carolina. The Division may use up to three percent (3%) of these funds for administration of the pilot projects.

(10)      $1,400,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Infrastructure, to match additional federal funds allocated from the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, P.L. 116‑20, for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

(11)      $1,150,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Coastal Management, to be used to provide community resilience planning, design, and project implementation grants for the Resilient Coastal Communities Program.

(12)      $300,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Coastal Management, to create two time‑limited, full‑time positions for two years to staff the Resilient Coastal Communities Program.

(13)      $38,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture, Soil and Water Conservation Commission, for the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program, as established in subsections (k) through (o) of this section.

(14)      $1,500,000 to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to be used by the Soil and Water Conservation Commission to support the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) created pursuant to Article 73 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes. The Commission shall use the funds allocated in this subdivision to provide cost‑share funding through CCAP for the installation of stormwater best management practices by nonagricultural landowners and land users.

(15)      $15,000,000 to the North Carolina Land and Water Fund in the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Division of Land and Water Stewardship (Division) shall use the funds to provide grants to counties, municipalities, nonprofit corporations, and other State agencies for projects addressing the purposes specified in G.S. 143B‑135.234(c)(12). The Division shall develop criteria to score projects based on the ability of a project to reduce flood risks.

(16)      $1,500,000 to the Wildlife Resources Commission for the removal of the remaining abandoned and derelict vessels identified following natural disasters since 2018.

(17)      $500,000 to the Wildlife Resources Commission for the Lake Rim Hatchery Project.

(18)      $10,000,000 to the Housing Finance Agency to provide funds for a multifamily affordable housing project in Robeson County, which must be constructed at least 2 feet above base flood elevation.

(19)      $7,000,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management to provide a grant to the North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association, in accordance with subsection (i) of this section, to provide grants to policyholders in coastal areas for resilient roof replacement.

(20)      $6,000,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management to provide grants to the North Carolina Association of Regional Councils of Governments to provide technical assistance with local recovery funds.

(21)      $2,000,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management for Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina, Inc., (Habitat for Humanity) a nonprofit corporation, as a grant for a pilot program to build and repair homes for families to move out of flood‑prone areas. Habitat for Humanity may use up to two percent (2%) of these funds for administrative costs associated with the pilot program. Habitat for Humanity shall submit a report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for Governmental Operations by March 1, 2023, on the implementation of the pilot program.

(22)      $350,000 to the Office of State Budget and Management to provide a directed grant to Wayne American Legion Auxiliary Unit #011, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, to repair damage from Hurricanes Florence and Matthew.

(23)      $5,000,000 to the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency for Stoney Creek acquisitions to provide benefit throughout the watershed to the most vulnerable structures and communities.

(24)      $5,000,000 to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, for the Lumberton CSX/Floodgates project as referenced in the May 1, 2018, Lumber River Basin Flood Analysis and Mitigation Strategy Report.

(25)      $4,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the Avery County Soil & Water Conservation District to address storm damage.

(26)      $3,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the Swain County Soil & Water Conservation District for the Raven Fork stream and watershed improvement project.

(27)      $750,000 to the Department of Transportation for the Town of Princeton for drainage pipe replacement at Princeton High School.

(28)      $50,000 to the Department of Transportation to address the new waterflow issues from roadwork upstream from the Town of Aberdeen in Moore County and to repair the dam in front of the Bethesda Presbyterian Church.

(29)      $27,500 to the Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, for the Rattlesnake Branch project in Duplin County.

(30)      $32,342,000 to the Department of Public Safety to provide directed grants to the following entities in the following amounts:

a.         $5,000,000 to the City of Southport for waterfront stabilization from storm damage.

b.         $3,000,000 to the Town of Red Springs for debris removal, stream restoration, flood mitigation, and stormwater management.

c.         $2,500,000 to the Town of Hope Mills for East Patterson Street stream hardening and erosion issues.

d.         $2,000,000 to Cumberland County for stream restoration on the Methodist University campus in Fayetteville.

e.         $2,000,000 to the Town of Carolina Beach to complete the dredging of Lake Park.

f.          $2,000,000 to Carteret County for the Sugarloaf Island Mitigation Project.

g.         $1,200,000 to the City of Asheville for the West Sulphur Springs drainage system project to reduce roadway flooding.

h.         $1,000,000 to Halifax County for a flooding abatement project on Chockoyotte Creek in the City of Roanoke Rapids.

i.          $1,000,000 to Henderson County for a flood resilience project on the French Broad River at Pleasant Grove.

j.          $1,000,000 to Hyde County for the Mattamuskeet Restoration Drainage project.

k.         $1,000,000 to the North Carolina Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils for flood mitigation projects.

l.          $1,000,000 to Duplin County for the Northeast Cape Fear Riverbank Restoration Project.

m.        $950,000 to the Town of Smithfield for CSX culvert improvements at the Highway 301 location.

n.         $950,000 to the Town of Princeton for the Massey‑Holt water line collaboration with Johnston County and drainage improvement projects throughout the Town of Princeton, in partnership with the Golden L.E.A.F., Inc., a nonprofit corporation, and the Department of Transportation.

o.         $950,000 to Henderson County for the Bat Fork stream restoration and flood resilience project.

p.         $650,000 to Caldwell County for Abingdon Creek Restoration in Gamewell Town Park.

q.         $650,000 to the Town of Hope Mills for street replacement in the Woodland Hills neighborhood to repair damage from flooding and to improve groundwater drainage systems to prevent future flooding.

r.          $625,000 to the City of Mount Airy for Granite City Greenway and Ararat River Restoration.

s.          $500,000 to the Town of Hope Mills for wooded creek bed clearing in the town limits to prevent future flooding.

t.          $500,000 to Johnston County for Moccasin Swamp.

u.         $450,000 to the Town of Fair Bluff for the abatement of destroyed buildings from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

v.         $425,000 to Dare County for the purchase of eight emergency pumps.

w.        $325,000 to the Town of Pilot Mountain for Chinquapin Creek restoration.

x.         $317,000 to the Town of Laurel Park for a stream restoration project for the Laurel Green Creek.

y.         $300,000 to the City of Havelock for the Fairview Street Project to repair the culvert crossing of Joe's Branch.

z.         $300,000 to Northampton County to address culvert capacity issues in the Town of Rich Square for flood mitigation on downtown roads.

aa.        $250,000 to Carteret County for Marshallberg flood mitigation, ditch restoration, and harbor discharge project.

bb.       $250,000 to Halifax County to mitigate flooding in the Town of Scotland Neck that is endangering a local health care facility.

cc.        $250,000 to Halifax County to address downtown flooding in the Town of Littleton.

dd.       $250,000 to the City of Kings Mountain for the Kings Mountain Reservoir/Moss Lake stabilization project.

ee.        $250,000 to Martin County to support localized countywide flood mitigation strategy.

ff.        $200,000 to the Craven County Sheriff's Office for the purchase of emergency response equipment.

gg.       $200,000 to the Town of Trent Woods for the restoration of key drainage routes.

hh.       $50,000 to the Town of Vass to address drainage problems and flooding in the Sandy Ramey Keith Park to regrade the parking lot to mitigate flooding.

ii.         $50,000 to Greene County for stream gauges, engineering, and planning.

SECTION 5.9.(b)  Funds allocated by this section shall revert to the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund, as established in subsection (f) of this section, if not expended or encumbered by June 30, 2023.

SECTION 5.9.(c)  Flood Resiliency Blueprint. – Of the funds allocated in subdivision (a)(1) of this section, the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Mitigation Services (DMS), shall contract with an organization to develop a statewide Flood Resiliency Blueprint for major watersheds impacted by flooding, including, among others, the Cape Fear River and the Neuse River Basins. The watershed blueprint shall form the backbone of a State flood planning process that increases community resiliency to flooding, shall be a resource for riverine and stream management to reduce flooding, and should support the establishment and furtherance of local government stormwater maintenance programs. The blueprint shall identify the major watersheds affected by flooding and direct these funds toward the activities which are central to the creation of an actionable blueprint, namely flood risk assessment, identification of data gaps, and recommendations to reduce flood risk for each target watershed. When developing the blueprint with the organization selected, DMS shall ensure the blueprint incorporates local knowledge, community goals, projections of future flood risk, and the best available science and hydrologic modeling to create a decision tool for flood mitigation investments and strategies from local watersheds up to whole river basins. A successful blueprint should ultimately lead to a prioritized set of projects and funding strategies that the State can implement. DMS and the organization selected are encouraged to examine examples from other states such as the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan or the flood resiliency planning processes in South Carolina and Virginia. The organization shall send all necessary information to DMS on the implementation of the blueprint upon request by DMS. The organization shall submit an initial draft of the blueprint to DMS no later than December 31, 2023. DMS shall report by July 1, 2022, and annually thereafter to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and the Fiscal Research Division on the implementation of this subsection.

SECTION 5.9.(d)  Establishment of the State Match Fund. – There is established the State Match Fund (Fund) in the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management (Division). Any funds appropriated to the Fund shall remain available for expenditure as provided in this section unless directed otherwise by the General Assembly. The Division shall use the funds in the Fund for the State's share of costs associated with FEMA disaster response and recovery programs.

SECTION 5.9.(e)  Transfer of Match Funds. – The State Controller shall transfer from the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to the State Match Fund any remaining State matching funds appropriated in the following acts to be used as provided in those acts:

(1)        Section 4.1 of S.L. 2016‑124.

(2)        Section 1 of S.L. 2017‑119.

(3)        Section 5.6(b) of S.L. 2018‑5.

(4)        Section 1.1 of S.L. 2019‑250.

(5)        Section 2.6 of S.L. 2020‑97.

SECTION 5.9.(f)  Establishment of Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund; Administration. – There is established the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund (Fund) in the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management. Any funds appropriated to the Fund shall remain available for expenditure as provided in this section unless directed otherwise by the General Assembly. The Division shall administer a grant program that allows State agencies, units of local government, and nonprofit corporations to apply for funds to be used for any of the following:

(1)        Flood mitigation efforts that stabilize areas and reduce future damage.

(2)        Predevelopment assistance to provide small and underserved communities with technical assistance to identify and design shovel‑ready projects related to disaster relief and flood mitigation.

SECTION 5.9.(g)  Establishment of Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency Fund. – There is established the Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency Fund (Fund) in the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management. Any funds appropriated to the Fund shall remain available for expenditure as provided in this section unless directed otherwise by the General Assembly.

SECTION 5.9.(h)  Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency Fund Grant Program. – The Division of Emergency Management shall administer a grant program using funds appropriated to the Transportation Infrastructure Resiliency Fund, as established in subsection (g) of this section, that allows State agencies, units of local government, and nonprofit corporations to apply for funds to ensure transportation resilience against natural disasters. The Division of Emergency Management shall consult with the Department of Transportation prior to awarding grants to State agencies, units of local government, and nonprofit corporations. Funds may be used for any of, and activities consistent with, the following:

(1)        Projects that update and prepare transportation infrastructure for storms, mudslides, and flooding events taking projections of future risk into consideration.

(2)        Risk assessments for critical transportation routes, building on existing and future reports such as the I‑95 and I‑40 Flood Resilience Feasibility Study.

(3)        Creating community‑informed flood risk and vulnerability assessments that identify resilience gaps and project opportunities for transportation routes in North Carolina to help maintain vital transportation functions following flooding events.

SECTION 5.9.(i)  North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association (NCIUA) Coastal Resilient Roof Grant Pilot Program. – NCIUA shall establish the Coastal Resilient Roof Grant Pilot Program, adopt rules, and award amounts for resilient roof grant applicants under this pilot program. NCIUA must provide a match of one dollar ($1.00) in non‑State funds for one dollar ($1.00) provided in State grant funds. No eligible structure, as defined by NCIUA rules, may receive more than three thousand three hundred dollars ($3,300) in State funds under this pilot program. NCIUA may use matching funds for evaluator costs and grants but shall not use any of the funds allocated for the pilot program for administrative costs. State funds allocated for this pilot program that are not encumbered or spent by June 30, 2025, shall revert to the General Fund. NCIUA will include a report on the pilot program funded by this subsection in the annual report required by G.S. 58‑45‑65. The report shall include information on the number of grants provided, geographical distribution of grants by county, and the average insured value of the structures receiving grant funding for resiliency improvements under this program. The NCIUA will provide this portion of its annual report to the Chairs of the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee and the Fiscal Research Division. The following definitions apply in this subsection:

(1)        Coastal area. – Defined in G.S. 58‑45‑5.

(2)        Eligible expense. – Costs for the replacement or upgrade of the roof of an eligible structure when the replacement or upgrade results in the roof meeting applicable resiliency standards issued by the Institute for Business and Home Safety or another construction storm resiliency standard that the NCIUA finds to be equivalent for purposes of reduction of risk of loss to the Coastal Property Insurance Pool (Pool) established by Article 45 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes.

(3)        Eligible structure. – An eligible residential structure as defined by NCIUA rules and insured under a policy issued by the NCIUA through the Pool.

SECTION 5.9.(j)  Statutory Authority for the Coastal Resilient Roof Grant Pilot Program. – G.S. 58‑45‑15 reads as rewritten:

"§ 58‑45‑15.  Powers and duties of Association.

The Association shall, pursuant to the provisions of this Article and the plan of operation, and with respect to the insurance coverages authorized in this Article, have the power on behalf of its members:

(6)        To provide grants for mitigation of risk of loss to policyholders with premiums, funds appropriated to the Association for that purpose by the General Assembly, or funds donated or granted to the Association."

SECTION 5.9.(k)  Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program. – Chapter 139 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 6.

"Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program.

"§ 139‑65.  Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program.

(a)        Program Established. – The Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program is established. The purpose of the Program shall be to assist an eligible grantee in protecting and restoring the integrity of drainage infrastructure through routine maintenance to existing streams and drainage ways by removing blockages caused by accumulated debris or sediment, stabilization and restoration of streams and streambanks, and for rehabilitation or improvement of small watershed structural projects constructed pursuant to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954, as amended. Project engineering, permitting, and administrative costs are eligible for payment through the Program. Program funds may also be used to provide nonfederal match for related disaster recovery activities funded by the federal government. For purposes of this section, an "eligible grantee" shall include any of the following:

(1)        A Soil and Water Conservation District established under this Chapter.

(2)        A political subdivision, including a city, a county, a water or sewer authority established under Chapter 162A of the General Statutes, a metropolitan or county water or sewer district established under Chapter 162A of the General Statutes, a county service district established under Chapter 153A of the General Statutes, a municipal service district established under Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, a sanitary district established under Chapter 130A of the General Statutes, and a drainage district established under Chapter 156 of the General Statutes.

(3)        A nonprofit organization.

(b)        Program Administration. – The Soil and Water Conservation Commission shall supervise and administer the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program as provided in this section. No more than five percent (5%) of Program funding may be used for administration costs.

(c)        Program Functions. – Under the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program, the Soil and Water Conservation Commission shall do the following:

(1)        Establish criteria to allocate funds to eligible grantees.

(2)        Develop a process for soliciting and reviewing applications and for selecting applicants to participate in the Program.

(3)        Adopt temporary and permanent rules as necessary to implement this Program.

(d)       Restriction on Funded Activities. – The Commission shall ensure that debris removed from streams with funds provided under this Article are either removed from the 100‑year floodplain or processed in such a manner that the debris would not pose a risk of blockage or significant impairment of normal streamflow during a subsequent flood event. For purposes of this subsection, "100‑year floodplain" means any area subject to inundation by the one percent (1%) annual chance flood event, as indicated on the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Map prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the National Flood Insurance Program.

(e)        Report. – No later than January 31 of each year, the Division of Soil and Water Conservation of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall prepare a comprehensive report on the implementation of this section. The report shall be submitted to the Environmental Review Commission and the Fiscal Research Division as a part of the report required by G.S. 106‑850(e)."

SECTION 5.9.(l)  Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program. – G.S. 14‑234(d3) reads as rewritten:

"(d3)    Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to an application for or the receipt of a grant under the Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control created pursuant to Article 72 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, the Community Conservation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 73 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, or the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 139 of the General Statutes an exempted public program by a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Commission if the requirements of G.S. 139‑4(e) are met, and does not apply to a district supervisor of a soil and water conservation district if the requirements of G.S. 139‑8(b) are met. For purposes of this subsection, an exempted public program is any of the following:

(1)        The Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control created pursuant to Article 72 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes.

(2)        The Community Conservation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 73 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes.

(3)        The Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 139 of the General Statutes.

(4)        The Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 6 of Chapter 139 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 5.9.(m)  Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program. – G.S. 139‑4(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      In addition to the duties and powers hereinafter conferred upon the Soil and Water Conservation Commission, it shall have the following duties and powers:

(9)        To create, implement, and supervise the Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control created pursuant to Article 72 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, the Community Conservation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 73 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, and the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 5 of this Chapter.Chapter, and the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 6 of this Chapter.

(10)      To review and approve or disapprove the application of a district supervisor for a grant under the Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control, the Community Conservation Assistance Program, or the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program as provided by G.S. 139‑8(b).

…."

SECTION 5.9.(n)  Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program. – G.S. 139‑4(e) reads as rewritten:

"(e)      A member of the Commission or an organization or unit of local government of which the member is an employee, officer, or elected member of the governing body may apply for and receive a grant under the Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control, the Community Conservation Assistance Program, or the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program Program, or the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program if:

(1)        The member does not vote on the application or attempt to influence the outcome of any action on the application; and

(2)        The application is approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture."

SECTION 5.9.(o)  Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program. – G.S. 139‑8(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      A district supervisor or an organization or unit of local government of which the supervisor is an employee, officer, or elected member of the governing body may apply for and receive a grant under the Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control created pursuant to Article 72 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, the Community Conservation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 73 of Chapter 106 of the General Statutes, or the Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 5 of this Chapter Chapter, or the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program created pursuant to Article 6 of this Chapter if:

1.(1)     The district supervisor does not vote on the application or attempt to influence the outcome of any action on the application; and

2.(2)     The application is approved by the Commission."

SECTION 5.9.(p)  North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency Coordination. – Subpart D of Part 5 of Article 13 of Chapter 143B of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 143B‑1041.  Interagency coordination.

(a)        The Office shall establish an intergovernmental working group composed of representatives from the Department of Environmental Quality and other relevant State agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders to identify legislative, economic, jurisdictional, and other challenges related to stream management and flooding reduction. Beginning January 1, 2022, and biannually thereafter, the Office shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and the Fiscal Research Division regarding the findings and recommendations of the working group.

(b)        The Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety, the Director of the Division of Coastal Management of the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, or their respective designees, shall meet at least quarterly beginning January 1, 2022, in order to coordinate the grant making and technical assistance activities each agency is carrying out related to subsection (a) of this section."

SECTION 5.9.(q)  Division of Emergency Management Contracting. – G.S. 166A‑19.12 is amended by adding two new subdivisions to read:

"(24)    The Division may contract for services from vendors specializing in housing, rehabilitation, or construction on private residential structures funded by State or federal funds provided to the State as a result of a disaster declared by the President under the Stafford Act or a disaster declared by the Governor under G.S. 166A‑19.21. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to exempt the Division from other requirements of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes.

(25)      The Division may contract for services from vendors specializing in housing elevation, acquisition, demolition, and mitigation reconstruction on private residential structures to implement the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program on behalf of the State or political subdivisions. Nothing in this subdivision is intended to exempt the Division from other requirements of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 5.9.(r)  Clean Water Management Trust Fund Reporting. – G.S. 143B‑135.244 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143B‑135.244.  Clean Water Management Trust Fund: reporting requirement.

The Chair of the Board of Trustees shall report no later than December 1 each year to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources, the Environmental Review Commission, the Subcommittees of the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees with jurisdiction over natural and economic resources, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly regarding the implementation of this Part. The report shall include a list of the projects awarded grants from the Fund for the previous 12‑month period. The list shall include for each project a description of the project, the amount of the grant awarded for the project, and the total cost of the project. For projects funded for the purpose set forth in G.S. 143B‑135.234(c)(12), the report shall also include the amount of flood storage capacity enhanced or restored for each project."

SECTION 5.9.(s)  Flood Storage Capacity Project Reporting. – G.S. 143‑214.11A is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(e)      The Division shall include in the annual report required by G.S. 143‑214.13 information on projects funded under this section. The report shall include a list and description of projects funded, the amount of State funds and total budget for each project, and the amount of flood storage capacity enhanced or restored for each project."

SECTION 5.9.(t)  Allocation Reporting Requirements. – The Office of State Budget and Management shall report to the chairs of the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees and to the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the implementation of this section on a quarterly basis and shall also provide any additional reports or information requested by the Fiscal Research Division. Each report required by this section shall include information about all funds expended or encumbered pursuant to this section as of the date of the report, regardless of which State agency, federal agency, or non‑State entity administers the funds. Non‑State entities that administer or receive any funds appropriated in this section shall assist and fully cooperate with the Office of State Budget and Management in meeting the Office's obligations under this section.

SECTION 5.9.(u)  Limitation. – The Governor may not use the funds described in this section to make budget adjustments under G.S. 143C‑6‑4 or to make reallocations under G.S. 166A‑19.40(c). Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Governor from exercising the Governor's authority under these statutes with respect to funds other than those described in this section.

The Governor shall also ensure that funds allocated in this section are expended in a manner that does not adversely affect any person's or entity's eligibility for federal funds that are made available, or that are anticipated to be made available, as a result of natural disasters. The Governor shall also, to the extent practicable, avoid using State funds to cover costs that will be, or likely will be, covered by federal funds.

 

TROPICAL STORM FRED RECOVERY

SECTION 5.9A.(a)  Findings. – The General Assembly finds that Tropical Storm Fred damaged many homes, towns, properties, and crops and directly caused loss of life in the western part of the State and requires financial assistance to those affected. The Governor declared a state of emergency on August 18, 2021, due to damage caused by Tropical Storm Fred, and the President of the United States issued a major disaster declaration in accordance with the Stafford Act (P.L. 93‑288) for multiple counties in the State.

SECTION 5.9A.(b)  Limitation; Applicability. – The funds allocated in this section are to be spent in a manner consistent with the purposes as set forth in this section for relief and recovery occasioned by Tropical Storm Fred. Funds allocated in this section shall be used only in the following counties: Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey.

SECTION 5.9A.(c)  Allocations. – Of the funds appropriated in Section 2.2(j) of this act for disaster relief, recovery, mitigation, and resiliency, the sum of one hundred twenty‑four million four hundred thousand dollars ($124,400,000) shall be allocated for relief and recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Fred as follows:

(1)        $72,000,000 to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, for the following purposes:

a.         $20,000,000 for home reconstructions that are not eligible for federal assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

b.         $16,000,000 to the State Match Fund, as established in Section 5.9 of this act, for State matching funds for federal disaster assistance programs related to Tropical Storm Fred.

c.         $15,000,000 for the repair and replacement of private roads and bridges in accordance with subsection (d) of this section.

d.         $10,000,000 for a grant program to provide grants to units of local government for unmet needs related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance program in response to Tropical Storm Fred.

e.         $4,000,000 for travel trailers and short‑term housing assistance as necessary for temporary housing related to home reconstructions that are not eligible for federal disaster assistance programs.

f.          $3,000,000 for home repairs and reimbursements that are not eligible for federal disaster assistance programs.

g.         $2,000,000 for property repairs for housing facilities owned by landlords who house families displaced by Tropical Storm Fred.

h.         $1,500,000 for assistance to counties and units of local government affected by Tropical Storm Fred.

i.          $500,000 for a program to provide grants to units of local government, local emergency response agencies, and sheriffs' offices to replace emergency response equipment damaged by Tropical Storm Fred.

(2)        $50,000,000 to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the Agricultural Crop Loss Program in accordance with Section 5.9B of this act.

(3)        $1,900,000 to the Department of Transportation, Rail Division, for a grant to the Blue Ridge Southern Railroad, LLC, for recovery and repair operations related to Tropical Storm Fred.

(4)        $500,000 to the Wildlife Resources Commission to repair dams, spillways, and related structures damaged as a result of Tropical Storm Fred.

SECTION 5.9A.(d)  Private Road and Bridge Repair and Replacement Program. – The Private Road and Bridge Repair and Replacement Program (Program) is established within the Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management (Division), to disburse grants for the repair and replacement of private roads and bridges damaged or destroyed by Tropical Storm Fred. The Division shall consult with the Department of Transportation in administering the Program. The Division shall develop criteria and an application process to select private roads and bridges eligible for repair or replacement consistent with this subsection. The Division shall prioritize applications for the repair and replacement of private roads or bridges that provide the sole option for ingress and egress for (i) emergency services to a residential property that is occupied by the owner for more than six months of the calendar year, (ii) multiple residential homes, or (iii) recreation or commercial facilities.

The Division shall annually report to the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee and the Fiscal Research Division beginning on June 30, 2022, and ending on June 30, 2026, on the Program. The report shall include, at a minimum, all of the following:

(1)        The criteria used for awarding funds.

(2)        The locations of any roads or bridges replaced.

(3)        The average grant amount requested and disbursed.

(4)        The number of projects requested, declined, and funded.

(5)        The identification of unmet needs remaining at the end of each fiscal year for private road or bridge repair or replacement.

SECTION 5.9A.(e)  Reversion. – Funds allocated under this section shall revert to the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund if not expended or encumbered by November 1, 2026.

SECTION 5.9A.(f)  Receipt of Allocations. – A recipient of State funds under Section 5.9A of this act shall use best efforts and take all reasonable steps to obtain alternative funds that cover the losses or needs for which the State funds are provided, including funds from insurance policies in effect and available federal aid. State funds paid under this act are declared to be excess over funds received by a recipient from the settlement of a claim for loss or damage covered under the recipient's applicable insurance policy in effect.

SECTION 5.9A.(g)  Remittance of Funds. – If a recipient obtains alternative funds pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the recipient shall remit the funds to the State agency from which the State funds were received. A recipient is not required to remit any amount in excess of the State funds provided to the recipient under this act. The State agency shall transfer these funds to the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund. Funds deposited into the Fund under this subsection are receipts that do not constitute an "appropriation made by law," as that phrase is used in Section 7(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution.

SECTION 5.9A.(h)  Contract Requirements. – Any contract or other instrument entered into by a recipient for receipt of funds under this act shall include the requirements set forth in subsections (f) and (g) of this section.

SECTION 5.9A.(i)  Recipient Defined. – For purposes of this section, the term "recipient" means a local political subdivision of the State, a State agency, a State department, or a non‑State entity.

SECTION 5.9A.(j)  Appropriation/Federal Funds. – Funds received on or after September 1, 2021, under the federal Stafford Act (P.L. 93‑288) and other federal disaster assistance programs for State disasters as a result of Tropical Storm Fred, are appropriated in the amounts provided in the notifications of award from the federal government or any entity acting on behalf of the federal government to administer federal disaster recovery funds. The Office of State Budget and Management and affected State agencies shall report all notifications of award to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly.

SECTION 5.9A.(k)  Limitation. – The Governor may not use the funds described in this section to make budget adjustments under G.S. 143C‑6‑4 or to make reallocations under G.S. 166A‑19.40(c). Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Governor from exercising the Governor's authority under these statutes with respect to funds other than those described in this section.

The Governor shall also ensure that funds allocated in this section are expended in a manner that does not adversely affect any person's or entity's eligibility for federal funds that are made available, or that are anticipated to be made available, as a result of natural disasters. The Governor shall also, to the extent practicable, avoid using State funds to cover costs that will be, or likely will be, covered by federal funds.

SECTION 5.9A.(l)  Allocation Reporting Requirements. – The Office of State Budget and Management shall report to the chairs of the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees and to the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the implementation of this section on a quarterly basis until November 1, 2026, and shall also provide any additional reports or information requested by the Fiscal Research Division. Each report required by this section shall include information about all funds expended or encumbered pursuant to this section as of the date of the report, regardless of which State agency, federal agency, or non‑State entity administers the funds. Non‑State entities that administer or receive any funds appropriated in this section shall assist and fully cooperate with the Office of State Budget and Management in meeting the Office's obligations under this section.

 

Agricultural Crop Loss Program

SECTION 5.9B.(a)  Agricultural Crop Loss Program. – The Agricultural Crop Loss Program (Program) is established within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department). The Program shall be used to provide financial assistance to farmers affected by Tropical Storm Fred. The Department shall not use funds for administrative purposes. The Program shall expire on November 1, 2026. To be eligible for financial assistance for losses of agricultural commodities, a person must satisfy all of the following criteria:

(1)        The person experienced a verifiable loss of agricultural commodities as a result of Tropical Storm Fred, and the person's farm is located in a North Carolina county listed in subsection (b) of Section 5.9A of this act.

(2)        The agricultural commodity was planted but not harvested on or before August 17, 2021, or, for aquaculture commodities, the commodities were being raised on or before August 17, 2021.

SECTION 5.9B.(b)  Verification of Loss. – A person seeking financial assistance for losses of agricultural commodities under the Program shall submit to the Department a Form 578 on file with the USDA Farm Service Agency or a form provided by the Department for reporting acreage or plantings of crops not typically reported on Form 578, along with any other documentation deemed appropriate by the Department, on or before December 10, 2021. For nursery crops, fruit‑bearing trees and bushes, and specialty crops where the survival level is not immediately known, the Department may extend this deadline to May 1, 2022, upon written request by the person received on or before December 10, 2021, and upon approval by the Department. A person receiving assistance under this Program must provide a signed affidavit, under penalty of perjury, certifying that each fact of the loss presented by the person is accurate.

SECTION 5.9B.(c)  Eligibility. – To be eligible for financial assistance for losses of livestock or poultry, a person must first qualify for and receive payment through the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program and be a participant in a livestock or poultry indemnity program administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency.

SECTION 5.9B.(d)  Documentation. – A person seeking financial assistance for losses of livestock or poultry shall submit documentation of loss and indemnity received from the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program, along with any other documentation deemed appropriate by the Department, to the Department on or before December 10, 2021. The Department may extend this deadline to March 1, 2022, upon written request by the person received on or before December 10, 2021, and upon approval by the Department. A person receiving assistance under this Program must provide a signed affidavit, under penalty of perjury, certifying that each fact of the loss presented by the person is accurate.

SECTION 5.9B.(e)  Criteria. – The Department shall administer the financial assistance program authorized by this section in accordance with the following criteria:

(1)        In determining the payment calculation for agricultural commodities, the Department shall use a formula based on acreage, county loss estimates, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service averages, and any other measure the Department deems appropriate. Funds shall be distributed based on county averages for yields and State averages for price. Calculations shall be based on county or State averages in price, whichever the Department determines is appropriate.

(2)        The payment calculation for livestock and poultry shall be based on twelve and one‑half percent (12.5%) of the total loss reported to the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program.

(3)        The Department shall gather all claim information, except from those applicants granted a deadline extension, no later than December 10, 2021. The Department shall, as closely as possible, estimate the amount of the funds needed to be held in reserve for payments related to losses of livestock, poultry, nursery, bush, tree, and specialty crops for which losses will not be fully known or calculated. The Department shall set aside funds as it deems appropriate based on the estimated percentage of these losses.

(4)        Payments made under this Program shall be made to the person who filed the Form 578 or Department form for claims related to agricultural commodity losses or the person who received payment from the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program for claims related to livestock or poultry losses.

SECTION 5.9B.(f)  Audit. – The Department may audit the financial and other records of each recipient of funds in order to ensure that the funds are used in accordance with the requirements of this Program. The Department may require any documentation or proof it considers necessary to efficiently administer this Program, including the ownership structure of each entity and the social security numbers of each owner. In order to verify losses, the Department may require the submission of dated, signed, and continuous records. These records may include, but are not limited to, commercial receipts, settlement sheets, warehouse ledger sheets, pick records, load summaries, contemporaneous measurements, truck scale tickets, contemporaneous diaries, appraisals, ledgers of income, income statements of deposit slips, cash register tape, invoices for custom harvesting, u‑pick records, and insurance documents.

SECTION 5.9B.(g)  Expenditure of Awarded Funds. – Awarded funds shall be used for agricultural production expenses and recovery of losses due to the impacts of Tropical Storm Fred. The Department shall develop guidelines and procedures to ensure that funds are expended for the purposes allowed by this section and may require any documentation it determines necessary to verify the appropriate use of financial assistance awards, including receipts. All distributed funds are subject to federal and State income tax.

SECTION 5.9B.(h)  Refund of Award. – If the Department determines that a person who received financial assistance provided inaccurate information, then the person shall refund the entire amount of the financial assistance. If the person does not refund the appropriate amount, the North Carolina Department of Revenue shall collect the money from the person pursuant to G.S. 105‑242.

SECTION 5.9B.(i)  Definitions. – For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Agricultural commodity. – Apples, barley, corn, cotton, dry peas, flax, forage, freezing and canning peas, grain sorghum, grapes, hay, industrial hemp, native grass, nursery crops, nuts, oats, peanuts, potatoes, rye, soybeans, sunflowers, sweet corn, tobacco, tomatoes, wheat, specialty crops and other fruits and vegetables, and aquacultural species propagated or reared in a controlled or selected environment. An agricultural commodity does not include stored grain.

(2)        Livestock. – Cattle, sheep, swine, goats, farmed cervids, and bison. Livestock shall include horses, mules, or other equines only if they are used for production of agricultural commodities.

(3)        Person. – Any individual, trust, estate, partnership, receiver, association, company, limited liability company, corporation, or other entity or group.

(4)        Poultry. – Chickens, quail, or turkeys.

SECTION 5.9B.(j)  Program Reporting Requirement. – The Department shall submit a report to the Fiscal Research Division on April 1, 2022, and every six months thereafter until all funds are expended, containing, at a minimum, all of the following data:

(1)        The number of applicants by agricultural commodity, livestock, or poultry and the county in which the person incurred the verified loss.

(2)        The number and amount of grants awarded by agricultural commodity, livestock, or poultry.

(3)        The geographic distribution of the grants awarded.

(4)        The total amount of funding available to the Program, the total amount encumbered, and the total amount disbursed to date.

(5)        Any refunds made to the Program pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.

SECTION 5.9B.(k)  Reversion. – Any funds allocated to the Program not expended or encumbered by November 1, 2026, shall revert to the Disaster Relief and Mitigation Fund in accordance with Section 5.9A(e) of this act.

SECTION 5.9B.(l)  Subsections (f) through (i) of Section 5.9A of this act apply to all funds received and recipients of funds under the Program as described in this section.

 

modified Use of Coronavirus Relief Funds allocated to the north carolina senior living association and the north carolina health care facilities association for covid‑19 testing

SECTION 5.11.  Subdivision (35a) of Section 3.3 of S.L. 2020‑4, as enacted by Section 1.2 of S.L. 2020‑97, reads as rewritten:

"(35a)  $34,002,617 in nonrecurring funds to OSBM to be allocated for COVID‑19 testing, as provided in sub‑subdivisions a. and b. of this subdivision.

a.         $29,002,617 to be distributed in equal amounts to the nonprofit organizations known as NC Senior Living Association (NCSLA), NC Health Care Facilities Association (NCHCFA), and NC Assisted Living Association (NCALA) to purchase purchase COVID‑19 tests for distribution to their members, or to reimburse their members for the purchase of COVID‑19 tests that, at a minimum, have been approved for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration. NCSLA, NCHCFA, and NCALA shall use at least fifty percent (50%) of their allocated funds to purchase rapid COVID‑19 tests for distribution to their member facilities. NCSLA, NCHCFA, and NCALA shall distribute all tests funded by this allocation equally among their member facilities, free of charge, for testing facility staff, residents, and visitors. Each of the member facilities shall reserve the COVID‑19 rapid tests received under this subdivision for testing visitors who are family members or legal guardians of residents.

b.         $5,000,000 to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina (UNC), to be used to effectively mitigate the spread of COVID‑19 on UNC campuses through testing, tracing, enforcing required on‑campus isolation and quarantine, and providing COVID‑19 related health care services."

 

State Cash Management Clarification

SECTION 5.12.(a)  G.S. 147‑86.11(f) reads as rewritten:

"(f)       Disbursement Requirements. – For the disbursement of money, the statewide cash management plan shall provide at a minimum that:

(1)        Moneys deposited with the State Treasurer remain on deposit with the State Treasurer until final disbursement to the ultimate payee. If an ultimate payee is required by law to submit information for certification or verification by the State Auditor, then no disbursement may be made to that ultimate payee if the certification or verification has not been issued by the State Auditor to the State Controller.

…."

SECTION 5.12.(b)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAID EXPANSION

SECTION 5.13.(a)  There is created the Joint Legislative Committee on Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion (Committee).

SECTION 5.13.(b)  The Committee shall consist of nine members of the Senate appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and nine members of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each appoint a cochair of the Committee from among its membership.

SECTION 5.13.(c)  The purpose of the Committee is to consider various ways in which access to health care and health insurance can be improved for North Carolinians, including those individuals described in section 1902(a)(10)(A)(i)(VIII) of the Social Security Act.

SECTION 5.13.(d)  The Committee shall meet upon the call of its cochairs. A quorum of the Committee is a majority of its members. No action may be taken except by a majority vote at a meeting at which a quorum is present. The Committee, while in the discharge of its official duties, may exercise all powers provided for under G.S. 120‑19 and G.S. 120‑19.1 through G.S. 120‑19.4. Members of the Committee shall receive per diem, subsistence, and travel allowance as provided in G.S. 120‑3.1. Any expenses of the Committee shall be considered expenses incurred for the joint operation of the General Assembly.

SECTION 5.13.(e)  The Legislative Services Officer shall assign professional and clerical staff to assist the Committee in its work. The Director of Legislative Assistants of the House of Representatives and the Director of Legislative Assistants of the Senate shall assign clerical support to the Committee.

SECTION 5.13.(f)  The Committee may submit proposed legislation to the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives before the sine die adjournment of the 2021 General Assembly by filing a copy of the proposed legislation with the Office of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Committee shall terminate upon the sine die adjournment of the 2021 General Assembly.

SECTION 5.13.(g)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

Limit Harmony Requirements/Affordable Housing

SECTION 5.16.(a)  G.S. 160D‑703 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(b1)    Limitations. – For parcels where multifamily structures are an allowable use, a local government may not impose a harmony requirement for permit approval if the development contains affordable housing units for families or individuals with incomes below eighty percent (80%) of the area median income."

SECTION 5.16.(b)  This section is effective when it becomes law and applies to permit applications submitted on or after that date.

 

PART VI. Community College System

 

CC ECONOMIC IMPACTS/STUDY/GRANT FOR TARGETED PROGRAMS

SECTION 6.1.(a)  Economic Impact Study. – Of the funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to the Community Colleges System Office to be allocated to the Center for Applied Research (CFAR) at Central Piedmont Community College, CFAR shall partner with the System Office, the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents, and the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at North Carolina State University (Belk Center) to provide for studies of the overall regional economic impacts of community colleges in the State. Upon the matching funds being made available in accordance with subsection (c) of this section, CFAR shall use the sum of seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to contract with Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), an affiliate of the Strata Education Network, to conduct the studies required by this section.

SECTION 6.1.(b)  Components of the Studies. – In conducting the studies, EMSI shall evaluate labor dynamics within the State and the impact community colleges have on students and businesses within certain regions and the resulting return on investment (ROI) for taxpayers. EMSI shall also conduct an analysis of high‑demand programs in regional areas of the State, such as nursing, teacher education, and information technology. EMSI shall evaluate the ROI and the success of those programs in improving career opportunities for students as well as their impact on the labor market. As part of its analysis, EMSI shall focus on potential areas for increased investment or targeted support by the State and recommendations for future growth. CFAR, the System Office, the NC Association of Community College Presidents, and the Belk Center shall provide EMSI any data or assistance necessary to conduct the studies required by this section.

SECTION 6.1.(c)  Matching Funds. – Funds made available to CFAR pursuant to this section shall be matched on the basis of one dollar ($1.00) in funds from the John M. Belk Endowment for every one dollar ($1.00) in State funds.

SECTION 6.1.(d)  Report. – By April 15, 2022, CFAR, the System Office, the NC Association of Community College Presidents, and the Belk Center shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the results of the studies and the recommendations from the studies on areas with the greatest economic impacts for the State that warrant further expansion and focus to increase the success of students and to meet workforce and industry demands.

SECTION 6.1.(e)  Grant Program Established. – Based on the results and the recommendations from the report required under subsection (d) of this section, the State Board of Community Colleges shall establish an application process for a grant program for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year for community colleges to apply for grant funds to expand and target efforts in specific program areas that are proven to have greater economic impacts in regions of the State. The State Board shall prioritize award of the grant funds based on the findings of the studies required by this section and the potential for those programs to have the greatest impact on a geographical region or region of economic development.

 

COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAMS SERVING IDD STUDENTS

SECTION 6.2.(a)  The State Board of Community Colleges shall establish a two‑year pilot program at two community college campuses for training programs that provide opportunities for a micro‑credential or other credentials that lead to increased employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The pilot program shall offer training and educational components that include improving employability skills and provide on‑the‑job training and apprenticeships with business and industry for individuals with IDD. The goal of the pilot program shall be to inform community colleges and address cross‑departmental supports within the individual community colleges on programs for individuals with IDD related to at least the following:

(1)        Establishing best practices for providing vocational training for individuals with IDD.

(2)        Providing financial and benefits counseling.

(3)        Developing strategies on integrating assistive technology.

(4)        Maximizing access, with supports, to credential and degree programs, including micro‑credentials that are established by the State Board.

(5)        Identifying methods to increase orientation and integration of individuals with IDD into the college community to the greatest extent possible.

(6)        Determining a needs assessment, marketing, and evaluation to serve a broad array of individuals with developmental and other similar disabilities or learning challenges to assure adequate demand for new or existing programs.

SECTION 6.2.(b)  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Community Colleges System Office to support increasing program offerings for individuals with IDD, the System Office shall also add a time‑limited position for program support, provide professional development training for college advising staff to assist students with IDD for career pathway exploration and the identification of credentials leading to competitive employment, and explore funding sources to sustain programs for students with IDD.

SECTION 6.2.(c)  Beginning May 1, 2022, the Community Colleges System Office shall report each fiscal year on the funds appropriated to the System Office for the purposes of this section to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the results of the pilot program, the use of the time‑limited position, professional development training for staff, and funding sources identified for individuals with IDD to build programs at community colleges that support postsecondary trainings and certifications that enable individuals with IDD to engage in competitive, sustainable employment.

 

CC JOINT PROGRAM ENROLLMENT OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS

SECTION 6.3.(a)  G.S. 115D‑5(x) reads as rewritten:

"(x)      In addition to the evaluation of cooperative innovative high schools by the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C‑238.55, the State Board of Community Colleges, in conjunction with the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, shall evaluate the success of students participating in the Career and College Promise Program, including the College Transfer pathway and the Career and Technical Education pathway. Success shall be measured by high school retention rates, high school completion rates, high school dropout rates, certification and associate degree completion, admission to four‑year institutions, postgraduation employment in career or study‑related fields, and employer satisfaction of employees who participated in the programs. The evaluation shall also include an analysis of the cost of students participating in each of the programs within the Career and College Promise Program, including at least the following:

(1)        Total enrollment funding, the number of budgeted full‑time equivalent students, and the number of students enrolled in courses through cooperative innovative high schools, the College Transfer pathway, and the Career and Technical Education pathway.

(2)        The cost and number of waivers of tuition and registration fees provided for students enrolled in courses through cooperative innovative high schools, the College Transfer pathway, and the Career and Technical Education pathway.

(3)        Any additional costs of a student attending courses on campus if a student is not attending public school in a local school administrative unit for the majority of the student's instructional time.

The Boards shall jointly report by March 15 of each year to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly. The report shall be combined with the evaluation of cooperative innovative high schools required by G.S. 115C‑238.55, and the Community Colleges System Office shall be responsible for submitting the combined report to the Committee.report."

SECTION 6.3.(b)  G.S. 115C‑238.55 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑238.55.  Evaluation of cooperative innovative high schools.

The State Board of Education and the governing Boards shall evaluate the success of students in cooperative innovative high schools approved under this Part. Success shall be measured by high school retention rates, high school completion rates, high school dropout rates, certification and associate degree completion, admission to four‑year institutions, postgraduation employment in career or study‑related fields, and employer satisfaction of employees who participated in and graduated from the schools. The Boards shall jointly report by March 15 of each year to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the evaluation of these schools. The report shall be combined with the evaluation of and analysis of cost of students participating in the Career and College Promise Program required by G.S. 115D‑5(x), and the Community Colleges System Office shall be responsible for submitting the combined report to the Committee.report."

SECTION 6.3.(c)  This section applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 academic year.

 

CC CHILDCARE GRANT PROGRAM/REPORT

SECTION 6.4.(a)  Article 3 of Chapter 115D of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115D‑40.5.  Annual report on NC Community College Childcare Grant Program.

On December 1 of each year, the Community Colleges System Office shall report to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the administration of the North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program for the prior fiscal year. The report shall include at least the following information by each community college:

(1)        The number of applications received for grants from the program.

(2)        The amount of grant funds requested from the program.

(3)        The number of applications approved.

(4)        The total amount of grant funds awarded.

(5)        The range of the dollar amount of grant awards to individuals for child care expenses.

(6)        The types of child care utilized by students with grant funds, including before‑school and after‑school services."

SECTION 6.4.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115D‑40.5, as enacted by this act, the Community Colleges System Office shall submit an initial report on the administration of the North Carolina Community College Childcare Grant Program pursuant to G.S. 115D‑40.5 on March 1, 2022. The Community Colleges System Office shall submit its first annual report pursuant to G.S. 115D‑40.5 on December 1, 2022.

 

CAREER ACADEMIES FOR AT‑RISK STUDENTS

SECTION 6.5.(a)  Program Established. – There is established a two‑year pilot program between Cape Fear Community College (CFCC), New Hanover County Schools, and Pender County Schools to meet the needs of underserved students in seventh through ninth grade through an opportunity for extended time on CFCC's campus in various career and technical education programs. The goals of the program shall include (i) exposing students from underperforming schools and underserved populations to career training opportunities available at CFCC, (ii) guiding students toward successful career outcomes, (iii) providing support services to students, including academic tutoring, academic counseling, personal mentoring, and financial support through financial aid and scholarships, and (iv) increasing graduation and postsecondary outcomes for these students.

SECTION 6.5.(b)  Components of the Program. – CFCC, New Hanover County Schools, and Pender County Schools shall offer a summer career academy program to at‑risk students from each local school administrative unit for a total of up to 300 students in seventh through ninth grade. The career academy program shall introduce students to life on a college campus with the goal of creating a familiarity with and positive experience in the postsecondary environment. Students shall visit two career and technical education programs per day for five consecutive days for two consecutive weeks in different subject areas, such as welding, marine technology and boat building, electrical, culinary, medical assisting, public safety, arts, veterinary assisting, and chemical technology. The career academy program shall include speakers and support for financial aid and scholarship opportunities and an introduction to the Career and College Promise Program.

CFCC shall also hire career liaisons in time‑limited positions for placement in certain middle schools in New Hanover County Schools and Pender County Schools to support at‑risk students. The goal of adding career liaisons to the schools shall be to provide students with exposure to career and technical education opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them.

SECTION 6.5.(c)  Report. – CFCC, in collaboration with New Hanover County Schools and Pender County Schools, shall submit an initial report by October 1, 2022, and a final report by October 1, 2023, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the results of the pilot program and the placement of the career liaisons in schools to support at‑risk students, including the number of students who enrolled in Career and College Promise Program pathways following completion of the career academy program and other relevant student outcome data for at‑risk students.

 

NC COMMUNITY COLLEGE SHORT‑TERM WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

SECTION 6.6.(a)  Program Established. – There is established the North Carolina Community College Short‑Term Workforce Development Grant Program (Program) to be administered by the State Board of Community Colleges. The State Board shall adopt rules for the disbursement of the grants pursuant to this section.

SECTION 6.6.(b)  Programs of Study. – The State Board of Community Colleges, in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, shall determine the eligible programs of study for the Program, according to the occupations that are in the highest demand in the State. The eligible programs of study shall include programs such as architecture and construction, health sciences, information technology, electrical line worker, and manufacturing programs and may include other programs to meet local workforce needs.

SECTION 6.6.(c)  Award Amounts. – Within the funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium to the Community Colleges System Office for the Program, the State Board of Community Colleges shall award grants in an amount of up to seven hundred fifty dollars ($750.00) to students pursuing short‑term, noncredit State and industry workforce credentials. The State Board of Community Colleges shall establish criteria for initial and continuing eligibility for students. At a minimum, students shall be required to qualify as a resident for tuition purposes under the criteria set forth in G.S. 116‑143.1 and in accordance with the coordinated and centralized residency determination process administered by the State Education Assistance Authority.

SECTION 6.6.(d)  Report. – The State Board shall submit an initial report by April 1, 2022, and a final report by April 1, 2023, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division. The report shall contain, for each academic year and by programs of study, the amount of grant funds disbursed and the number of eligible students receiving funds.

 

HIGH‑COST WORKFORCE PROGRAMS START‑UP FUNDS

SECTION 6.7.(a)  Establishment of the Fund. – Of the funds appropriated to the Community Colleges System Office by this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the System Office shall establish the Fund for High‑Cost Workforce Programs (Fund). Any unexpended funds remaining in the Fund at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund but shall remain available for the purposes set forth in this section. The Fund shall be used to assist community colleges in starting new programs in high‑demand career fields that require significant start‑up funds. Only Tier 1A and Tier 1B programs offered at community colleges shall be eligible for the award of funds. The System Office shall establish an application process for community colleges to apply for awards from the Fund no later than the beginning of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year. To be eligible to receive funds, colleges shall submit to the System Office a completed application, which shall include at least the following information:

(1)        A description of the proposed new program requiring start‑up funds.

(2)        Documentation of industry demand for the program or documentation of future local, regional, or statewide employment needs that will be met by the program.

(3)        Total cash cost to start the program and maintain the program over two fiscal years.

(4)        A plan for the fiscal sustainability of the new program.

SECTION 6.7.(b)  Limitation on the Use of Funds. – A community college may only apply for the award of funds to support one new program in each fiscal year. Funds shall remain available to the community college for a period of two fiscal years. The award of funds to a community college from the Fund shall not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000).

SECTION 6.7.(c)  Matching Funds. – A community college shall be required to match a percentage of the total cash cost of the program with non‑State funds based on a college's total full‑time equivalents (FTE) according to the following:

(1)        Community colleges with a total FTE of greater than 6,500 shall be required to match fifteen percent (15%) of the cost.

(2)        Community colleges with a total FTE between 2,500 and 6,500 shall be required to match ten percent (10%) of the cost.

(3)        Community colleges with a total FTE below 2,500 shall be required to match five percent (5%) of the cost.

SECTION 6.7.(d)  Administration. – The System Office may adopt any regulations, policies, or procedures regarding the application process, use of funds, eligibility requirements, and any other rules necessary related to the administration of the Fund. The System Office may use up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) each fiscal year for administrative costs for establishing and implementing the program.

SECTION 6.7.(e)  Report. – The System Office shall submit an initial report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by December 1, 2022, and an annual report thereafter for each year the System Office provides funds to community colleges from the Fund on the programs receiving the funds, which shall include at least the following information:

(1)        The community colleges that received funds, the amount of funds, and the types of programs started.

(2)        The use of funds by community colleges receiving awards, including costs associated with student instruction, faculty salaries, instructional supplies, related instructional equipment, and accreditation costs.

(3)        Evaluation of the success of the new community college programs receiving funds.

 

RISE UP TRAINING AND CREDENTIALING PROGRAM/CIHS

SECTION 6.8.(a)  The Community Colleges System Office shall partner with the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and the Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation to implement the RISE Up credentialing program for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to teach foundational skills to students attending cooperative innovative high schools for career success in the retail industry, customer service, and sales, including inventory management and profitability, as well as supply chain warehouse, inventory, and logistics. The RISE Up credentialing program provides for all of the following: (i) opportunities for the industry to share the skills valued in job candidates and employees, (ii) valuable skills needed in any industry, particularly customer service, sales, and skills to run a business, (iii) job readiness skills, such as resume preparation, interviewing strategies, professionalism in the workplace, and soft skills, including listening and problem solving, (iv) an understanding of the retail industry and its wide variety of jobs, and (v) preparation for students for the nearly 130,000 retail establishments and more than 1,000,000 retail jobs in North Carolina.

SECTION 6.8.(b)  The RISE Up credentialing program shall be offered to students at cooperative innovative high schools through each partner community college with the opportunity for up to four different levels of the RISE Up credentials that include the following:

(1)        Retail Industry Fundamentals.

(2)        Customer Service & Sales.

(3)        Operations and Profit.

(4)        Supply Chain: Warehouse, Inventory, & Logistics.

SECTION 6.8.(c)  The System Office, in collaboration with the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association and the Retail Consumer Alliance Foundation, shall submit an initial report by October 1, 2022, and a final report by October 1, 2023, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the results of implementing the RISE Up credentialing programs at partner community colleges for students at cooperative innovative high schools, including the number of students who received credentials, by type of credential, and student outcomes related to the credentialing, such as subsequent internships or job placements.

 

WORK‑BASED LEARNING/CENTRAL PIEDMONT CC

SECTION 6.9.(a)  Of the funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium to the Community Colleges System Office to be allocated to Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), CPCC shall provide the funds each fiscal year to cover the cost of tuition and accident and liability insurance for students enrolled in one‑ and two‑credit work‑based learning (WBL) courses. CPCC shall develop and implement a plan to (i) build WBL into short‑term, one‑year certificate programs so that students gain hands‑on job experience and make connections with employers and (ii) provide opportunities for students to explore a pathway into WBL through the Career and College Promise program to earn a certificate and create transitions as future enrolled community college students for additional certificates or degrees.

CPCC shall convene a stakeholder group with representatives from community colleges across the State to generate a framework for the WBL programs that is replicable at other community colleges in a variety of employment areas aligned with local industry and business workforce needs. CPCC may use funds for outreach and marketing for WBL programs and other activities related to stakeholder group recommendations.

SECTION 6.9.(b)  Funds allocated to CPCC for the purposes of this section shall not revert to the General Fund at the end of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year but shall remain available for expenditure until June 30, 2023.

SECTION 6.9.(c)  CPCC shall submit an initial report by June 1, 2022, and a final report by June 1, 2023, to the Community Colleges System Office and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on (i) the number of students enrolled in work‑based learning courses and the number of students earning certificates, by program of study, (ii) the incorporation of WBL into certificate programs and Career and College Promise pathways, (iii) the findings and recommendations of stakeholder group meetings regarding statewide implementation of WBL programs, and (iv) the use of funds for outreach and marketing or other activities under this section.

 

EXPANSION OF ADULT LEARNER PILOT PROGRAMS

SECTION 6.10.(a)  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Community Colleges System Office for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the System Office shall allocate funds to expand five pilot initiatives at community colleges targeting adult learners to return to higher education to gain new skills, advance in the workplace, and fulfill their goals of completing a degree or credential. The pilot programs include the NC Reconnect program and other programs that focus on at least the following categories of adult learners:

(1)        Students who are age 25 years or older.

(2)        Students with varying education levels, including no high school diploma or equivalent or some community college credentials or postsecondary degree.

(3)        Students who have started postsecondary programs but dropped out before completion in the last five years.

(4)        Nontraditional students, including part‑time students, parents, or students with limited scheduling options due to work or other responsibilities.

The funds may be used to expand the pilots to other community college campuses and at the existing community college pilot sites for marketing and outreach, as well as for enrollment of students into the programs, particularly for students who have dropped out of postsecondary degree or credential programs prior to completion.

SECTION 6.10.(b)  By March 1, 2023, the System Office shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the results of the expansion of the pilot programs, including the number of students enrolled into degree and credential programs, the number of students completing a degree or credentialing program, and legislative recommendations for further expansion and the estimated cost of the programs.

 

LONGLEAF COMMITMENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE GRANT/MATCHING GRANT AND OUTREACH

SECTION 6.11.  Of the funds appropriated in this act to the Community Colleges System Office from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund for the Longleaf Commitment Community College Grant Program (Program), the System Office shall use at least five million dollars ($5,000,000) for a matching grant program to provide funds to participating community colleges to expand community colleges' outreach and student advising capacity as part of the Program. Up to one million dollars ($1,000,000) of the funds appropriated for the Program may be used for a systemwide marketing campaign. The State Education Assistance Authority shall administer the award of grants under the Program to eligible students graduating from high school at the end of the 2021‑2022 school year to cover tuition and fees at a community college for up to two years in accordance with Section 8A.5 of this act.

 

MARKETING AND OUTREACH FOR CTE AND WORK‑BASED LEARNING PROGRAMS

SECTION 6.13.(a)  Of the funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to the Community Colleges System Office, the System Office shall establish a temporary program to expand outreach and advertising efforts to raise awareness for parents and students regarding the career and technical education (CTE) programs and high‑quality work‑based learning experiences offered in high‑demand fields and careers through partnerships with community colleges, businesses, and public school units throughout the State. The System Office shall partner with public school units, as necessary.

SECTION 6.13.(b)  The System Office shall submit an initial report by April 1, 2022, and a final report by April 1, 2023, to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on activities related to outreach and marketing and any data related to student outcomes, such as students entering CTE and work‑based learning programs as a result of those activities.

 

EXPANSION OF APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES/HIGH DEMAND TRADES

SECTION 6.14.(a)  Program Established. – Of the funds appropriated by this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Community Colleges System Office, the System Office shall establish a temporary program to expand apprenticeship opportunities for high school apprentices and non‑high school apprentices between the ages of 16 and 25 by providing incentives for small businesses in high‑demand fields and careers, including, but not limited to, surveying, engineering, design, and all construction trades, as well as welding, pipe fitting, and engine mechanics. The program shall provide for small businesses to participate in apprenticeships to meet business needs, assist with financial challenges and employment demands in their local communities, and provide opportunities for apprenticeships that will lead to certifications, licensing, or an associate degree in a career field and full‑time employment. Funds for the grant program shall be used to award grants to reimburse employers for the costs associated with new apprentices within a Registered Apprenticeship with ApprenticeshipNC and for tuition, fees, and cost of books for curriculum programs and short‑term workforce credentials in accordance with this section. For the purposes of this section, a small business shall mean a business concern or other organization that (i) has no more than 500 employees or, if applicable, the size standard in number of employees established by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration for the industry in which the business concern or organization operates and (ii) is a small business concern as defined in section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632.

SECTION 6.14.(b)  Use of Funds. – The System Office shall administer the grant program established under subsection (a) of this section for applicants that are small business employers located in development tier one and development tier two areas as designated in the annual ranking performed by the Department of Commerce pursuant to G.S. 143B‑437.08 for the 2020 calendar year. The funds appropriated for the program shall be allocated by the System Office to grant recipients as follows:

(1)        Forty percent (40%) of the funds shall be allocated for apprenticeship programs for apprentices that are enrolled in curriculum degree programs.

(2)        Fifteen percent (15%) of the funds shall be allocated for apprenticeship programs for apprentices that are high school students.

(3)        The remaining funds shall be allocated for apprenticeship programs for apprentices pursuing short‑term workforce credentials.

Recipients of grants may be reimbursed for up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) each fiscal year in program expenses, including costs for purchasing program equipment and for costs associated with payroll, mentor stipends, insurance, training, uniforms, and safety equipment. For apprentices enrolled in curriculum degree programs and short‑term workforce courses, up to two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in grant funds may be used each fiscal year to cover the cost of tuition, fees, and books for apprentices enrolled at community colleges. Grant funds may also be used to cover the costs of the salary of apprentices upon matching funds being made available by a grant recipient in accordance with subsection (c) of this section. Apprentices participating in the grant program paid with matching State funds shall be limited to an hourly rate of pay of fifteen dollars ($15.00) for non‑high school students and fourteen dollars ($14.00) for high school students.

SECTION 6.14.(c)  Matching Funds for Apprentices' Salary. – Funds made available to grant recipients pursuant to this section for the salary costs of apprentices shall be matched on the basis of one dollar ($1.00) in non‑State funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in State funds.

SECTION 6.14.(d)  Time‑Limited Position. – From the funds provided to the System Office pursuant to this section, the System Office may contract for a new, time‑limited position through the deadline established for the expenditure of federal funds under federal law and guidance to coordinate and oversee deliverables, daily operations of the grant program, financial management, monitoring and accountability of budget accuracy, and the validity of disbursements.

SECTION 6.14.(e)  Report. – The System Office shall submit an initial report by October 1, 2022, and a final report by December 1, 2024, to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the grant program and the use of funds for each type of apprentice, matching funds provided by grant recipients, as well as salary data, and the amount of funds used for the time‑limited position authorized under this section.

 

NCCCS Liaison Position

SECTION 6.15.  For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the North Carolina Community College System shall reclassify one full‑time equivalent position within the System as a Community College Legislative Liaison.

 

PART VII. Public Instruction

 

FUNDS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

SECTION 7.1.  The State Board of Education shall allocate additional funds for children with disabilities on the basis of four thousand six hundred dollars ($4,600) per child for the 2021‑2022 and 2022‑2023 fiscal years. Each local school administrative unit shall receive funds for the lesser of (i) all children who are identified as children with disabilities or (ii) thirteen percent (13%) of its 2021‑2022 allocated average daily membership in the local school administrative unit. The dollar amounts allocated under this section for children with disabilities shall also be adjusted in accordance with legislative salary increments, retirement rate adjustments, and health benefit adjustments for personnel who serve children with disabilities.

 

FUNDS FOR ACADEMICALLY GIFTED CHILDREN

SECTION 7.2.  The State Board of Education shall allocate additional funds for academically or intellectually gifted children on the basis of one thousand three hundred sixty‑four dollars and seventy‑eight cents ($1,364.78) per child for fiscal years 2021‑2022 and 2022‑2023. A local school administrative unit shall receive funds for a maximum of four percent (4%) of its 2021‑2022 allocated average daily membership, regardless of the number of children identified as academically or intellectually gifted in the unit. The dollar amounts allocated under this section for academically or intellectually gifted children shall also be adjusted in accordance with legislative salary increments, retirement rate adjustments, and health benefit adjustments for personnel who serve academically or intellectually gifted children.

 

SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING IN LOW WEALTH COUNTIES

SECTION 7.3.(a)  Use of Funds for Supplemental Funding. – All funds received pursuant to this section shall be used only (i) to provide instructional positions, instructional support positions, teacher assistant positions, clerical positions, school computer technicians, instructional supplies and equipment, staff development, and textbooks and digital resources and (ii) for salary supplements for instructional personnel and instructional support personnel. Local boards of education are encouraged to use at least twenty‑five percent (25%) of the funds received pursuant to this section to improve the academic performance of children who are performing at Level I or II on either reading or mathematics end‑of‑grade tests in grades three through eight.

SECTION 7.3.(b)  Definitions. – As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Anticipated county property tax revenue availability. – The county‑adjusted property tax base multiplied by the effective State average tax rate.

(2)        Anticipated State average revenue availability per student. – The sum of all anticipated total county revenue availability divided by the average daily membership for the State.

(3)        Anticipated total county revenue availability. – The sum of the following:

a.         Anticipated county property tax revenue availability.

b.         Local sales and use taxes received by the county that are levied under Chapter 1096 of the 1967 Session Laws or under Subchapter VIII of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes.

c.         Fines and forfeitures deposited in the county school fund for the most recent year for which data are available.

(4)        Anticipated total county revenue availability per student. – The anticipated total county revenue availability for the county divided by the average daily membership of the county.

(5)        Average daily membership. – Average daily membership as defined in the North Carolina Public Schools Allotment Policy Manual adopted by the State Board of Education. If a county contains only part of a local school administrative unit, the average daily membership of that county includes all students who reside within the county and attend that local school administrative unit.

(6)        County‑adjusted property tax base. – Computed as follows:

a.         Subtract the present‑use value of agricultural land, horticultural land, and forestland in the county, as defined in G.S. 105‑277.2, from the total assessed real property valuation of the county.

b.         Adjust the resulting amount by multiplying by a weighted average of the three most recent annual sales assessment ratio studies.

c.         Add to the resulting amount the following:

1.         Present‑use value of agricultural land, horticultural land, and forestland, as defined in G.S. 105‑277.2.

2.         Value of property of public service companies, determined in accordance with Article 23 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes.

3.         Personal property value for the county.

(7)        County‑adjusted property tax base per square mile. – The county‑adjusted property tax base divided by the number of square miles of land area in the county.

(8)        County wealth as a percentage of State average wealth. – Computed as follows:

a.         Compute the percentage that the county per capita income is of the State per capita income and weight the resulting percentage by a factor of five‑tenths.

b.         Compute the percentage that the anticipated total county revenue availability per student is of the anticipated State average revenue availability per student and weight the resulting percentage by a factor of four‑tenths.

c.         Compute the percentage that the county‑adjusted property tax base per square mile is of the State‑adjusted property tax base per square mile and weight the resulting percentage by a factor of one‑tenth.

d.         Add the three weighted percentages to derive the county wealth as a percentage of the State average wealth.

(9)        Effective county tax rate. – The actual county tax rate multiplied by a weighted average of the three most recent annual sales assessment ratio studies.

(10)      Effective State average tax rate. – The average of effective county tax rates for all counties.

(11)      Local current expense funds. – The most recent county current expense appropriations to public schools, as reported by local boards of education in the audit report filed with the Secretary of the Local Government Commission pursuant to G.S. 115C‑447.

(12)      Per capita income. – The average for the most recent three years for which data are available of the per capita income according to the most recent report of the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, including any reported modifications for prior years as outlined in the most recent report.

(13)      Sales assessment ratio studies. – Sales assessment ratio studies performed by the Department of Revenue under G.S. 105‑289(h).

(14)      State average adjusted property tax base per square mile. – The sum of the county‑adjusted property tax bases for all counties divided by the number of square miles of land area in the State.

(15)      State average current expense appropriations per student. – The most recent State total of county current expense appropriations to public schools, as reported by local boards of education in the audit report filed with the Secretary of the Local Government Commission pursuant to G.S. 115C‑447.

(16)      Supplant. – To decrease local per student current expense appropriations from one fiscal year to the next fiscal year.

(17)      Weighted average of the three most recent annual sales assessment ratio studies. – The weighted average of the three most recent annual sales assessment ratio studies in the most recent years for which county current expense appropriations and adjusted property tax valuations are available. If real property in a county has been revalued one year prior to the most recent sales assessment ratio study, a weighted average of the two most recent sales assessment ratios shall be used. If property has been revalued the year of the most recent sales assessment ratio study, the sales assessment ratio for the year of revaluation shall be used.

SECTION 7.3.(c)  Eligibility for Funds. – Except as provided in subsection (g) of this section, the State Board of Education shall allocate these funds to local school administrative units located in whole or in part in counties in which the county wealth as a percentage of the State average wealth is less than one hundred percent (100%).

SECTION 7.3.(d)  Allocation of Funds. – Except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the amount received per average daily membership for a county shall be the difference between the State average current expense appropriations per student and the current expense appropriations per student that the county could provide given the county's wealth and an average effort to fund public schools. To derive the current expense appropriations per student that the county could be able to provide given the county's wealth and an average effort to fund public schools, multiply the county's wealth as a percentage of State average wealth by the State average current expense appropriations per student. The funds for the local school administrative units located in whole or in part in the county shall be allocated to each local school administrative unit located in whole or in part in the county based on the average daily membership of the county's students in the school units. If the funds appropriated for supplemental funding are not adequate to fund the formula fully, each local school administrative unit shall receive a pro rata share of the funds appropriated for supplemental funding.

SECTION 7.3.(e)  Formula for Distribution of Supplemental Funding Pursuant to this Section Only. – The formula in this section is solely a basis for distribution of supplemental funding for low‑wealth counties and is not intended to reflect any measure of the adequacy of the educational program or funding for public schools. The formula is also not intended to reflect any commitment by the General Assembly to appropriate any additional supplemental funds for low‑wealth counties.

SECTION 7.3.(f)  Minimum Effort Required. – A county shall receive full funding under this section if the county (i) maintains an effective county tax rate that is at least one hundred percent (100%) of the effective State average tax rate in the most recent year for which data are available or (ii) maintains a county appropriation per student to the school local current expense fund of at least one hundred percent (100%) of the current expense appropriations per student to the school local current expense fund that the county could provide given the county's wealth and an average effort to fund public schools. A county that maintains a county appropriation per student to the school local current expense fund of less than one hundred percent (100%) of the current expense appropriations per student to the school local current expense fund that the county could provide given the county's wealth and an average effort to fund public schools shall receive funding under this section at the same percentage that the county's appropriation per student to the school local current expense fund is of the current expense appropriations per student to the school local current expense fund that the county could provide given the county's wealth and an average effort to fund public schools.

SECTION 7.3.(g)  Nonsupplant Requirement. – A county in which a local school administrative unit receives funds under this section shall use the funds to supplement local current expense funds and shall not supplant local current expense funds. For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the State Board of Education shall not allocate funds under this section to a county found to have used these funds to supplant local per student current expense funds. The State Board of Education shall make a finding that a county has used these funds to supplant local current expense funds in the prior year, or the year for which the most recent data are available, if all of the following criteria apply:

(1)        The current expense appropriations per student of the county for the current year is less than ninety‑five percent (95%) of the average of local current expense appropriations per student for the three prior fiscal years.

(2)        The county cannot show (i) that it has remedied the deficiency in funding or (ii) that extraordinary circumstances caused the county to supplant local current expense funds with funds allocated under this section.

The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to implement the requirements of this subsection.

SECTION 7.3.(h)  Counties Containing a Base of the Armed Forces. – Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, counties containing a base of the Armed Forces of the United States that have an average daily membership of more than 17,000 students shall receive whichever is the higher amount in each fiscal year as follows: either the amount of supplemental funding the county received as a low‑wealth county in the 2012‑2013 fiscal year or the amount of supplemental funding the county is eligible to receive as a low‑wealth county pursuant to the formula for distribution of supplemental funding under the other provisions of this section.

SECTION 7.3.(i)  Funds for EVAAS Data. – Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, local school administrative units may utilize funds allocated under this section to purchase services that allow for extraction of data from the Education Value‑Added Assessment System (EVAAS).

SECTION 7.3.(j)  Reports. – For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the State Board of Education shall report to the Fiscal Research Division prior to May 15 of each year if it determines that counties have supplanted funds.

SECTION 7.3.(k)  Department of Revenue Reports. – The Department of Revenue shall provide to the Department of Public Instruction a preliminary report for the current fiscal year of the assessed value of the property tax base for each county prior to March 1 of each year and a final report prior to May 1 of each year. The reports shall include for each county the annual sales assessment ratio and the taxable values of (i) total real property, (ii) the portion of total real property represented by the present‑use value of agricultural land, horticultural land, and forestland, as defined in G.S. 105‑277.2, (iii) property of public service companies determined in accordance with Article 23 of Chapter 105 of the General Statutes, and (iv) personal property.

 

SMALL COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING

SECTION 7.4.(a)  Allotment Schedule for the 2021‑2023 Fiscal Biennium. – Except as otherwise provided in subsection (d) of this section, each eligible county school administrative unit shall receive a dollar allotment according to the following schedule:

Allotted ADM                             Small County Allotment

                              0‑1,300                                       $1,820,000

                       1,301‑1,700                                       $1,548,700

                       1,701‑2,000                                       $1,600,000

                       2,001‑2,300                                       $1,560,000

                       2,301‑2,600                                       $1,470,000

                       2,601‑2,800                                       $1,498,000

                       2,801‑3,300                                       $1,548,000

SECTION 7.4.(b)  Phase‑Out Provision for the 2021‑2022 Fiscal Year. – If a local school administrative unit becomes ineligible for funding under the schedule in subsection (a) of this section in the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, funding for that unit shall be phased out over a five‑year period. Funding for such local school administrative units shall be reduced in equal increments in each of the five years after the unit becomes ineligible. Funding shall be eliminated in the fifth fiscal year after the school administrative unit becomes ineligible.

Allotments for eligible local school administrative units under this subsection shall not be reduced by more than twenty percent (20%) of the amount received in fiscal year 2020‑2021 in any fiscal year. A local school administrative unit shall not become ineligible for funding if either the highest of the first two months' total projected average daily membership for the current year or the higher of the first two months' total prior year average daily membership would otherwise have made the unit eligible for funds under the schedule in subsection (a) of this section.

SECTION 7.4.(c)  Phase‑Out Provision for the 2022‑2023 Fiscal Year. – If a local school administrative unit becomes ineligible for funding under the schedule in subsection (a) of this section in the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, funding for that unit shall be phased out over a five‑year period. Funding for such local school administrative units shall be reduced in equal increments in each of the five years after the unit becomes ineligible. Funding shall be eliminated in the fifth fiscal year after the local school administrative unit becomes ineligible.

Allotments for eligible local school administrative units under this subsection shall not be reduced by more than twenty percent (20%) of the amount received in fiscal year 2021‑2022 in any fiscal year. A local school administrative unit shall not become ineligible for funding if either the highest of the first two months' total projected average daily membership for the current year or the higher of the first two months' total prior year average daily membership would otherwise have made the unit eligible for funds under the schedule in subsection (a) of this section.

SECTION 7.4.(d)  Nonsupplant Requirement for the 2021‑2023 Fiscal Biennium. – A county in which a local school administrative unit receives funds under this section shall use the funds to supplement local current expense funds and shall not supplant local current expense funds. For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the State Board of Education shall not allocate funds under this section to a county found to have used these funds to supplant local per student current expense funds. The State Board of Education shall make a finding that a county has used these funds to supplant local current expense funds in the prior year or the year for which the most recent data are available, if all of the following criteria apply:

(1)        The current expense appropriation per student of the county for the current year is less than ninety‑five percent (95%) of the average of local current expense appropriation per student for the three prior fiscal years.

(2)        The county cannot show (i) that it has remedied the deficiency in funding or (ii) that extraordinary circumstances caused the county to supplant local current expense funds with funds allocated under this section.

The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to implement the requirements of this subsection.

SECTION 7.4.(e)  Reports. – For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the State Board of Education shall report to the Fiscal Research Division prior to May 15 of each fiscal year if it determines that counties have supplanted funds.

SECTION 7.4.(f)  Use of Funds. – Local boards of education are encouraged to use at least twenty percent (20%) of the funds they receive pursuant to this section to improve the academic performance of children who are performing at Level I or II on either reading or mathematics end‑of‑grade tests in grades three through eight.

Local school administrative units may also utilize funds allocated under this section to purchase services that allow for extraction of data from the Education Value‑Added Assessment System (EVAAS).

 

DISADVANTAGED STUDENT SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDING (DSSF)

SECTION 7.5.(a)  Funds appropriated in this act for disadvantaged student supplemental funding shall be used, consistent with the policies and procedures adopted by the State Board of Education, only to do the following:

(1)        Provide instructional positions or instructional support positions.

(2)        Provide professional development.

(3)        Provide intensive in‑school or after‑school remediation, or both.

(4)        Purchase diagnostic software and progress‑monitoring tools.

(5)        Provide funds for teacher bonuses and supplements. The State Board of Education shall set a maximum percentage of the funds that may be used for this purpose.

The State Board of Education may require local school administrative units receiving funding under the Disadvantaged Student Supplemental Fund to purchase the Education Value‑Added Assessment System (EVAAS) in order to provide in‑depth analysis of student performance and help identify strategies for improving student achievement. This data shall be used exclusively for instructional and curriculum decisions made in the best interest of children and for professional development for their teachers and administrators.

SECTION 7.5.(b)  Disadvantaged student supplemental funding (DSSF) shall be allotted to a local school administrative unit based on (i) the unit's eligible DSSF population and (ii) the difference between a teacher‑to‑student ratio of 1:21 and the following teacher‑to‑student ratios:

(1)        For counties with wealth greater than ninety percent (90%) of the statewide average, a ratio of 1:19.9.

(2)        For counties with wealth not less than eighty percent (80%) and not greater than ninety percent (90%) of the statewide average, a ratio of 1:19.4.

(3)        For counties with wealth less than eighty percent (80%) of the statewide average, a ratio of 1:19.1.

(4)        For local school administrative units that received DSSF funds in fiscal year 2005‑2006, a ratio of 1:16. These local school administrative units shall receive no less than the DSSF amount allotted in fiscal year 2006‑2007.

For the purpose of this subsection, wealth shall be calculated under the low‑wealth supplemental formula as provided for in this act.

SECTION 7.5.(c)  If a local school administrative unit's wealth increases to a level that adversely affects the unit's disadvantaged student supplemental funding (DSSF) allotment ratio, the DSSF allotment for that unit shall be maintained at the prior year level for one additional fiscal year.

 

SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS ALLOTMENT

SECTION 7.6.(a)  Article 21 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑316.5.  School psychologists allotment.

To the extent funds are made available, the State Board of Education shall establish a funding allotment for school psychologist positions. The State Board is authorized to adopt rules for the allocation of school psychologist positions pursuant to this allotment. Rules adopted by the State Board pursuant to this section shall include, at a minimum, the following requirements:

(1)        School psychologist positions are allocated on the basis of average daily membership.

(2)        Each local school administrative unit receives sufficient funding for at least one school psychologist position in accordance with G.S. 115C‑47(67)."

SECTION 7.6.(b)  G.S. 115C‑105.25(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(13)    No positions shall be transferred out of the allocation for school psychologists except as provided in this subdivision. Positions allocated for school psychologists may be converted to dollar equivalents for contracted services directly related to school psychology. These positions shall be converted at the minimum salary for school psychologists on the "A" Teachers Salary Schedule."

SECTION 7.6.(c)  G.S. 115C‑47 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(67)    To Provide at Least One School Psychologist. – Local boards of education shall ensure that each local school administrative unit employs at least one full‑time, permanent school psychologist."

SECTION 7.6.(d)  Subsection (c) of this section applies beginning with the 2022‑2023 school year. Except as otherwise provided, this section applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year.

 

SCHOOL HEALTH SUPPORT PERSONNEL PROFESSIONAL ENTRY REPORT

SECTION 7.7.(a)  No later than May 15, 2022, the State Board of Education shall study and report the following to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division:

(1)        Policies, practices, standards, and curriculum adopted or implemented, as appropriate, by the State Board of Education, the Department of Public Instruction, educator preparation programs, and public school units for persons to receive training, licensure, and employment as school health support personnel in public school units.

(2)        Barriers persons face when entering each school health support profession because of the policies, practices, standards, and curriculum identified in subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3)        Recommendations and any actions already taken to (i) reduce and eliminate the barriers to entry identified in subdivision (2) of this subsection and (ii) improve the number and quality of school health support personnel employed in public school units.

SECTION 7.7.(b)  For purposes of this section, the term "school health support personnel" refers to school psychologists, school counselors, school nurses, and school social workers.

 

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION REORGANIZATION AUTHORITY

SECTION 7.8.(a)  For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the Department of Public Instruction shall reclassify at least the following positions within the Department:

(1)        Seven full‑time equivalent positions to support the Science of Reading and the North Carolina Read to Achieve Program, as amended by the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021, S.L. 2021‑8.

(2)        One full‑time equivalent position to serve as a full‑time recruitment and retention coordinator to increase the number of school psychologists in public school units with a demonstrated need that is difficult to meet.

SECTION 7.8.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 143C‑6‑4, for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the Department of Public Instruction may, after consultation with the Office of State Budget and Management and the Fiscal Research Division, reorganize the Department, realign fund structures, or both, if necessary, to do any of the following:

(1)        Accommodate changes in allowable expenditures of indirect costs associated with the administration of federal grants.

(2)        Implement other changes necessary to improve the efficiency of the Department.

SECTION 7.8.(c)  Consultation shall occur prior to requesting budgetary and personnel changes through the budget revision process provided in this section. The Department of Public Instruction shall provide all of the following as part of the consultation process:

(1)        A current organization chart and a list of affected funds.

(2)        The proposed organization chart and a list of affected funds clearly identifying the changes for the Department.

The Department shall report to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on any reorganization, including any movement of positions and funds between fund codes on a recurring basis.

SECTION 7.8.(d)  In making the changes identified in subsection (b) of this section, the Department of Public Instruction shall not do either of the following:

(1)        Reduce funding for any of the following:

a.         The State Public School Fund, including for the following residential schools:

1.         The Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.

2.         The North Carolina School for the Deaf.

3.         The Governor Morehead School.

b.         Any budget expansion item funded by an appropriation to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium.

(2)        Transfer from or reduce funding or positions for any of the following:

a.         Communities in Schools of North Carolina, Inc.

b.         Teach for America, Inc.

c.         BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Inc.

d.         The Excellent Public Schools Act, Read to Achieve Program, initially established under Section 7A.1 of S.L. 2012‑142.

e.         The North Carolina School Connectivity Program.

f.          The North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

g.         The North Carolina Innovative School District.

h.         The Schools That Lead Program.

i.          The Center for Safer Schools.

 

REPORT ON K‑12 COMPUTER SCIENCE DATA

SECTION 7.9.(a)  G.S. 115C‑12 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(48)    Computer Science Reporting. – The State Board of Education shall report annually by November 15 to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education on the following data related to computer science participation. For each item, the report shall include (i) statewide data for the current school year, and the four years prior when data is available, to establish trends in computer science instruction and (ii) data for the current school year for each public school unit, disaggregated by school within that unit:

a.         The number of teachers employed to teach computational thinking and computer science.

b.         The statewide courses and local elective courses offered in computer science and computational thinking, and the number of students enrolled in each of those courses. For public school units, the report shall indicate when courses are offered on a semester basis.

c.         The number of students enrolled in computer science and computational thinking courses by grade level.

d.         For sub‑subdivisions b. and c. of this subdivision, the report shall also include information on enrollment numbers by the following subgroups:

1.         Economically disadvantaged students.

2.         Students from major racial and ethnic groups.

3.         Students by gender.

4.         Children with disabilities.

5.         English learners."

SECTION 7.9.(b)  G.S. 115C‑47 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(66)    Computer Science Reporting. – A local board of education shall annually report the information required by G.S. 115C‑12(48) to the State Board of Education, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education no later than September 15."

SECTION 7.9.(c)  G.S. 115C‑75.9 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(o)      Computer Science Reporting. – An innovative school shall annually report the information required by G.S. 115C‑12(48) to the State Board of Education, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education no later than September 15."

SECTION 7.9.(d)  G.S. 115C‑218.75 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(i)       A charter school shall annually report the information required by G.S. 115C‑12(48) to the State Board of Education, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education no later than September 15."

SECTION 7.9.(e)  G.S. 115C‑238.66 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(17)    Computer science reporting. – A regional school shall annually report the information required by G.S. 115C‑12(48) to the State Board of Education, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education no later than September 15."

SECTION 7.9.(f)  G.S. 116‑239.8(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(20)    Computer science reporting. – A laboratory school shall annually report the information required by G.S. 115C‑12(48) to the State Board of Education, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education no later than September 15."

SECTION 7.9.(g)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑12(48), 115C‑47(66), 115C‑75.9(o), 115C‑218.75(i), 115C‑238.66(17), and 116‑239.8(b)(20), as enacted by this section, the following shall apply:

(1)        The State Board of Education shall submit its initial report pursuant to G.S. 115C‑12(48) no later than March 15, 2022.

(2)        Public school units shall submit their initial reports pursuant to G.S. 115C‑47(66), 115C‑75.9(o), 115C‑218.75(i), 115C‑238.66(17), and 116‑239.8(b)(20) no later than January 15, 2022.

 

INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL REPORT

SECTION 7.10.(a)  No later than March 15, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Fiscal Research Division, shall survey each local school administrative unit on the use of funds for instructional support personnel position categories from the 2020‑2021 fiscal year and report the results of its survey to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education. The Department shall also incorporate the results of its survey into its annual expenditure report for the 2020‑2021 fiscal year as required pursuant to G.S. 115C‑105.25(c). The results of the survey shall be organized on a statewide basis and by local school administrative unit for each instructional support personnel position category. The results of the survey shall include at least the following information:

(1)        For each position category:

a.         Number of persons employed in that position category.

b.         Total State and non‑State funds and total full‑time equivalent positions allocated for that position category.

c.         Average salary for that position category.

d.         The percentage of total funds and total full‑time equivalent positions that are made up of each of the following:

1.         State funds, disaggregated by each State‑funded allotment and identified by program report code.

2.         Federal funds, disaggregated and identified by program report code.

3.         Local funds.

e.         For each funding source identified in sub‑subdivision d. of this subdivision, the percentage of those funds and the number of full‑time equivalent positions that were used for contracted services.

(2)        For each allotment transfer that was used to fund contracted services, all of the following information:

a.         The amount of the transfer.

b.         The allotment category from which and into which the funds were transferred, identified by program report code.

c.         The educational priorities that necessitated the transfer.

(3)        For funds provided for the psychologist position category that were used for contracted services, the specific services provided.

SECTION 7.10.(b)  For purposes of this section, the term "instructional support personnel position categories" refers to all positions identified by the Department of Public Instruction as instructional support personnel, including at least the following:

(1)        Alternative and remedial services personnel.

(2)        Audiologists.

(3)        Career and Technical Education services personnel.

(4)        Career development counselors.

(5)        Full‑time mentors.

(6)        Guidance counselors.

(7)        Instructional coaches.

(8)        Instructional technology services personnel.

(9)        Lead teacher services personnel.

(10)      Media services personnel.

(11)      Nurses.

(12)      Other personnel. The Department shall identify the title and duties of each position classified in this category.

(13)      Psychologists.

(14)      Social workers.

(15)      Special population services personnel.

(16)      Speech‑language pathologists.

 

SCHOOLS THAT LEAD PROGRAM

SECTION 7.11.(a)  Program; Purpose. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the Schools That Lead Program (Program), the Department shall contract with Schools That Lead, Inc., to provide professional development to teachers and principals in up to 75 schools, beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year and ending in the 2025‑2026 school year. The selected schools shall be charter schools or schools under the authority of a local school administrative unit. Professional development services shall be offered to teachers and principals in kindergarten through grade 12. The Superintendent of Public Instruction, in consultation with Schools That Lead, Inc., shall determine which schools are eligible to participate in the Program. At a minimum, the Program shall offer services to three cohorts of schools, as follows:

(1)        High schools working to increase on‑time graduation.

(2)        Middle schools working to prepare students to succeed in high school by reducing the likelihood of retention in the ninth grade for multiple school years.

(3)        Elementary schools working to reduce the number of students with early warning indicators of course failures, absences, and discipline.

SECTION 7.11.(b)  Evaluation. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department by this act for the Program, the Department shall use up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to contract with an independent research organization to measure the impacts of the Program on student outcomes, including, but not limited to, (i) on‑time graduation in high school, (ii) ninth grade retention rates, and (iii) course failures, absences, and discipline in elementary school. The independent research organization shall report its interim findings to the Department no later than June 30, starting in 2023, and shall submit a final report no later than June 30, 2027.

SECTION 7.11.(c)  Report. – The Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with Schools That Lead, Inc., shall submit a report on the impacts of the Program authorized by subsection (a) of this section, including, but not limited to, an accounting of expenditures, school performance data, principal performance data, teacher performance data, and student outcome data, beginning October 1, 2023, and continuing each year thereafter until October 1, 2027, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division. The October 1, 2027, report shall include a summary and copy of the final report provided by the independent research organization pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

 

PERMIT USE OF SPECIAL STATE RESERVE FUND FOR TRANSPORTATION/ESTABLISH TRANSPORTATION RESERVE FUND FOR HOMELESS AND FOSTER CHILDREN

SECTION 7.12.(a)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law or policy to the contrary, in addition to the purposes for which funds in the Special State Reserve Fund (SSRF) for children with disabilities are used, beginning with the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the SSRF may also be used to cover extraordinary transportation costs for high‑needs children with disabilities. The Department of Public Instruction shall provide an application for local school administrative units and charter schools to apply for extraordinary transportation funds and may provide additional eligibility guidelines not inconsistent with this section. SSRF transportation funds shall be awarded to qualifying local school administrative units or charter schools consistent with the following:

(1)        In determining extraordinary transportation costs, the Department shall consider total prior‑year transportation expenditures for high‑needs children with disabilities, including expenditures from local funds and all other funding sources, as a proportion of total expenditures.

(2)        Applicants with highest extraordinary transportation costs shall receive highest priority in the award of grant funds.

(3)        Funds may be awarded during the initial year of a high‑needs student's enrollment in the local school administrative unit or charter school or in subsequent years of the student's enrollment.

SECTION 7.12.(b)  There is established the Transportation Reserve Fund for Homeless and Foster Children to provide for a grant program to cover extraordinary school transportation costs for homeless and foster children beginning with the 2021‑2022 fiscal year. The Department of Public Instruction shall provide an application process for local school administrative units and charter schools to apply for funds to cover extraordinary transportation costs for qualifying students. The Department shall establish eligibility guidelines and shall award funds consistent with the following requirements:

(1)        In determining extraordinary transportation costs, the Department shall consider total prior‑year transportation expenditures for homeless and foster children, including expenditures from local funds and all other funding sources, as a proportion of total expenditures.

(2)        Priority shall be given to applicants in proportion to the extent that their applications and prior‑year expenditures demonstrate use of available federal funds to cover the cost of transporting homeless and foster children.

(3)        Awards shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of extraordinary transportation costs as determined pursuant to this subsection.

For the purposes of this subsection, "homeless" is defined in accordance with the definition in the federal McKinney‑Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

SECTION 7.12.(c)  The Department of Public Instruction shall submit a report by March 15 of each year to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the use of funds appropriated to the Transportation Reserve Fund for Homeless and Foster Children pursuant to this act using data collected from the prior school year. The report shall include at least the following:

(1)        A list of local school administrative units receiving funds from this section.

(2)        The amount of funds applied for by each local school administrative unit.

(3)        The amount of funds received by each local school administrative unit.

(4)        How the funds were spent by each local school administrative unit, including the number of students transported and the locations between which the students were transported.

(5)        Any other information the Department of Public Instruction deems relevant to this section.

 

ELIMINATE INNOVATION ZONE GRANTS

SECTION 7.13.(a)  The caption of Article 7A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes reads as rewritten:

"Article 7A.

"North Carolina Innovative School District and Innovation Zones.District."

SECTION 7.13.(b)  G.S. 115C‑75.13 is repealed.

SECTION 7.13.(c)  Section 6 of S.L. 2016‑110, as amended by Section 7.26E(e) of S.L. 2017‑57 and Section 2.13 of S.L. 2018‑97, is repealed.

 

TRANSITION FROM THE INNOVATIVE SCHOOL DISTRICT MODEL

SECTION 7.14.(a)  Study Models for Effective Intervention and Assistance to Low‑Performing Schools. – The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall study the factors described in this subsection and report on recommendations and suggested legislative changes to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee no later than February 15, 2022, for reforms to provide effective intervention and assistance for low‑performing schools. The report shall include the following:

(1)        Current initiatives to support low‑performing schools and continually low‑performing schools using federal funding provided to assist with the impacts of COVID‑19.

(2)        Recommendations on research‑based models for meaningful intervention and assistance to low‑performing and continually low‑performing schools to facilitate long‑term improvement and success in those schools.

(3)        Alignment of requirements in Chapter 115C of the General Statutes for identification and transformation of low‑performing and continually low‑performing schools, including Part 3 of Article 8B of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, with other reform efforts in State and federal law, to ensure a comprehensive and efficient approach to support and improve those schools that does not create redundancies.

SECTION 7.14.(b)  End Selection for the Innovative School District. – Notwithstanding Article 7A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, the State Board of Education shall not select any additional schools for supervision under the North Carolina Innovative School District.

SECTION 7.14.(c)  G.S. 115C‑75.5 is repealed.

SECTION 7.14.(d)  Section 1(c) of S.L. 2019‑248, as amended by Section 2.6(b) of S.L. 2020‑3, is repealed.

SECTION 7.14.(e)  Section 1(d) of S.L. 2019‑248 is repealed.

SECTION 7.14.(f)  Transition From the Innovative School District Model. – Article 7A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is repealed.

SECTION 7.14.(g)  G.S. 115C‑5(3a)d. reads as rewritten:

"d.       For a school operated under Article 7A and Article 9C of this Chapter, the State Board of Education."

SECTION 7.14.(h)  G.S. 115C‑5(7a)d. reads as rewritten:

"d.       A school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by one of the following:

1.         The State Board of Education, including schools operated under Article 7A and Article 9C of this Chapter.

2.         The University of North Carolina under Article 29A of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 7.14.(i)  G.S. 115C‑105.37A(d) is repealed.

SECTION 7.14.(j)  G.S. 115C‑105.51(g)(2) reads as rewritten:

"(2)      A school under the control of the State Board of Education, including schools operated under Article 7A and Article 9C of this Chapter."

SECTION 7.14.(k)  G.S. 115C‑105.60(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a)      Definition. – For purposes of this section, the term "qualifying public school unit" refers to a local school administrative unit, regional school, innovative school, laboratory school, or charter school."

SECTION 7.14.(l)  G.S. 115C‑321(a)(5) is repealed.

SECTION 7.14.(m)  G.S. 115C‑376.5(a)(1) reads as rewritten:

"(1)      K‑12 school unit. – A local school administrative unit, a charter school, a regional school, an innovative school, or a laboratory school."

SECTION 7.14.(n)  G.S. 115C‑429(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a)      Upon receiving the budget from the superintendent and following the public hearing authorized by G.S. 115C‑428(b), if one is held, the board of education shall consider the budget, make such changes therein as it deems advisable, and submit the entire budget as approved by the board of education to the board of county commissioners not later than May 15, or such later date as may be fixed by the board of county commissioners. At the time of submission of the budget, the board of education shall also submit to the board of county commissioners in writing the academic performance of the schools in the local school administrative unit, including the school performance grades of each school, any schools identified as low‑performing or continually low‑performing or included on the Innovative School District qualifying, watch, or warning list, low‑performing, and efforts by the local board of education to improve those identified schools' performance. The local board of education shall present the academic performance information at a public meeting upon the request of the board of commissioners."

SECTION 7.14.(o)  Transition of the Current Innovative School. – Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑75.12, the North Carolina Innovative School District shall continue to operate Southside‑Ashpole Elementary School as an innovative school until the State Board of Education adopts and executes a transition plan to return the school to Robeson County Schools, but in no case shall the North Carolina Innovative School District operate Southside‑Ashpole Elementary School after the completion of the 2022‑2023 school year.

SECTION 7.14.(p)  Subsections (f) through (n) of this section become effective June 30, 2023. The remainder of this section is effective the date this act becomes law.

 

EXCELLENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACT OF 2021 IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE/REPORT

SECTION 7.15.(a)  The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall establish a working group to develop an implementation guide for the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021, established pursuant to S.L. 2021‑8. The Superintendent shall collaborate with various education stakeholders through the working group to adopt an implementation guide to assist local school administrative units, educators, and administrators to establish the essential elements for literacy based on the Science of Reading, effectively implement the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021, and create the framework necessary to ensure that students are successful and proficient readers throughout the State. The implementation guide shall include at least the following information:

(1)        Roles and responsibilities of State agencies, local school administrative units, public schools, and educators.

(2)        Implementation strategies of the components of literacy supports and interventions.

(3)        Professional development and training available for educators.

(4)        Initiatives related to implementation of the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021 at the State and local level.

SECTION 7.15.(b)  By January 15, 2022, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the working group established by the Superintendent and the development of the implementation guide for the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021 as required by subsection (a) of this section. The report shall include the proposed components of the implementation guide and the time line of publishing the guide in preparation for the 2022‑2023 school year.

 

MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENT CONTRACT FOR RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

SECTION 7.16.(a)  The Department of Public Instruction shall enter into a contract with a third‑party entity for any administrative services necessary to receive maximum reimbursement for medically necessary health care services for which payment is available under the North Carolina Medicaid Program provided to eligible students attending the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, and the North Carolina School for the Deaf. The provisions of the contract shall ensure that the residential schools receive reimbursement for these services in a timely manner.

SECTION 7.16.(b)  By March 15, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the contracting process and the award of the contract required by subsection (a) of this section, including the cost of the contract and the estimated recoupment of expenditures.

 

FULL‑TIME EQUIVALENCY OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS

SECTION 7.17.(a)  Article 30 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding the following new section to read:

"§ 115C‑419.  Full‑time equivalent student calculation; report.

(a)        The State Board of Education shall establish a formula for determining the full‑time equivalency of a student enrolled in a public school unit of the State for the purposes of providing State funds on a per pupil basis. The formula shall include the amount of instructional time required for the school day for a full‑time student.

(b)        By October 15 of each year, the Department of Public Instruction shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the number of students and the full‑time equivalency of those students by public school unit and grade level from the prior school year. The data in the report shall be disaggregated by enrollment in courses offered by the public school units and those offered through other dual enrollment and joint programs, including North Carolina Virtual Public School, institutions of higher education, and nonpublic schools."

SECTION 7.17.(b)  By April 15, 2022, the State Board of Education shall report on the formula required to be established pursuant to G.S. 115C‑419, as enacted by this section, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division. Notwithstanding G.S. 115C-419, the initial report required by G.S. 115C-419 shall be submitted by January 15, 2023, for data collected from the 2021-2022 school year.

 

CAREER AND COLLEGE READY GRADUATE PROGRAM SUPPORT

SECTION 7.18.  Within available funds, the Department of Public Instruction shall partner with the NROC Project, formerly known as the National Repository of Online Courses, to utilize its adaptive mathematics and English learning platform to facilitate the implementation of the Career and College Ready Graduate Program in collaboration with the North Carolina Community College System.

 

SCHOOL SAFETY GRANTS PROGRAM

SECTION 7.19.(a)  Definitions. – For the purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)        Community partner. – A public or private entity, including, but not limited to, a nonprofit corporation or a local management entity/managed care organization (LME/MCO), that partners with a public school unit to provide services or pay for the provision of services for the unit.

(2)        School health support personnel. – School psychologists, school counselors, school nurses, and school social workers.

SECTION 7.19.(b)  Program; Purpose. – For the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall establish the 2021‑2023 School Safety Grants Program (Program). The purpose of the Program shall be to improve safety in public school units by providing grants in each fiscal year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium for (i) services for students in crisis, (ii) school safety training, and (iii) safety equipment in schools.

SECTION 7.19.(c)  Grant Applications. – A public school unit may submit an application to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for one or more grants pursuant to this section in each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium. The application shall include an assessment, to be performed in conjunction with a local law enforcement agency, of the need for improving school safety within the public school unit that would receive the funding or services. The application shall identify current and ongoing needs and estimated costs associated with those needs.

SECTION 7.19.(d)  Criteria and Guidelines. – By January 15, 2022, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall develop criteria and guidelines for the administration and use of the grants pursuant to this section, including any documentation required to be submitted by applicants. In assessing grant applications, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall consider at least all of the following factors:

(1)        The level of resources available to the public school unit that would receive the funding.

(2)        Whether the public school unit has received other grants for school safety.

(3)        The overall impact on student safety in the public school unit if the identified needs are funded.

SECTION 7.19.(e)  Grants for Students in Crisis. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the grants provided in this section, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, shall award grants to public school units to contract with community partners to provide or pay for the provision of any of the following crisis services:

(1)        Crisis respite services for parents or guardians of an individual student to prevent more intensive or costly levels of care.

(2)        Training and expanded services for therapeutic foster care families and licensed child placement agencies that provide services to students who (i) need support to manage their health, welfare, and safety and (ii) have any of the following:

a.         Cognitive or behavioral problems.

b.         Developmental delays.

c.         Aggressive behavior.

(3)        Evidence‑based therapy services aligned with targeted training for students and their parents or guardians, including any of the following:

a.         Parent‑child interaction therapy.

b.         Trauma‑focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

c.         Dialectical behavior therapy.

d.         Child‑parent psychotherapy.

(4)        Any other crisis service, including peer‑to‑peer mentoring, that is likely to increase school safety. Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the grants provided in this section, the Superintendent shall use no more than three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) in each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium for the services identified in this subdivision.

SECTION 7.19.(f)  Grants for Training to Increase School Safety. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the grants provided in this section, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, shall award grants to public school units to contract with community partners to address school safety by providing training to help students develop healthy responses to trauma and stress. The training shall be targeted and evidence‑based and shall include any of the following services:

(1)        Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM) training for school health support personnel, local first responders, and teachers on the topics of suicide prevention and reducing access by students to lethal means.

(2)        Training for school health support personnel on comprehensive and evidence‑based clinical treatments for students and their parents or guardians, including any of the following:

a.         Parent‑child interaction therapy.

b.         Trauma‑focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

c.         Behavioral therapy.

d.         Dialectical behavior therapy.

e.         Child‑parent psychotherapy.

(3)        Training for students and school employees on community resilience models to improve understanding and responses to trauma and significant stress.

(4)        Training for school health support personnel on Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct problems (MATCH‑ADTC), including any of the following components:

a.         Trauma‑focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

b.         Parent and student coping skills.

c.         Problem solving.

d.         Safety planning.

(5)        Any other training, including the training on the facilitation of peer‑to‑peer mentoring, that is likely to increase school safety. Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the grants provided in this section, the Superintendent shall use no more than three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) in each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium for the services identified in this subdivision.

SECTION 7.19.(g)  Grants for Safety Equipment. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the grants provided in this section, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall award grants to public school units for (i) the purchase of safety equipment for school buildings and (ii) training associated with the use of safety equipment purchased pursuant to this subsection. Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑218.105(b), charter schools may receive grants for school safety equipment pursuant to this subsection.

SECTION 7.19.(h)  Supplement Not Supplant. – Grants provided to public school units pursuant to the Program shall be used to supplement and not to supplant State or non‑State funds already provided for these services.

SECTION 7.19.(i)  Administrative Costs. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the grants provided in this section, the Superintendent of Public Instruction may retain a total of up to one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in each fiscal year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium for administrative costs associated with the Program.

SECTION 7.19.(j)  Report. – No later than April 1 of each fiscal year in which funds are awarded pursuant to this section, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall report on the Program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Fiscal Research Division. The report shall include at least the following information:

(1)        The identity of each public school unit and community partner that received grant funds through the Program.

(2)        The amount of funding received by each entity identified pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3)        The services, training, and equipment purchased with grant funds by each entity that received a grant.

(4)        Recommendations for the implementation of additional effective school safety measures.

 

TEACHNC RECRUITMENT INITIATIVE

SECTION 7.20.(a)  The Department of Public Instruction shall adopt the TeachNC recruitment initiative as a comprehensive web platform for future teachers to find information and connect with resources on (i) the teaching profession, (ii) opportunities for educators in North Carolina, and (iii) the process of obtaining an educator's license in the State.

SECTION 7.20.(b)  The Department shall report to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by March 15, 2022, and annually thereafter, on implementation of the platform, including integration of the technology with outside entities, such as educator preparation programs (EPPs) and businesses, and data on user outcomes, including at least the following:

(1)        The number of user accounts, visitors to the website, and web‑initiated chats.

(2)        The number of users who were seeking teacher licensure who applied to institutions with an EPP after visiting the TeachNC web platform and, of those users, the number of users who successfully enrolled into institutions with an EPP and who completed teacher licensure programs.

(3)        The number of users who applied for employment in public schools after visiting the TeachNC web platform and the number of teachers who continue to teach in the public schools after finding employment utilizing TeachNC.

The report submitted by March 15, 2022, shall also include any recommendations by the Department on potential cost‑sharing arrangements or public‑private partnerships with outside entities for ongoing sustainability or continued growth of the recruitment initiative.

 

FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS GRANT PROGRAM

SECTION 7.22.  Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction in this act, the Department shall use the sum of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to establish the Feminine Hygiene Products Grant Program (Program) to provide grants of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) to public school units to provide feminine hygiene products for students in those units. The Department shall award the grants on a first‑come, first‑served basis, and no public school unit shall receive more than one grant. No later than March 15, 2022, the Department shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the public school units receiving grants under the Program, the specific feminine hygiene products purchased with the grant funds, and the impact of the Program on student health and well‑being.

 

AVERAGE DAILY MEMBERSHIP/HOLD HARMLESS

SECTION 7.23.(a)  Notwithstanding Section 7.15(b) of S.L. 2007‑323, for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the following shall apply:

(1)        In making adjustments pursuant to G.S. 115C‑75.10, 115C‑218.105, 115C‑238.70, 115C‑238.82, 116‑239.11, and Section 8.35(e) of S.L. 2014‑100, as amended by Section 7.13 of S.L. 2018‑5, the State Board of Education shall not reduce allocations to applicable public school units due to a discrepancy between their actual and anticipated average daily membership.

(2)        After funding adjustments are made pursuant to subdivision (1) of this section, the State Board of Education shall not reduce allotments for local school administrative units due to a discrepancy between actual and anticipated average daily membership.

SECTION 7.23.(b)  No later than January 15, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction shall calculate and report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division, based on data from the 2020‑2021 and 2021‑2022 fiscal years, the amounts that each funding allotment would have been reduced in the absence of Section 3.1 of S.L. 2020‑97 and this section, respectively, for each applicable public school unit pursuant to the formula adopted by the State Board of Education in accordance with Section 7.15(b) of S.L. 2007‑323. The report shall disaggregate the information on the basis of applicable public school unit, fiscal year, and allotment.

 

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES RESERVE

SECTION 7.24.  Of the funds appropriated in this act to the Department of Public Instruction for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the Department shall use twenty‑five million dollars ($25,000,000) in nonrecurring funds to establish the Children with Disabilities Reserve. Funds from the Reserve shall be allocated to public school units that enroll more children with disabilities during the first two months of school than the Department anticipated prior to the beginning of the 2021‑2022 school year in a manner consistent with funding for children with disabilities. Public school units shall not receive funds, including from the Reserve, for children with disabilities in excess of thirteen percent (13%) of the 2021‑2022 average daily membership of the unit during the first two months of school.

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION DUE PROCESS HEARINGS/PERMIT IMMEDIATE JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ALJ DECISION

SECTION 7.25.(a)  G.S. 115C‑106.3(5) reads as rewritten:

"(5)      Hearing officers. – Include administrative Administrative law judges as defined in G.S. 150B‑2(1) and hearing review officers.G.S. 150B‑2(1)."

SECTION 7.25.(b)  G.S. 115C‑109.6 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑109.6.  Impartial due process hearings.

(a)        Any party may file with the Office of Administrative Hearings a petition to request an impartial hearing with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education of a child, or a manifestation determination. The party filing the petition must notify the other party and the person designated under G.S. 115C‑107.2(b)(9) by simultaneously serving them with a copy of the petition.

(b)        Notwithstanding any other law, the party shall file a petition under subsection (a) of this section that includes the information required under IDEA and that sets forth an alleged violation that occurred not more than one year before the party knew or reasonably should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the petition. The issues for review under this section are limited to those set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The party requesting the hearing may not raise issues that were not raised in the petition unless the other party agrees otherwise.

(c)        The one‑year restriction in subsection (b) of this section shall not apply to a parent if the parent was prevented from requesting the hearing due to (i) specific misrepresentations by the local educational agency that it had resolved the problem forming the basis of the petition, or (ii) the local educational agency's withholding of information from the parent that was required under State or federal law to be provided to the parent.

(d)       The hearing shall be conducted in the county where the child attends school or is entitled to enroll under G.S. 115C‑366, unless the parties mutually agree to a different venue.

(e)        The hearing shall be closed to the public unless the parent requests in writing that the hearing be open to the public.

(f)        Subject to G.S. 115C‑109.7, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be made on substantive grounds based on a determination of whether the child received a free appropriate public education. Following the hearing, the administrative law judge shall issue a written decision regarding the issues set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The decision shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law. Notwithstanding Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, the The decision of the administrative law judge becomes final and is not subject to further review unless appealed to the Review Officer an aggrieved party brings a civil action under G.S. 115C‑109.9.subsection (h2) of this section.

(g)        A copy of the administrative law judge's decision shall be served upon each party and a copy shall be furnished to the attorneys of record. The written notice shall contain a statement informing the parties of the availability of appeal and the 30‑day limitation period for appeal as set forth in G.S. 115C‑109.9.right to file a civil action and the 30‑day limitation period for filing a civil action under subsection (h2) of this section.

(h)        In addition to the petition, the parties shall simultaneously serve a copy of all pleadings, agreements, and motions under this Part with the person designated by the State Board under G.S. 115C‑107.2(b)(9). The Office of Administrative Hearings shall simultaneously serve a copy of all orders and decisions under this Part with the person designated by the State Board under G.S. 115C‑107.2(b)(9).

(h1)      The State Board shall enforce the final decision of the administrative law judge under this section by ordering a local educational agency to comply with one or more of the following:

(1)        To provide a child with appropriate education.

(2)        To place a child in a private school that is approved to provide special education and that can provide the child an appropriate education.

(3)        To reimburse parents for reasonable private school placement costs in accordance with this Article and IDEA when it is determined that the local educational agency did not offer or provide the child with appropriate education and the private school in which the parent placed the child was an approved school and did provide the child an appropriate education.

(h2)      Any party who is aggrieved by the findings and decision of a hearing officer under this Part may institute a civil action in State court within 30 days after receipt of the notice of the decision or in federal court as provided in 20 U.S.C. § 1415.

(h3)      Except as provided under IDEA, upon the filing of a petition under this section and during the pendency of any proceedings under this Part, the child must remain in the child's then‑current educational placement or, if applying for initial admission to a public school, the child must be placed in the public school. Notwithstanding this subsection, the parties may agree in writing to a different educational placement for the child during the pendency of any proceedings under this section.

(i)         Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude a parent from filing a separate due process petition on an issue separate from a petition already filed.

(j)         The State Board, through the Exceptional Children Division, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings shall develop and enter into a binding memorandum of understanding to ensure compliance with the statutory and regulatory procedures and timelines applicable under IDEA to due process hearings and to hearing officers' decisions, and to ensure the parties' due process rights to a fair and impartial hearing. This memorandum of understanding shall be amended if subsequent changes to IDEA are made. The procedures and timelines shall be made part of the Board's procedural safeguards that are made available to parents and the public under G.S. 115C‑109.1 and G.S. 115C‑109.5."

SECTION 7.25.(c)  G.S. 115C‑109.9 is repealed.

SECTION 7.25.(d)  This section is effective when this act becomes law.

 

STATE PUBLIC SCHOOL FUND MAY BE USED FOR ARPA MAINTENANCE OF EQUITY

SECTION 7.26.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, in order to meet the minimum maintenance of equity requirements of section 2004(b) of ARPA, the Department of Public Instruction may allocate additional funds from the State Public School Fund, as necessary, to public school units receiving funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund under ARPA.

 

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND/USE OF RESERVE FUNDS/DPI INFORM SCHOOLS ABOUT FEDERAL FUNDS FOR SCHOOL‑BASED HEALTH SERVICES PERSONNEL

SECTION 7.27.(a)  Section 3.5 of S.L. 2021‑25 reads as rewritten:

"SECTION 3.5.  SECTION 3.5.(a)  Use of Funds. – The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund funds appropriated in Section 3.2 of this act shall only be used by the Department of Public Instruction to (i) allocate federal grant funds to public school units pursuant to subsection (d) of section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act and (ii) reserve twenty‑one million five hundred thousand dollars ($21,500,000) three hundred sixty million one hundred seventy‑eight thousand thirty‑six dollars ($360,178,036) of the funds pursuant to subsection (f) of section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act to be used according to the following:

(1)        $20,000,000 shall be used by the Department to allocate funds to each public school unit in the State, except for schools operated by the State Board of Education, to ensure that each public school unit receives a total amount from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) Fund of at least four hundred dollars ($400.00) per pupil in federal grant funds according to the following:

a.         If a public school unit did not receive funds pursuant to subsection (d) of section 2001, the public school unit shall receive an amount equal to four hundred dollars ($400.00) per pupil.

b.         If a public school unit received funds pursuant to subsection (d) of section 2001, the per pupil amount allocated under this subdivision shall be reduced so that (i) the total amount in federal grant funds from the ESSER III Fund is equal to four hundred dollars ($400.00) per pupil or (ii) the public school unit receives no additional funding because the total amount from the ESSER III Fund would exceed four hundred dollars ($400.00) per pupil.

(2)        $1,500,000 to be allocated in equal amounts to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, and North Carolina School for the Deaf for school facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of the schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards and to support student health needs. The funds may be used for inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and nonmechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.

(3)        $36,000,000 to be held in a reserve by the Department to be allocated to public school units as grants to support COVID‑19 related needs during the instructional year, including after‑school and before‑school programs that incorporate supplemental in‑person instruction to address learning loss and provide enrichment activities.

(4)        $36,000,000 to be held in a reserve by the Department to be allocated to public school units as grants to support COVID‑19 related needs during the summer, including in‑person instruction to address learning loss and provide enrichment activities.

(5)        $37,500,000 for teacher and principal professional development for implementing the Science of Reading and the requirements of the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021 to mitigate learning loss related to reading that has resulted from the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(6)        $1,000,000 to contract with one or more external research partners pursuant to subdivision (4) of Section 5A of S.L. 2021‑1, as enacted by Section 1.2 of S.L. 2021‑3, to assess the impact of COVID‑19 on public school units and the responses of the State to the challenges presented by COVID‑19.

(7)        $13,500,000 to be allocated to the North Carolina Education Corps (NC ED Corps), a nonprofit corporation, for the purpose of NC ED Corps partnering with public school units to recruit, train, and deploy corps members, who include community college and university students, recent graduates, and retirees, to work as tutors and mentors with public school students. Corps members work in the public schools to build relationships and connect with students and help teachers reach students who need additional academic support. The program shall focus on accelerating COVID‑19 learning recovery with students, families, and school personnel, particularly through high‑impact literacy tutors grounded in the Science of Reading and reading instruction.

(8)        $500,000 to support expansion of the North Carolina Preschool Pyramid Model (NCPPM) across and within local school administrative unit preschool programs and to support the implementation of NCPPM in kindergarten in a developmentally appropriate and vertically aligned manner. Funds shall be used to provide training, consultation, and ongoing support for local school administrative units to implement the NCPPM framework to prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms, with priority given to low‑performing schools and local school administrative units affected by COVID‑19 that receive low‑wealth supplemental funding.

(9)        $2,000,000 to contract with a third‑party entity for a period of up to two years for a new software platform, in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to develop and implement a system of tracking expenditures of State and federal funds provided for subscription services and technology.

(10)      $9,000,000 to contract with a third‑party entity for a period of up to three years for a new software platform, in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to evaluate and improve student learning and performance and to provide students with an individualized roadmap for improving learning and performance.

(11)      $200,000 to establish one new time‑limited, full‑time equivalent position at the Department to manage the software platform for public schools funded pursuant to subdivision (9) of this subsection.

(12)      $8,000,000 to be allocated to The Innovation Project to create the North Carolina High‑Tech Learning Accelerator, an initiative to provide a network of place‑based learning hubs for students with rigorous and experiential pathways for jobs in the technology industry. The initiative shall offer summer immersion and out‑of‑school options, in addition to other student supports in a core program aimed at enhancing curriculum opportunities for work‑based learning.

(13)      $7,265,134 to establish a grant program, in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to allocate funds to public school units to identify and locate missing students by contracting with either (i) one or more third‑party entities to provide technology to assist with this purpose or (ii) outside personnel. No later than March 15, 2022, the Department shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the following information:

a.         All persons and entities contracted with by public school units receiving funds to identify and locate missing students pursuant to this subdivision and the amounts provided to each person or entity.

b.         Outcomes resulting from the program, including the number of missing students identified and located in each public school unit.

(14)      $350,000 to contract with the State Auditor, in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to perform detailed analyses of the attendance and truancy policies and procedures for the 2021‑2022 school year of at least two small, two medium‑sized, and two large local school administrative units, selected randomly by the State Auditor. The State Auditor may contract with third‑party entities, as needed, for services related to the analyses. No later than June 30, 2022, the State Auditor shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the results of the analyses and any recommendations to remediate student absenteeism.

(15)      $2,500,000 for five new time‑limited and full‑time equivalent positions in the Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration of the Department and associated operating costs in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(16)      $1,000,000 for the School Planning Section of the Department to contract with a third‑party entity to establish a digital platform to facilitate data sharing among local school administrative units and county governments regarding products and services purchased for elementary and secondary education, including capital improvement projects. In order to promote equitable purchasing in the State, all local school administrative units and county governments shall participate in the platform and share relevant information regarding educational expenses. The platform shall include at least the following components:

a.         A consolidated information database regarding all of the following education‑related expenses:

1.         Status and details of expected, proposed, and issued local bonds.

2.         Interactive listings, ratings, reviews, and contract costs of vendors providing products and services, including, but not limited to, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and other services related to the maintenance of public school buildings.

3.         Document‑sharing functionality related to purchased products and services, including capital improvement projects.

b.         The ability to advertise nationwide requests for proposals from local school administrative units and county governments for education‑related products and services, including capital improvement projects.

(17)      $1,000,000 in additional funding for services provided by BEGINNINGS for Parents of Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Inc., for outreach to and support of North Carolina families affected by COVID‑19.

(18)      $7,042,000 to be transferred to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the National College Advising Corps, Inc., (CAC), a nonprofit organization, in response to the decrease in underrepresented students matriculating at institutions of higher education during the COVID‑19 pandemic. These funds shall be used to support a temporary expansion of the placement of college advisers in North Carolina public schools through CAC's program over a two‑year period for the purpose of increasing the number of underrepresented, low‑income, or first‑generation postsecondary degree or certificate students entering and completing their postsecondary education at community colleges and universities. In furthering its mission, CAC operates an innovative model of partnering with schools, communities, families, and postsecondary institutions, including providing for a two‑year service opportunity to recent college graduates as near‑peer college advisers working full‑time in the public schools, with an emphasis on engaging college advisers who have similar backgrounds to the students the program seeks to serve. CAC uses near‑peer college advisers to perform various services for students, including (i) attending postsecondary campus visits, fairs, and workshops with students, (ii) assisting with registering for college entrance exams, (iii) assisting with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) registrations and completions, (iv) identifying available scholarships, (v) assisting with postsecondary applications, and (vi) engaging with parents. Funds made available to CAC pursuant to this subdivision shall be matched by CAC on the basis of two dollars ($2.00) in non‑State funds, other than federal funds, for every one dollar ($1.00) in federal funds. CAC shall use the funds provided to it under this subdivision to place college advisers in counties designated as tier one and tier two under G.S. 143B‑437.08. CAC shall submit an interim report by October 1, 2022, and a final report by October 1, 2024, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and the Fiscal Research Division on the progress of expanding the placement of college advisers, data on the effectiveness of the program in increasing access for students to postsecondary education, and the use of the funds. CAC shall also include in its final report recommendations on (i) training of school counselors in the public schools based on the experiences of college advisers in the program and (ii) best practices from the program for school counselors on continued increased access for students to postsecondary attainment goals.

(19)      $970,000 to contract with Schools That Lead, Inc., to develop or purchase a statewide, online platform that allows teachers to (i) share student performance improvement methods across the State in response to learning loss resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic and (ii) support the Schools That Lead Program set forth in Section 7.11 of this act.

(20)      $3,900,000 to be allocated to Communities in Schools of North Carolina, Inc., to expand services and provide for the extension of nine‑month contracts for its employees for the purpose of providing assistance and enrichment activities over the summers for students in kindergarten through grade 12 experiencing learning loss and negative impacts from COVID‑19.

(21)      $16,000,000 to be allocated to public school units on the basis of average daily membership in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic to contract with a third‑party entity for technology to mitigate cyberbullying, monitor student internet activity, monitor classroom educational devices, and assist with suicide prevention services.

(22)      $5,000,000 to be allocated to public school units on the basis of average daily membership in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic to contract with Gaggle.Net, Inc., for technology to mitigate cyberbullying, monitor student internet activity, and assist with suicide prevention services.

(23)      $400,000 for career and technical education (CTE) programs to provide options for students outside traditional classroom instruction during the COVID‑19 pandemic. The Department shall allocate these funds as grants to nationally certified programs in CTE with a focus on developing critical skills necessary for students to succeed in the hospitality sector. Grant recipients shall use the funds to support instructor and student training and testing in public school units and increase the State's skilled workforce in the hospitality sectors.

(24)      $18,000,000 to provide coaching support and professional development for principals and school improvement leadership teams in local school administrative units. Funds shall be used (i) to design and implement a leadership institute for principals employed in qualifying public schools and (ii) to provide grants to local school administrative units in which a majority of the public schools are qualifying public schools for flexible improvement and intervention options approved by the Department to address negative impacts of COVID‑19. Up to two million dollars ($2,000,000) of these funds may be used for 20 time‑limited or full‑time equivalent positions for the Department to support the activities set forth in this subdivision. For the purposes of this subdivision, a qualifying public school is a school meeting the following criteria:

a.         For the most recent year for which data are available, has a school performance score in the lowest‑performing five percent (5%) of all schools.

b.         Receives funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended.

c.         Is governed by a local board of education.

d.         Is not one of the following types of schools:

1.         An alternative school.

2.         A cooperative innovative high school.

3.         A school that was in its first or second year of operation in the previous school year.

4.         A newcomers school. For the purposes of this subdivision, a newcomers school is a school in which at least ninety percent (90%) of its students are enrolled for no more than one year on the basis of their status as recently arrived English language learners.

(25)      $2,500,000 to administer a pilot program (pilot) to promote access to innovative digital and personalized learning solutions for high school students that bridge the gap between chemistry and physical science classes and career and technical education (CTE) career pathways. Local school administrative units participating in the pilot shall incorporate the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused educational software program developed by Plasma Games, Inc., in select STEM classes and their CTE programs to encourage student interest and workforce development for chemistry‑dependent industries located in North Carolina, including careers in the pharmaceutical, agricultural technology, biotechnology, textile, material science, energy, minerals and mining, and chemical manufacturing fields. The pilot shall be conducted beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year. A local school administrative unit participating in the pilot shall provide the Department with a plan for the placement of the STEM‑focused educational technology developed by Plasma Games, Inc., in its schools and may include a plan from the pilot program established pursuant to Section 4.2D of S.L. 2020‑4, as enacted by Section 1.1(e) of S.L. 2020‑80, if the unit participated in that pilot. The plan shall include implementation of the educational game as a teaching tool for classroom teachers and a new learning platform for students to increase student engagement and discussion, enrich lessons with real‑world applications and purpose in STEM fields, and create moments of connection for students with lasting impact on their career pathways. The plan shall also include provisions for professional development and training for teachers, administrators, and other school personnel to facilitate the implementation and success of the pilot. Funds shall be used for licensing fees for the educational software, Plasma Games' operating costs, and for implementation of the pilot by the local school administrative units. Reporting on the pilot shall be provided as follows:

a.         The local school administrative units participating in the pilot shall provide an annual report beginning May 1, 2022, to the Department on implementation of the pilot for each school year, including (i) the use of the funds described in this subdivision, (ii) the number of students impacted by the pilot and the number of students pursuing STEM‑related CTE career pathways as a result of the pilot, measured by the number of students declaring interest in a career with a chemistry‑dependent industry located in North Carolina and the number of students pursuing higher education in a chemistry‑related major or technical certification at a school in North Carolina, (iii) demand and feedback by teachers on the use of the STEM‑focused educational technology, and (iv) any other information requested by the Department.

b.         The Department shall provide an annual report beginning June 1, 2022, for each school year to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the implementation of the pilot and the information reported by participating local school administrative units pursuant to this subdivision. The report shall include any data on student outcomes related to implementation of the pilot, the expenditure of funds described in this subdivision, and recommendations by the Department on modification of the pilot and the need for continued support.

(26)      $2,500,000 to establish a program entitled "Failure Free Reading" to support middle school students in authorized public schools who read below grade level. The program shall use rigorous data assessment of student success to support middle school students who continue to struggle with reading, including students who suffered learning loss due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. The Department shall create an application for funds and make the application available to authorized public schools prior to January 15, 2022. Local superintendents in public school units with authorized public schools may apply for a portion of the funds at a rate of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) per student. The following public schools are authorized to participate in the program:

a.         Alpha Academy.

b.         Catawba Rosenwald Education Center in Catawba County Schools.

c.         Coats‑Erwin Middle in Harnett County Schools.

d.         Community Public Charter.

e.         Community School of Davidson.

f.          Conway Middle in Northampton County Schools.

g.         Dunn Middle in Harnett County Schools.

h.         Enfield Middle S.T.E.A.M. Academy in Halifax County Schools.

i.          Grandview Middle in Hickory City Schools.

j.          Harnett Central Middle in Harnett County Schools.

k.         Harry M. Arndt Middle School in Catawba County Schools.

l.          Jacobs Fork Middle in Catawba County Schools.

m.        Lake Norman Charter.

n.         Maiden Middle School in Catawba County Schools.

o.         Mill Creek Middle School in Catawba County Schools.

p.         Newton‑Conover Middle in Newton‑Conover City Schools.

q.         Reaching All Minds Academy.

r.          River Bend Middle in Catawba County Schools.

s.          Rocky Mount Prep.

t.          Success Institute Charter.

u.         United Community.

v.         VERITAS Community.

w.        Weldon Middle in Weldon City Schools.

x.         William R. Davie Middle S.T.E.M. Academy in Halifax County Schools.

(27)      $500,000 to transfer to the North Carolina Museum of Art to establish NCMAKids to mitigate learning loss by providing digital learning experiences and activities related to works of art, in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(28)      $1,200,000 to establish a grant program during the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium for qualifying public school units to improve teacher quality and mitigate learning loss, notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑296.2, by reimbursing teachers for the cost of the participation fee for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification, in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, as follows:

a.         Definitions. – The following definitions shall apply in this subdivision:

1.         Public school. – Any of the following:

I.          A public school unit.

II.        A school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by The University of North Carolina under Article 4 or Article 29 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes.

2.         Qualifying public school. – A public school that meets any of the following criteria:

I.          Is identified as a low‑performing school pursuant to G.S. 115C‑105.37 or G.S. 115C‑218.94.

II.        Is identified as an innovative school pursuant to G.S. 115C‑75.5.

III.       Enrolled a student body in the school year prior to the application for reimbursement consisting of at least ten percent (10%) of students identified as at‑risk pursuant to State Board of Education policy DROP‑001.

b.         Grant applications and approval. – During the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, a public school unit with at least one qualifying public school may apply to the Department of Public Instruction for grant funds to reimburse teachers employed in the unit for the cost of the participation fee for NBPTS certification. The Department shall develop criteria and guidelines for public school units receiving grant funds to follow when administering the reimbursements. The criteria shall include at least the following:

1.         Public school units receiving grant funds shall prioritize reimbursements for teachers based on the need of the school where the teacher is employed at the time of the reimbursement, including at least the following criteria:

I.          A teacher employed in a qualifying public school with more qualifying factors, as identified in sub‑sub‑sub‑subdivisions I. through III. of sub‑sub‑subdivision 2. of sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision, shall receive priority over a teacher employed in a qualifying public school with fewer qualifying factors.

II.        For teachers employed in qualifying schools pursuant to sub‑sub‑sub‑subdivision III. of sub‑sub‑subdivision 2. of sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision, teachers employed in schools with a higher percentage of at‑risk students shall receive priority over teachers employed in schools with a lower percentage of at‑risk students.

2.         Public school units receiving grant funds shall not require a teacher to complete the NBPTS certification process in order to receive a reimbursement.

c.         Report. – No later than January 15, 2022, and each subsequent year thereafter in which funds allocated pursuant to this subdivision are awarded, the Department shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the impact of the program, including at least the following information:

1.         Public school units applying for and receiving grants.

2.         Number of teachers receiving reimbursements.

3.         Demographic information of teachers receiving reimbursements.

4.         Employment status of teachers receiving reimbursements, including the public school where the teacher is employed and whether the teacher remains employed with his or her original qualifying public school.

5.         Licensure areas of teachers receiving reimbursements.

6.         Effect of the program on the performance and growth of students taught by teachers receiving reimbursements.

(29)      $1,700,000 to establish the School Psychologists Grant Program (Program) in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic to improve the safety, mental health, and well‑being of students by providing grants to public school units to recruit school psychologists, as follows:

a.         Grant application. – A public school unit may submit an application to the Superintendent of Public Instruction to receive a grant pursuant to this subdivision. The application shall identify current and ongoing needs for school psychologist services, including needs related to recruitment, and estimated costs associated with those needs.

b.         Criteria and guidelines. – By January 15, 2022, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall develop criteria and guidelines for the administration and use of the grants under the Program, including any documentation required to be submitted by applicants.

c.         Award of funds. – The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall award grants to public school units to provide signing bonuses to recruit school psychologists, as follows:

1.         The Department shall prioritize the award of funds to public school units that do not employ a full‑time school psychologist at the time the application is submitted.

2.         No individual bonus shall be greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000).

3.         As a condition of accepting a signing bonus, a school psychologist shall agree to remain employed in the public school unit for at least one year.

4.         Grants provided to public school units pursuant to the Program shall be used to supplement and not to supplant State or non‑State funds already provided for these services.

d.         Report. – No later than April 1, 2022, and each subsequent year thereafter in which funds allocated pursuant to this subdivision are awarded, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall report on the Program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Fiscal Research Division. The report shall include the identity of each public school unit that received a grant through the Program, the amount of funding provided to the public school unit, and the use of funds by the public school unit.

(30)      $400,000 to support driver education programs and aid in reducing a backlog of student applicants due to the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(31)      $1,600,000 to establish the Educational and Competitive After‑School Robotics Grant Program (Program) during the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium. The purpose of the Program shall be to (i) promote evidence‑based, after‑school programs for robotics education and competition, (ii) motivate students to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while building critical life and work‑related skills, and (iii) reengage students and remediate learning loss resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic, as follows:

a.         Eligibility. – Any public school unit is eligible to apply to the Department of Public Instruction for a grant to develop an educational and competitive after‑school robotics program with a robotics partner. As used in this subsection, the term "robotics partner" shall refer to a third‑party entity, such as a nonprofit organization or institution of higher education, approved by the Department of Public Instruction, that is able to provide adequate support for an after‑school robotics program. In order to provide adequate support, a robotics partner must meet at least all of the following criteria:

1.         Have a national presence in robotics education and competition.

2.         Provide adequate instruction and programming for students and adult volunteers in (i) robotics education, (ii) project‑based learning, and (iii) competitive robotics.

3.         Promote a safe and equitable social environment.

b.         Applications; criteria and guidelines. – No later than January 15, 2022, the Department shall develop and publish criteria and guidelines for the application process for the Program in the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, including any documentation required to be submitted by the applicants. The Department shall accept applications until February 15, 2022. Applications shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

1.         Evidence that the applicant has or will be able to establish a relationship with a robotics partner.

2.         A proposed budget for the educational and competitive after‑school robotics program.

c.         Award and use of funds. – Of the funds appropriated to the Department for the Program by this act, the Department shall award grants to the selected applicants by March 15, 2022. Funds may be used for any of the following purposes:

1.         Establishing a relationship with a robotics partner.

2.         Purchasing robotics kits.

3.         Providing stipends for coaches.

4.         Making payments associated with participation in a robotics league or robotics competition.

5.         Paying fees incurred as part of the administration of a robotics team.

d.         Reporting. – No later than May 15 of each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium the Department shall report the following information to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division:

1.         Number and amounts of grants awarded.

2.         Identities of the public school units receiving grants.

3.         Identities of public school units that applied for grants but did not receive one.

4.         The extent to which students participating in after‑school robotics programs funded by the Program experienced measurable improvement in academic performance, if any.

(32)      $1,100,000 to be allocated to local school administrative units and charter schools, excluding schools authorized pursuant to Section 8.35(b) of S.L. 2014‑100, as amended by Section 7.13 of S.L. 2018‑5, to account for additional students enrolled in local school administrative units and charter schools during the 2020‑2021 school year as a result of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The Department shall allocate six hundred dollars ($600.00) per month for each student enrolled in a local school administrative unit or charter school above the number of students accounted for by the Department in the funded average daily membership for the unit or school from the 2020‑2021 school year. For charter schools, funds shall be provided only for additional students legally enrolled at the school in accordance with the school's charter, G.S. 115C‑218.7(b), and Section 3.2 of S.L. 2020‑97, as amended by Section 2.5 of S.L. 2021‑3.

(33)      $2,042,000 to contract with Betabox, Inc., in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, to mitigate learning loss in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by providing students in public school units with experiences, curriculum, instructional coaching, hands‑on equipment, and other needed resources. The Department, in consultation with Betabox, Inc., shall submit an interim report by October 1, 2022, and a final report by October 1, 2024, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the use of the funds allocated pursuant to this subdivision and their impact on student success.

(34)      $100,000,000 to be allocated to public schools to administer a one‑time, lump sum bonus of one thousand dollars ($1,000) no later than January 31, 2022, to every qualifying teacher whose salary is supported from State funds and who, as of January 1, 2022, is employed as a teacher in a public school, in accordance with the following criteria:

a.         As used in this subdivision, the following definitions shall apply:

1.         Public school. – Any of the following:

I.          A public school unit.

II.        A school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by one of the following:

A.        The University of North Carolina under Article 4 or Article 29 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes.

B.        The Department of Health and Human Services.

C.        The Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice of the Department of Public Safety.

2.         Qualifying teacher. – Teachers and instructional support personnel who participate in one or more trainings between March 12, 2020, and January 1, 2022, that address the mitigation of COVID‑19 in public schools, learning loss resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic, or virtual instruction needed because of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The governing body of each public school shall determine whether a teacher is a qualifying teacher in accordance with this sub‑sub‑subdivision.

b.         The bonuses awarded pursuant to this subdivision shall be in addition to any regular wage or other bonus the teacher receives or is scheduled to receive.

c.         Notwithstanding G.S. 135‑1(7a), the bonuses awarded pursuant to this subdivision are not compensation under Article 1 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes, Retirement System for Teachers and State Employees.

d.         The bonuses awarded pursuant to this subdivision do not apply to any teacher no longer employed as a teacher due to resignation, dismissal, reduction in force, death, or retirement or whose last workday is prior to January 1, 2022.

e.         Funds provided pursuant to this subdivision shall supplement the compensation of public school employees and shall not supplant any existing compensation funds.

(35)      Up to $18,008,902 for the Department to use for administrative costs.

(36)      Any contract that is executed to meet the purposes set forth in this subsection using the funds provided from the reserve pursuant to subsection (f) of section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) shall be limited to a contract term consistent with the deadline for the expenditure of those funds under the federal law and guidelines.

(37)      If, on March 15, 2022, there are any funds that are unencumbered from the reserve of funds pursuant to subsection (f) of section 2001 of ARPA, those funds shall be reallocated as follows, in order of priority:

a.         To offset any shortfall in the funds allocated pursuant to subdivision (34) of this subsection for bonuses related to COVID‑19 training for teachers and instructional support personnel in public schools.

b.         To be used for expenditures on or after March 15, 2022, to meet additional needs of the elementary and secondary schools of the State within federal law and guidelines, as determined by the State Board of Education.

"SECTION 3.5.(b)  Strategic Plan for a Competency‑Based Education Program. – The State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction shall develop a strategic plan for the deployment of a competency‑based education program that provides for credit by demonstrated mastery for students in grades seven through 12 for credit recovery or acceleration to address impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The program shall also focus on demonstrating teacher competency and enable teacher professional development and principal professional development for the purposes of educator licensure reform and efficiency within the Department. By March 15, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction shall submit a comprehensive, strategic plan for the program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, including the method for deployment of the competency‑based education program, the predicted number of students who may earn credit by demonstrating content mastery and the method of assessment, the impact on teachers and how the program will be used for professional development and competency, and a detailed description of the estimated cost of the program, including the identification of other sources of funds for the program after the deadline established by federal law and guidelines for expenditure of federal funds.

"SECTION 3.5.(c)  Compliance with Federal Law. – The Department of Public Instruction shall provide all complete and detailed information necessary to the United States Department of Education (U.S. Dept. of Education) on North Carolina's American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) State Plan for the U.S. Dept. of Education to determine whether the funds reserved pursuant to subsection (f) of section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act are for permissible uses consistent with federal law and guidelines for the expenditure of funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, as described under this authorizing legislation. Notwithstanding any other provision of subsection (a) of this section to the contrary, if the Superintendent of Public Instruction receives a letter of determination from the U.S. Dept. of Education that one or more of the purposes described under subsection (a) of this section is not an allowable expenditure of funds from the ESSER Fund under federal law and guidelines, the Department of Public Instruction shall allocate those funds as subgrants to public school units in accordance with the requirements of subsection (d) of section 2001 of the American Rescue Plan Act. By April 15, 2022, and annually thereafter until the deadline established for the expenditure of funds under federal law and guidelines, the Department of Public Instruction shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on any funds allocated to public school units pursuant to this subsection, including the reason for the allocation, the actions taken by the Department in response to the letter from the U.S. Dept. of Education, and recommendations on further actions or changes to be considered by the General Assembly."

SECTION 7.27.(b)  No later than January 15, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, shall inform all public school units of the following:

(1)        The availability of federal funds appropriated in this act to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response: Public Health Crisis Response, COVID‑19 Public Health Workforce Supplemental Funding received pursuant to ARPA to be used for school‑based health services personnel in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. For purposes of this subsection, school‑based health services personnel includes school nurses, school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers.

(2)        Allowable uses of the funds identified in subdivision (1) of this subsection pursuant to federal law and guidance.

 

TRANSFER OF FUNDS FOR THE SCHOOL BUSINESS SYSTEM MODERNIZATION PLAN

SECTION 7.28.  Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction by this act for the school business system modernization plan for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the Department shall transfer one million four hundred thousand dollars ($1,400,000) for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and one million four hundred thousand dollars ($1,400,000) for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year to the Government Data Analytics Center (GDAC) to leverage existing public‑private partnerships to incorporate annual school report card data for the State into the School Finance Division section of the Department of Public Instruction's website. Grade level and subject level Education Value‑Added Assessment System (EVAAS) growth data for local school administrative units and public schools may be made available to the public on the website, to the extent required by State and federal law.

By December 15, 2021, GDAC shall execute any contractual agreements and interagency data sharing agreements necessary to accomplish the reporting system established pursuant to Section 7.16 of S.L. 2017‑57, as amended by Section 7.6 of S.L. 2018‑5. The Department of Public Instruction and GDAC shall continue partnering to continue development, deployment, and ongoing provision of data integration service that consolidates data from financial, human resources, licensure, student information, and EVAAS. Implementation shall also include development and deployment of a modern analytical platform and reporting environment. Additionally, student population data for future assessments, including State assessments, Advanced Placement exams, and college readiness assessments, shall be made available to local school administrative units and public schools through the Department's EVAAS section of the website and shall be made available in hard copy to parents and legal guardians upon request.

 

POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE CENTER FOR SAFER SCHOOLS

SECTION 7.30.(a)  G.S. 115C‑105.57 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑105.57.  Center for Safer Schools.

(a)        Center for Safer Schools Established. – There is established the Center for Safer Schools. The Center for Safer Schools shall be administratively located in the Department of Public Instruction. The Center for Safer Schools shall consist of an executive director Executive Director appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and such other professional, administrative, technical, and clerical personnel as may be necessary to assist the Center for Safer Schools in carrying out its powers and duties.

(b)        Executive Director. – The Executive Director shall report to and serve at the pleasure of the Superintendent of Public Instruction at a salary established by the Superintendent within the funds appropriated for this purpose.

(c)        Powers and Duties. – The Center for Safer Schools shall have the following duties, and all other powers and duties provided in this Article.Article:

(1)        Serve as a resource and referral center for the State by conducting research, sponsoring workshops, and providing information regarding current school safety concerns.

(2)        Provide training, resources, and professional development for students, public school personnel, first responders, social services agencies, members of the community, and other interested parties, as needed, on at least the following topics related to school safety:

a.         Responsibilities and best practices of school resource officers.

b.         Youth mental health, including applicable policies and plans adopted by the State Board of Education and public school units in accordance with G.S. 115C‑376.5.

c.         Threat assessment.

d.         Active‑shooter drills and scenarios.

e.         Incident de‑escalation.

f.          Reunification of schools and school districts after an incident.

g.         Information related to at least the following areas:

1.         Bullying.

2.         Suicide.

3.         Opioid and substance abuse.

4.         Critical incidents.

5.         Trauma and victimization among students.

6.         The impacts of the incidents identified in sub‑sub‑subdivisions 1. through 5. of this sub‑subdivision on school climate and school safety.

(3)        Maintain and disseminate information to public schools on effective school safety initiatives in North Carolina and across the nation.

(4)        Collect, analyze, and disseminate various North Carolina school safety data.

(5)        Provide technical and instructional assistance to facilitate the development of partnerships between the public and private sectors to promote school safety in North Carolina.

(6)        Recommend a system of accountability to the General Assembly to document school safety exercises, including practice school lockdowns, required by G.S. 115C‑105.49.

(7)        Assist law enforcement officers assigned to schools and their agencies in active shooter response drills and other pertinent school safety‑related training.

(8)        Collaborate with the North Carolina Justice Academy, the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission to establish and maintain updated training curriculum for school resource officers.

(9)        Coordinate grants for school resource officers in elementary and middle schools and ensure that training requirements for school resource officers funded by those grants are met.

(10)      Provide technical assistance to public school units in the development and implementation of initiatives promoting school safety.

(d)       Agency Cooperation. – All State agencies and departments shall cooperate with the Center for Safer Schools in carrying out its powers and duties, as necessary, in accordance with this Article. The Center for Safer Schools shall coordinate, collaborate, and seek information as necessary to carry out its duties and responsibilities from State and local government agencies, who shall provide information upon request to the Center. These agencies include the following:

(1)        Department of Public Safety.

(2)        Department of Health and Human Services.

(3)        Department of Public Instruction.

(4)        North Carolina Justice Academy.

(5)        Governor's Crime Commission.

(6)        State Bureau of Investigation Fusion Center, Information Sharing, and Analysis Center.

(7)        Governing bodies of public school units.

(8)        Local law enforcement agencies.

(e)        Annual Census of School Resource Officers. – The Center for Safer Schools shall conduct an annual census of school resource officers located in each public school unit. The Center shall submit a report based on this census to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and the State Board of Education by March 1 of each year. At a minimum, the report shall include all of the following information:As part of the census, each public school unit shall report to the Center by January 15 of each year with the following information regarding school resource officers in the unit:

(1)        The total number of school resource officers in the State and in each public school unit.officers.

(2)        Data regarding school resources officers' education levels, years as sworn law enforcement officers, and years as school resource officers.

(3)        Training required of school resource officers and training actually completed by school resource officers, including training specific to the position of school resource officer and other advanced or additional training.

(4)        The funding source for all school resource officers.

(5)        The location of school resource officers, differentiated by grade levels and type of public school unit.levels.

(6)        The percentage of school resource officers assigned to more than one school.

(7)        The law enforcement affiliation of school resource officers.

The Center shall compile the information submitted pursuant to this subsection and submit a report detailing this information at the statewide and local levels to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and the State Board of Education by March 1 of each year.

(f)        Task Force Guidance. – The Center for Safer Schools shall receive guidance and advice from the Task Force for Safer Schools."

SECTION 7.30.(b)  The Center for Safer Schools shall enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Public Safety to provide in appropriate facilities owned by the Department of Public Safety the training, resources, and professional development required pursuant to G.S. 115C-105.57(c)(2), as enacted by this act. No later than January 15, 2022, and each October thereafter in which the MOU is executed, the Center for Safer Schools, in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety, shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety, the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Fiscal Research Division on the memorandum of understanding.

SECTION 7.30.(c)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

OPERATING BALANCE RESTRICTIONS FOR SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMS

SECTION 7.31.  G.S. 115C‑450 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑450.  School food services.

(a)        School food nutrition services shall be included in the budget of each local school administrative unit public school unit that provides school nutrition services, and the State Board of Education shall provide for school food nutrition services in the uniform budget format required by G.S. 115C‑426.

(b)        No local school administrative unit public school unit that provides school nutrition services shall assess indirect costs to a child school nutrition program unless the program has a minimum of one month's an operating balance. One month's operating balance shall be derived from net cash resources divided by one month's operating costs. "Net cash resources" means all monies, as determined in accordance with the State agency's established accounting system, that are available to or have accrued to a school food authority's nonprofit child nutrition account at any given time, less cash payables and other liabilities. When calculating the average month's operating balance, the Department of Public Instruction shall use the complete and final figures obtained from the annual financial report from each child nutrition program's operation. An average month's operating balance shall be calculated and published by the Department of Public Instruction for each child nutrition program and shall be equal to the average of the three prior fiscal years' monthly operating balances. balance of at least two months. The Department of Public Instruction shall calculate the operating balance of a school nutrition program of a public school unit that provides school nutrition services. If complete and final financial reports for a given year are not yet available for a child school nutrition program, the Department of Public Instruction may use projected figures figures, but shall update the published average month's operating balance once complete and final financial reports become available. As used in this subsection, the term "indirect costs" is as defined in the United States Office of Budget and Management Circular A‑87, as revised, and the term "net cash resources" is as defined in 7 C.F.R. § 210.2.2 C.F.R. § 200.414.

(c)        No public school unit that provides school nutrition services shall assess an unrestricted indirect costs rate to a school nutrition program that is more than eight percent (8%).

(d)       No later than May 15, 2022, and every six months thereafter, the Department of Public Instruction shall report all the following information to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division:

(1)        The number of months of the operating balance held by the school nutrition program for each public school unit.

(2)        The amount and percentage of indirect costs charged to the school nutrition program by the public school unit, if any."

 

REVISE FAST‑TRACK REPLICATION OF HIGH‑QUALITY CHARTER SCHOOLS

SECTION 7.33.(a)  G.S. 115C‑218.3 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑218.3.  Fast‑track replication of high‑quality charter schools.

Upon recommendations by the Office of Charter Schools and the Charter Schools Advisory Board, the State Board of Education shall adopt a process and rules for fast‑track replication of high‑quality charter schools currently operating in the State. The State Board of Education shall not require a planning year for applicants selected through the fast‑track replication process. In addition to the requirements for charter applicants set forth in this Article, the fast‑track replication process adopted by the State Board of Education shall, at a minimum, require a board of directors of a charter school to demonstrate one of the following in order to qualify for fast‑track replication:

(1)        A The board of directors operates charter schools and can demonstrate both of the following:

a.         The majority of charter school schools in this State governed by the board of directors has student academic outcomes from the three prior school years that are comparable to equal to or greater than the academic outcomes of students student academic outcomes in the local school administrative unit in which the each charter school is located and located.

b.         The board of directors can provide three years of financially sound audits.audits for each school it governs.

(2)        The board of directors agrees to contract with an education management organization or charter management organization that can demonstrate that it can replicate high‑quality both of the following:

a.         The majority of the charter schools in the this State that have proven managed by the organization has student academic success and financial soundness.outcomes from the three prior school years that are equal to or greater than the student academic outcomes in the local school administrative unit in which each charter school is located.

b.         The organization can provide three years of financially sound audits for each school it governs.

The State Board of Education shall ensure that the rules for a fast‑track replication process provide that decisions by the State Board of Education on whether to grant a charter through the replication process are completed in less than 120 days from the application submission date. The State Board shall provide a decision no later than October 15 of the year immediately preceding the year of the proposed school opening."

SECTION 7.33.(b)  This section is effective when this act becomes law and applies to applications for fast‑track replication of charter schools submitted on or after that date.

 

BONUSES FOR TEACHERS AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT PERSONNEL IN SCHOOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH VISUAL AND HEARING IMPAIRMENTS/ESSER II FUND

SECTION 7.36.(a)  Section 5A of S.L. 2021‑1, as enacted by Section 1.2 of S.L. 2021‑3, reads as rewritten:

"SECTION 5A.  The Department of Public Instruction shall use the funds reserved pursuant to subsection (c1) of Section 5 of this act as follows:

(15a)    Up to $55,000 to administer a one‑time, lump sum bonus of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00), in recognition of necessary services performed during the COVID‑19 pandemic, to every teacher who, as of April 1, 2021, was employed as a teacher in a school for students with visual and hearing impairments, in accordance with the following criteria:

a.         As used in this subdivision, the following definitions shall apply:

1.         Teacher. – Teachers and instructional support personnel.

2.         School for students with visual and hearing impairments. – A public school governed by the State Board of Education under Article 9C of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

b.         The bonuses awarded pursuant to this subdivision shall be in addition to any regular wage or other bonus the teacher receives or is scheduled to receive.

c.         Notwithstanding G.S. 135‑1(7a), the bonuses awarded pursuant to this subdivision are not compensation under Article 1 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes, Retirement System for Teachers and State Employees.

d.         The bonuses awarded pursuant to this subdivision do not apply to any teacher no longer employed as a teacher due to resignation, dismissal, reduction in force, death, or retirement or whose last workday is prior to April 1, 2021.

e.         Funds provided pursuant to this subdivision shall supplement the compensation of a public school employee and shall not supplant any existing compensation funds.

(16)      If, on August 15, 2022, the date the Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2021 becomes law, there are any remaining ESSER II funds from the allocations in subdivisions (1) through (11) and (13) and (14) of this section, those funds shall be reallocated to the reserve described under subsection (c1) of Section 5 of this act to be used for expenditure on or after that date to meet additional emergency needs of the elementary and secondary schools of the State, as determined by the State Board of Education."

SECTION 7.36.(b)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

ADVANCED TEACHING ROLES CHANGES

SECTION 7.38.(a)  G.S. 115C‑311 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑311.  Teacher compensation models and advanced teaching roles.

(c)        Selection by State Board of Education. – By December 15, 2020, and annually thereafter, the State Board of Education shall review proposals and select local school administrative units to participate in the program, beginning in the subsequent school year, in accordance with the following criteria:

(1)        Selected local school administrative units must meet minimum criteria established by the State Board of Education consistent with this section.

(2)        The State Board shall prioritize the award of available State funds for the following categories of local school administrative units:

a.         Up to five units with an average daily membership from the previous school year of 4,000 or fewer students.

b.         Up to five units with an average daily membership from the previous school year of between 4,001 and 20,000 students.

c.         Up to five units with an average daily membership from the previous school year of 20,001 or more students.

(3)        The State Board shall approve the proposal of any local school administrative unit that is submitted by October 15, 2020, if the following criteria are met:

a.         The local school administrative unit is participating in an approved advanced teaching roles program pursuant to Section 8.7 of S.L. 2016‑94 in the 2020‑2021 school year.

b.         The application of a local school administrative unit is not inconsistent with this section.

(f)        Renewal and Termination. Termination of Program Participation. – The initial selected local school administrative units shall implement their approved plans beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year. Every five years after a local school administrative unit begins implementing its plan, the State Board of Education shall review the unit to ensure it the unit is complying with its the approved plan. As part of the review, the State Board shall consider at least the following information:

(1)        The number of teachers in advanced teaching roles in the unit and the number of students receiving instruction from those teachers.

(2)        Growth scores for students calculated pursuant to G.S. 115C‑83.15.

(3)        Achievement scores for students calculated pursuant to G.S. 115C‑83.15.

(4)        Retention of effective teachers.

(5)        Results of the Teacher Working Conditions Survey.

(6)        Ratings of teachers through the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation System.

After the review, the State Board may, in its discretion, renew or terminate the plan of any local school administrative unit that fails to meet criteria established by the State Board in accordance with this section and may renew or terminate the Advanced Teaching Roles designation of any school within that unit. Throughout the program, a local school administrative unit shall provide any information or access requested by (i) the State Board of Education or (ii) the independent research organization selected by the State Board of Education to evaluate the program pursuant to this section.

(g)        Term; Use of Grant State Funds. – Any funds awarded to a local school administrative unit pursuant to this section shall be subject to availability and awarded for a term of up to three years, in the discretion of the State Board. A local school administrative unit shall not be eligible to receive funding for more than one term. Funds awarded two terms. The State Board of Education shall authorize a second term of State funds in accordance with subsection (g1) of this section. The State Board shall award funds to local school administrative units as follows:

(1)        The State Board shall prioritize the award of available State funds for the following categories of local school administrative units:

a.         Up to five units with an average daily membership from the previous school year of 4,000 or fewer students.

b.         Up to five units with an average daily membership from the previous school year of between 4,001 and 20,000 students.

c.         Up to five units with an average daily membership from the previous school year of 20,001 or more students.

(2)        State funds shall be used for any of the following:following purposes, as defined by the State Board:

(1)a.     Development of advanced teaching role plans.

(2)b.     Development of professional development courses for teachers in advanced teaching roles that lead to improved student outcomes.

(3)c.     Transition costs associated with designing and implementing advanced teaching role models. Transition costs may include employing staff members or contractors to assist with design and implementation of the plan.

(4)d.    Development of the design and implementation of compensation plans that focus on teacher professional growth and student outcomes and the transition costs associated with designing and implementing new compensation plans, including employing staff members or contractors to assist with design and implementation of the plan.

(g1)      Renewal of Award of State Funds. – A local school administrative unit that received an initial award of State funds pursuant to subsection (g) of this section may apply to the State Board of Education for an award of State funds for a second term of up to three years, in the discretion of the State Board. The local school administrative unit may apply at any time (i) after the initial award of State funds expires or (ii) within 90 days prior to the date the initial award of State funds is set to expire. Upon receipt of an application for renewal of State funds from a local school administrative unit, the State Board shall do the following:

(1)        Review the unit to ensure the unit is complying with the approved plan and criteria established by the State Board.

(2)        Grant or deny the application within 60 days of its receipt.

(i)         Class Size Flexibility. – Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑301, with the approval of the State Board of Education, Advanced Teaching Roles schools selected to participate in the program may exceed the maximum class size requirements for kindergarten through third grade during the any term of up to three years in which State funds are awarded to the local school administrative unit where the school is located. At the conclusion of the term, any class size flexibility approved for an Advanced Teaching Roles school pursuant to this subsection shall expire.

…."

SECTION 7.38.(b)  The State Board of Education shall review and adopt new or revised emergency rules on advanced teaching roles for use in the 2021‑2022 school year in accordance with the requirements of G.S. 115C‑311, as amended by this act, no later than February 15, 2022. The State Board shall submit all emergency rules in accordance with the requirements in 26 NCAC 02C.

SECTION 7.38.(c)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑311(c), as amended by this section, no later than February 15, 2022, the State Board of Education shall make its selections for local school administrative units that will begin participation in the program pursuant to G.S. 115C‑311 starting in the 2022‑2023 school year.

SECTION 7.38.(d)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

RECOMMENDATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES FUNDING

SECTION 7.44.(a)  Of the funds appropriated in this act to the Department of Public Instruction for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the Department shall use the sum of twenty‑seven thousand five hundred dollars ($27,500) in nonrecurring funds to contract with an independent research organization to make recommendations on how to categorize the allocation of funding for students with disabilities and how to set funding levels for each category recommended. The independent research organization shall expand on the findings and recommendations made in the report created by Augenblick, Palaich and Associates in 2010, "Recommendations to Strengthen North Carolina's School Funding System." In addition, the independent research organization shall consider any findings and recommendations published since 2010 by the Department of Public Instruction and by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University regarding funding needs for students with disabilities. In developing recommendations, the independent research organization shall examine the following:

(1)        For each school system, the percentage of students with disabilities and the funding provided per student with disabilities.

(2)        The potential benefit of allocating funding for students with disabilities based on severity of disability type as compared to allocating funding based on service level required.

(3)        How other states provide funding for students with disabilities with particular emphasis on states that differentiate funding by student need.

(4)        How to determine appropriate funding levels for each funding category recommended.

(5)        Recommendations for how schools can utilize available Medicaid reimbursements.

The independent research organization shall submit its recommendations and supporting findings to the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction on or before February 15, 2022. The Department of Public Instruction shall submit a final report on the recommendations and findings, including any proposed legislation necessary for implementation, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the General Assembly, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the House Appropriations Committee on Education on or before March 15, 2022.

SECTION 7.44.(b)  When selecting the independent research organization pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Department shall ensure that the independent research organization meets at least the following:

(1)        The independent research organization is located in the State.

(2)        The Department has not previously contracted with the independent research organization to make recommendations on funding allocations for students with disabilities.

 

CHANGES TO EDUCATOR LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS

SECTION 7.57.(a)  Lifetime Licensure for Professional Educators. – G.S. 115C‑270.20 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑270.20.  Licensure requirements.

(a)        Teacher Licenses. – The State Board shall adopt rules for the issuance of the following classes of teacher licenses, including required levels of preparation for each classification:

(4)        Lifetime license. – A license issued to a teacher after 30 or more years of teaching as a licensed teacher that requires no renewal. For the purposes of this subdivision, a teacher shall be determined to have completed 30 or more years of teaching as a licensed teacher when the teacher holds a current North Carolina teaching license and has completed 30 or more years of creditable service with the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.

(d)       Lifetime License for Professional Educators. – The State Board of Education shall issue a lifetime license, which shall require no renewal, to an individual currently licensed as a professional educator who has met at least one of the following criteria:

(1)        Completed 30 or more years of creditable service with the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.

(2)        Completed a combined total of 30 or more years of employment as a licensed teacher, administrator, or student services personnel in one or more public school units in North Carolina."

SECTION 7.57.(b)  This section is effective the date this act becomes law.

 

STUDENT DIGITAL LEARNING ACCESS

SECTION 7.61.(a)  Part 3A of Article 8 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑102.9.  Digital learning dashboard.

(a)        The State Board of Education shall establish and maintain an electronic dashboard to publicly display information related to digital learning. The State Board shall include in the dashboard, at a minimum, the following categories of information to be reported:

(1)        In‑school digital device access, including the following information disaggregated by public school unit, school, and grade level:

a.         Number and percentage of students with access to digital devices within the school.

b.         Source of digital devices, such as the public school unit or the student's home.

c.         Type of device.

(2)        Out‑of‑school digital device access, including the following information disaggregated by public school unit, school, and grade level:

a.         Number and percentage of students with access to digital devices outside of the school.

b.         Source of digital devices, such as the public school unit, the student's home, or both.

c.         Type of device.

d.         For homes with no devices, reason for lack of devices.

(3)        Out‑of‑school internet connectivity, including the following information disaggregated by public school unit, school, and grade level:

a.         Number and percentage of students with internet connectivity outside of the school available by the following categories:

1.         Students with connectivity at home.

2.         Students without connectivity at home but who have regular and reliable access to other sources of connectivity.

b.         For students without home connectivity, primary source for internet connectivity outside of the school.

c.         Type of connectivity, such as broadband, satellite, or dial‑up.

d.         For homes with no connectivity, reason for lack of connectivity.

(b)        Each public school unit shall annually submit all categories of information included in the digital learning dashboard no later than November 15. For subdivisions (2) and (3) of subsection (a) of this section, residential schools shall report on access and connectivity separately for the dormitories and the student's home.

(c)        The State Board of Education shall annually report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by February 15 on statewide trends reflected in the digital learning dashboard, successes and continued challenges in ensuring all students have digital learning access both in and out of school, and recommendations on ways to continue to close the digital learning accessibility gap."

SECTION 7.61.(b)  G.S. 115C‑75.9 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(p)      Digital Learning Dashboard. – An innovative school shall annually update information to the digital learning dashboard, as required by G.S. 115C‑102.9."

SECTION 7.61.(c)  G.S. 115C‑218.75 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(j)       A charter school shall annually update information to the digital learning dashboard, as required by G.S. 115C‑102.9."

SECTION 7.61.(d)  G.S. 115C‑238.66 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(18)    Digital learning dashboard updates. – A regional school shall annually update information to the digital learning dashboard, as required by G.S. 115C‑102.9."

SECTION 7.61.(e)  G.S. 116‑239.8(b) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(21)    Digital learning dashboard updates. – A laboratory school shall annually update information to the digital learning dashboard, as required by G.S. 115C‑102.9."

SECTION 7.61.(f)  Section 6(d) of S.L. 2018‑32 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(5c)    G.S. 115C‑102.9, Digital learning dashboard."

SECTION 7.61.(g)  The Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Information Technology, in collaboration with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University (Friday Institute), (collectively referred to herein as the Departments) shall conduct a statewide assessment of data related to out‑of‑school internet and device access for North Carolina elementary and secondary students obtained during the physical school closure and at‑home learning that occurred due to COVID‑19 during the 2019‑2020 and 2020‑2021 school years. Public school units shall provide any relevant data from this period to the Departments upon request at the most granular level available. The assessment conducted by the Departments shall review the available data to identify the scope of students who lack out‑of‑school internet access or devices at home; the reasons students lack such access, including accessibility to adequate broadband in the homes, cost of broadband services, and lack of devices; and the methods students and schools used to address the lack of access during the 2019‑2020 and 2020‑2021 school years. Based on the assessed data, the Departments shall identify and make recommendations for effective programs and policies to close the student digital access gap and shall recommend effective approaches to maintain current granular data on the student digital access gap.

SECTION 7.61.(h)  The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall coordinate (i) access to available data from each public school unit for the Departments and (ii) the reporting of the recommendations of the Departments as provided in this section. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the assessment of the student digital access gap no later than January 15, 2022.

SECTION 7.61.(i)  No later than January 15, 2022, the State Board of Education shall combine the NC Digital Learning and Media Inventory with the digital learning dashboard required by G.S. 115C‑102.9, as enacted by this section.

SECTION 7.61.(j)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑102.9, as enacted by this section, the following shall apply:

(1)        Public school units shall submit the information required pursuant to G.S. 115C‑102.9(b) for the 2021‑2022 school year by January 15, 2022.

(2)        The State Board of Education shall submit its annual report required pursuant to G.S. 115C‑102.9(c) for the 2021‑2022 school year by April 15, 2022.

SECTION 7.61.(k)  This section is effective the date this act becomes law. Subsections (a) through (f) of this section apply beginning with the report due January 15, 2022, pursuant to G.S. 115C‑102.9(b), as enacted by this section, and subdivision (1) of subsection (j) of this section, based on data for the 2021‑2022 school year.

 

WATER AND SEWER SERVICES TO CHARTER SCHOOLS

SECTION 7.64.(a)  G.S. 115C‑521 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑521.  Erection of school buildings.

(d)       Local boards of education shall make no contract for the erection of any school building unless the site upon which it is located is owned in fee simple by the board: local board of education and the local board of education has complied with subsection (i) of this section.

(d1)     Provided, that the Notwithstanding subsection (d) of this section, the local board of education of a local school administrative unit, with the approval of the board of county commissioners, may appropriate funds to aid in the establishment of a school facility and the operation thereof in an adjoining local school administrative unit when a written agreement between the boards of education of the administrative units involved has been reached and the same recorded in the minutes of the boards, whereby children from the administrative unit making the appropriations shall be entitled to attend the school so established. The boards of education shall comply with subsection (i) of this section with respect to securing water and sewer to the school facility.

(d2)     In all cases where title to property has been vested in the trustees of a special charter district which has been abolished and has not been reorganized, title to the property shall be vested in the local board of education of the county embracing the former special charter district.

(i)         Prior to any application for any development approval under Chapter 160D of the General Statutes, the local board of education shall inquire, in writing, of the public water system, public sewer system, or public water and sewer system, currently serving the site or closest to the site as to whether that public system has capacity to serve the proposed school facility. The public system shall respond to the local board of education within a reasonable time, not to exceed 30 days as to whether that public system has capacity to serve the proposed school facility. Unless the public system does not have capacity to serve the proposed school facility or is under a moratorium precluding expansion, the public system shall reserve the necessary capacity for the proposed school facility for 24 months from the date of the written inquiry from the local board of education."

SECTION 7.64.(b)  G.S. 115C‑218.35 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:

"(e)      A charter school shall comply with G.S. 115C‑521(i). For the purpose of this subsection, "charter school" shall mean "local board of education" as it is written in G.S. 115C‑521(i)."

SECTION 7.64.(c)  This section is effective when it becomes law. Any local board of education or charter school denied service by a public water system, public sewer system, or public water and sewer system between October 1, 2020, and the date this section becomes effective may seek reconsideration by the public water system, public sewer system, or public water and sewer system under G.S. 115C‑521(i), as enacted by this act, and notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑521(i), as enacted by this act, the public water system, public sewer system, or public water and sewer system shall have 15 days to respond as to whether that public system has capacity to serve the proposed school facility.

 

REVISE PERSONAL LEAVE COSTS FOR TEACHERS

SECTION 7.67.(a)  G.S. 115C‑302.1(d) reads as rewritten:

"(d)      Personal Leave. – The following shall apply to personal leave:

(1)        Calculation and Benefits. – Teachers earn personal leave at the rate of .20 days for each full month of employment not to exceed two days per year. Personal leave may be accumulated without any applicable maximum until June 30 of each year. A teacher may carry forward to July 1 a maximum of five days of personal leave; the remainder of the teacher's personal leave shall be converted to sick leave on June 30. At the time of retirement, a teacher may also convert accumulated personal leave to sick leave for creditable service towards retirement. Teachers may transfer personal leave days between local school administrative units. The local school administrative unit shall credit a teacher who has separated from service and is reemployed within 60 months from the date of separation with all personal leave accumulated at the time of separation. Local school administrative units shall not advance personal leave.

(2)        Use. – Personal leave may be used only upon the authorization of the teacher's immediate supervisor. A supervisor, as follows:

a.         Unless the request is approved by the principal, a teacher shall not take personal leave on the first day the teacher is required to report for the school year, on a required teacher workday, on days scheduled for State testing, or on the day before or the day after a holiday or scheduled vacation day, unless the request is approved by the principal. day.

b.         On all other days, days other than those referenced in sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision, if the request is made at least five days in advance, the request shall be automatically granted subject to the availability of a substitute teacher, and the teacher cannot be required to provide a reason for the request. Teachers may transfer personal leave days between local school administrative units. The local school administrative unit shall credit a teacher who has separated from service and is reemployed within 60 months from the date of separation with all personal leave accumulated at the time of separation. Local school administrative units shall not advance personal leave.

(3)        Pay. – The cost of personal leave shall be assessed as follows:

a.         Teachers using personal leave on teacher workdays shall receive full salary.

b.         Teachers using personal leave on other days days other than those referenced in sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision shall receive full salary as long as the teacher provides a reason for the request. If the teacher does not provide a reason for the request, the teacher shall receive full salary less the required substitute deduction. If, however, full cost of hiring a substitute for the teacher. If no substitute is hired for a teacher, the any substitute reduction shall be refunded to that teacher."

SECTION 7.67.(b)  This section is effective the date this act becomes law and applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year.

 

PERMANENT CHARTER SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION GRANT PROGRAM

SECTION 7.69.(a)  Article 14A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑218.42.  Charter School Transportation Grant Program.

(a)        Purpose; Definition. – There is established the Charter School Transportation Grant Program (Program). The purpose of the Program shall be to award grant funds to a charter school that meets the requirements of subsection (b) of this section for the reimbursement of up to sixty‑five percent (65%) of the eligible student transportation costs incurred by the school in accordance with the provisions of this section. For purposes of this section, the term "eligible student transportation costs" means costs incurred by the charter school for (i) transportation fuel, (ii) vehicle maintenance, (iii) contracted transportation services, and (iv) transportation personnel salaries.

(b)        Program Eligibility. – If a charter school has student enrollment in a semester of the school year of at least fifty percent (50%) of its students residing in households with an income level not in excess of the amount required for a student to qualify for the federal free or reduced‑price lunch program, the charter school may apply to the Department for grant funds under the Program for reimbursement of up to sixty‑five percent (65%) of the eligible student transportation costs incurred by the school for that semester.

(c)        Applications. – By August 1 of each year, the Department shall establish the criteria and guidelines for the grant application process for the upcoming school year, including any documentation required to be submitted with the application. Each school year, the Department shall accept applications until December 31 for eligible student transportation costs incurred during the fall semester of the school year and until May 15 for eligible student transportation costs incurred during the spring semester of the school year.

(d)       Award of Funds. – From funds made available for the Program, the Department shall award grant funds to the selected charter schools by February 15 for eligible student transportation costs incurred during the fall semester of the same school year and by June 15 for eligible student transportation costs incurred during the spring semester of the prior school year. The total amount of each grant awarded under the Program shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per charter school per school year.

(e)        Reporting. – No later than March 15 of each year in which funds are awarded under the Program, the Department shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Fiscal Research Division on the administration of the Program, including at least the following information:

(1)        The number of charter schools that received grant funds.

(2)        The amount of grant funds awarded to those charter schools.

(3)        Whether implementing the Program has led to an increase in charter schools offering lunch.

(4)        Whether implementing the Program has led to an increase in student lunch participation at charter schools offering lunch.

(5)        Whether implementing the Program has increased or expanded the offering of student transportation by charter schools.

(6)        The modes of student transportation offered by charter schools that received grant funds."

SECTION 7.69.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑218.42, as enacted by this act, for the 2021‑2022 school year, the following modifications shall apply to the time line for the Charter School Transportation Grant Program:

(1)        The Department shall establish criteria and guidelines for the grant application process by January 15, 2022.

(2)        The Department shall accept applications until February 15, 2022, for eligible student transportation costs incurred during the fall semester.

(3)        The Department shall award grant funds to the selected charter schools by March 31, 2022, for eligible student transportation costs incurred during the fall semester.

(4)        The Department shall submit its report pursuant to G.S. 115C‑218.42(e) no later than April 15, 2022.

SECTION 7.69.(c)  This section is effective July 1, 2021, and applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year.

 

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION SUPPORT

SECTION 7.70.(a)  Smart School Bus Safety Pilot Program. – The Department of Public Instruction shall establish the 2021 Smart School Bus Safety Pilot Program (Program), beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year and ending on or before January 1, 2025. The purpose of the Program is to modernize the transportation of public school students through technology in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, as follows:

(1)        Participation. – As part of the Program, participating local school administrative units and charter schools shall identify and contract with qualifying vendors, as determined by the unit or charter school, to provide technology and services for student transportation in accordance with this subsection. Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑240(d), participating local school administrative units and charter schools shall have discretion over the selection of qualifying vendors pursuant to the Program, and the selection of a qualifying vendor shall not be subject to approval by the State Board of Education or the Department of Public Instruction. The following local school administrative units and charter schools are authorized to participate in the Program, subject to the requirements of this subsection:

a.         Burke County Schools.

b.         Caldwell County Schools.

c.         Chatham County Schools.

d.         Clinton City Schools.

e.         Elizabeth City‑Pasquotank Public Schools.

f.          Elkin City Schools.

g.         Gaston County Schools.

h.         Harnett County Schools.

i.          Hickory City Schools.

j.          Iredell‑Statesville Schools.

k.         Johnston County Schools.

l.          Martin County Schools.

m.        New Hanover County Schools.

n.         Sampson County Schools.

o.         Surry County Schools.

p.         Transylvania County Schools.

q.         Union County Public Schools.

r.          Watauga County Schools.

s.          Wayne County Public Schools.

t.          Winston‑Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

u.         Alpha Academy.

v.         Sallie B Howard School.

w.        Sugar Creek Charter.

x.         Thomas Jefferson Classical.

(2)        Option to leave. – Any local school administrative unit or charter school authorized to participate in the Program may elect not to participate. For each local school administrative unit or charter school that elects not to participate in the Program, the Department may authorize one replacement local school administrative unit or charter school with a similar population of students to participate in the Program.

(3)        Technology and services. – Participating units and charter schools shall have discretion over the specific technology and services provided by qualifying vendors as long as the technology and services meet the requirements of either of the following sub‑subdivisions of this subdivision:

a.         Improve communications and information. – Technology and services that meet at least all of the following requirements:

1.         Improve overall communications and reporting on school buses.

2.         Enable employee time tracking, student ridership tracking, and contact tracing in the event of a COVID‑19 infection.

3.         Enable global positioning system (GPS) tracking of school buses.

4.         Enable turn‑by‑turn navigation along bus routes.

5.         Optimize time, expenditure, and safety of bus routes.

6.         Provide pre‑ and post‑trip vehicle inspections that may be transmitted to the Department of Public Instruction on a regular basis.

7.         Communicate ridership information to the student information management system.

8.         Permit parents or legal guardians to access applicable information.

9.         Conform to applicable guidance provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for the transportation of students during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

10.       Facilitate the receipt of Medicaid reimbursement for eligible student transportation services.

b.         Internet connectivity. – Technology and services that provide students on school buses with access to the internet over Wi‑Fi and meet at least all of the following requirements:

1.         Provide participating units and charter schools with customizable connectivity options.

2.         Comply with all State and federal law.

(4)        Miscellaneous. – The following requirements shall apply to each participating local school administrative unit and charter school:

a.         Every school bus in a participating local school administrative unit or charter school designed for the transportation of children with disabilities shall be outfitted with technology provided pursuant to the Program as long as the technology is appropriate for children with disabilities and can be provided in a cost‑effective manner.

b.         At the conclusion of the Program, all hardware provided to a participating local school administrative unit or charter school shall become the property of the unit or charter school.

c.         Participating local school administrative units and charter schools shall make use of technology or services provided pursuant to the Program at least through the conclusion of the 2023‑2024 school year.

(5)        Reports. – No later than July 1, 2022, and annually thereafter in any year in which the Program is in effect, the Department of Public Instruction, in consultation with each participating local school administrative unit and charter school, shall report at least all of the following information to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, any committee constituted by the House of Representatives or Senate to address school safety, and the Fiscal Research Division:

a.         An itemized breakdown of software infrastructure, hardware infrastructure, and equipment provided by qualifying vendors to participating local school administrative units and charter schools pursuant to the Program.

b.         A description of all services provided by qualifying vendors to participating local school administrative units and charter schools pursuant to the Program.

c.         A list of qualifying vendors contracting with participating local school administrative units and charter schools pursuant to the Program.

d.         The impact and effectiveness of the Program.

e.         All expenditures of State funds pursuant to the Program.

SECTION 7.70.(b)  Allocation of Funds for the Program. – Funds appropriated by this act to the Department of Public Instruction from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year for the Program shall be allocated to local school administrative units and charter schools as follows:

(1)        The sum of thirteen million nine hundred seventy thousand dollars ($13,970,000) for the technology and services described in sub‑subdivision a. of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, as follows:

a.         Four hundred seventy‑eight thousand dollars ($478,000) to Burke County Schools.

b.         Five hundred forty thousand dollars ($540,000) to Caldwell County Schools.

c.         Four hundred thirty‑six thousand dollars ($436,000) to Chatham County Schools.

d.         One hundred forty thousand dollars ($140,000) to Clinton City Schools.

e.         Four hundred thirty‑five thousand dollars ($435,000) to Elizabeth City‑Pasquotank Public Schools.

f.          Fifty‑one thousand dollars ($51,000) to Elkin City Schools.

g.         Nine hundred seventy‑eight thousand dollars ($978,000) to Gaston County Schools.

h.         One million sixty thousand dollars ($1,060,000) to Harnett County Schools.

i.          One hundred fifty thousand five hundred dollars ($150,500) to Hickory City Schools.

j.          One million four hundred twenty‑five thousand dollars ($1,425,000) to Johnston County Schools.

k.         Nine hundred twelve thousand dollars ($912,000) to Iredell‑Statesville Schools.

l.          Two hundred seventy‑three thousand dollars ($273,000) to Martin County Schools.

m.        Nine hundred eighty‑four thousand dollars ($984,000) to New Hanover County Schools.

n.         Five hundred twenty thousand dollars ($520,000) to Sampson County Schools.

o.         Four hundred two thousand five hundred dollars ($402,500) to Surry County Schools.

p.         Two hundred thirty‑eight thousand dollars ($238,000) to Transylvania County Schools.

q.         One million six hundred fifty thousand dollars ($1,650,000) to Union County Public Schools.

r.          Three hundred thirty‑seven thousand dollars ($337,000) to Watauga County Schools.

s.          One million seventy‑nine thousand dollars ($1,079,000) to Wayne County Public Schools.

t.          One million four hundred fifty‑six thousand dollars ($1,456,000) to Winston‑Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

u.         Eighty‑one thousand dollars ($81,000) to Alpha Academy.

v.         One hundred thirteen thousand dollars ($113,000) to Sallie B Howard School.

w.        One hundred fifty‑five thousand dollars ($155,000) to Sugar Creek Charter.

x.         Seventy‑six thousand dollars ($76,000) to Thomas Jefferson Classical.

(2)        The sum of four million one hundred seventy‑eight thousand dollars ($4,178,000) for the technology and services described in sub‑subdivision b. of subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, as follows:

a.         One hundred forty‑three thousand dollars ($143,000) to Burke County Schools.

b.         One hundred sixty‑two thousand dollars ($162,000) to Caldwell County Schools.

c.         One hundred thirty thousand dollars ($130,000) to Chatham County Schools.

d.         Forty‑two thousand dollars ($42,000) to Clinton City Schools.

e.         One hundred thirty thousand dollars ($130,000) to Elizabeth City‑Pasquotank Public Schools.

f.          Fifteen thousand five hundred dollars ($15,500) to Elkin City Schools.

g.         Two hundred ninety‑two thousand dollars ($292,000) to Gaston County Schools.

h.         Three hundred seventeen thousand dollars ($317,000) to Harnett County Schools.

i.          Forty‑five thousand dollars ($45,000) to Hickory City Schools.

j.          Four hundred twenty‑six thousand dollars ($426,000) to Johnston County Schools.

k.         Two hundred seventy‑three thousand dollars ($273,000) to Iredell‑Statesville Schools.

l.          Eighty‑two thousand dollars ($82,000) to Martin County Schools.

m.        Two hundred ninety‑four thousand dollars ($294,000) to New Hanover County Schools.

n.         One hundred fifty‑six thousand dollars ($156,000) to Sampson County Schools.

o.         One hundred twenty thousand dollars ($120,000) to Surry County Schools.

p.         Seventy‑one thousand five hundred dollars ($71,500) to Transylvania County Schools.

q.         Four hundred ninety‑three thousand dollars ($493,000) to Union County Public Schools.

r.          One hundred one thousand dollars ($101,000) to Watauga County Schools.

s.          Three hundred twenty‑three thousand dollars ($323,000) to Wayne County Public Schools.

t.          Four hundred thirty‑five thousand dollars ($435,000) to Winston‑Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

u.         Twenty‑four thousand dollars ($24,000) to Alpha Academy.

v.         Thirty‑four thousand dollars ($34,000) to Sallie B Howard School.

w.        Forty‑six thousand dollars ($46,000) to Sugar Creek Charter.

x.         Twenty‑three thousand dollars ($23,000) to Thomas Jefferson Classical.

SECTION 7.70.(c)  Proposal to Add Medicaid Coverage for Transportation Provided by Public School Units. – No later than March 1, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Benefits, and the Department of Public Instruction shall jointly submit a report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee with a proposal for adding the Medicaid coverage for school‑based transportation services described in the November 1, 2016, report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Medicaid and NC Health Choice entitled "Medicaid Coverage for School‑Based Health Services" to the fullest extent allowed by federal Medicaid law and regulations. The proposal shall include all of the following:

(1)        A detailed description of the coverage to be added.

(2)        A detailed description of the required documentation for reimbursement.

(3)        An updated analysis of the fiscal impact both to the Department of Health and Human Services and to all public school units of adding the coverage.

(4)        The identification of any State appropriations needed to implement the coverage.

(5)        A recommended time frame for implementing the coverage.

(6)        Proposed language for any legislative changes needed to implement the coverage.

SECTION 7.70.(d)  Subsections (a) and (b) of this section become effective July 1, 2021. Except as otherwise provided, this section is effective when it becomes law.

 

LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCES SCHOOL PROGRAM

SECTION 7.71.(a)  Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction in this act, the Department shall use the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to contract with the Children and Parent Resource Group, Inc., to design, implement, and evaluate the Life Changing Experiences School Program (Project) in the 2021‑2022 school year. The Project shall be operated and administered for students in grades six through 11 in at least the following local school administrative units: Cleveland County Schools, Greene County Schools, Lenoir County Public Schools, Lincoln County Schools, McDowell County Schools, Mitchell County Schools, and Pitt County Schools. The Department may select one or more additional local school administrative units to participate in the Project if the funds are sufficient to support additional units. These contract funds shall not be used for any purpose other than to implement the Project in the local school administrative units, which consists of interactive, holistic, and evidence‑based multimedia education programs that are screened via in‑person school assemblies, internet‑based and synchronized remote access, or a combination of the two. The Project shall include theme‑specific programs and certain additional follow‑up applications that address dangerous life‑ and community‑threatening activities that negatively impact teenagers, including alcohol and other drugs, dangerous driving, violence, and bullying. The goal of these programs is to increase positive intentions and behavioral outcomes by teaching students the techniques and skills that empower them to reach meaningful life goals, employ positive behaviors, and start businesses and social enterprises.

SECTION 7.71.(b)  The Children and Parent Resource Group, Inc., in consultation with the Department of Public Instruction, shall submit a report on the Project authorized by subsection (a) of this section by March 1, 2022, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division. Each report shall include an accounting of expenditures and student outcome data related to the operation of the Project.

 

INNOVATIVE SIGNATURE CAREER ACADEMY PILOT

SECTION 7.72.(a)  Establish; Purpose. – There is established the Innovative Signature Career Academy Program (Program) as a pilot program to be implemented in Guilford County Schools for the purpose of reforming its current career and technical education (CTE) program to more deliberately prepare its students for high‑wage, high‑skills careers. The Program shall focus on hosting signature career academies at traditional high schools located in the local school administrative unit that specialize in defined areas of career and technical education.

SECTION 7.72.(b)  Components of the Program. – The Program shall include at least the following key components in establishing a minimum of four but no more than six signature career academies at high schools in the local school administrative unit:

(1)        One school‑selected priority career pathway that does not compete with career pathways at other signature career academies in the local school administrative unit in addition to CTE courses offered as elective options and business and computer science courses.

(2)        School and community stakeholder input on the development of the priority career pathways and the phaseout of other CTE programs.

(3)        Partnerships with higher education institutions and business and industry entities for specific equipment needs and the design of clearly defined career pathways.

(4)        The option for eighth grade students to apply to attend a signature career academy of their choice at a high school located in the local school administrative unit.

(5)        Reassignment of current CTE teachers to focus on an area of expertise for a signature career academy and the creation of partnerships with higher education faculty and employees of industry and business to volunteer to serve as co‑teachers in the specialized areas.

SECTION 7.72.(c)  Flexibility for Teachers. – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in addition to the authority provided to a local board of education to employ adjunct instructors in career and technical education career clusters pursuant to G.S. 115C‑157.1, the local school administrative unit shall have the flexibility to contract with individuals who have education and training related to the specific skills and career pathways that are the focus of a signature career academy. Any individual who has direct contact with students pursuant to the authority provided by this subsection shall be subject to a criminal history check to ensure that the person has not been convicted of any crime listed in G.S. 115C‑332.

SECTION 7.72.(d)  Reporting. – By June 30 of the first school year of operation of the Program, and every June 30 thereafter for the duration of the Program operated as a pilot, Guilford County Schools shall report to the Department of Public Instruction on (i) implementation and administration of the Program, including the use of additional resources provided as an appropriation of State funds specifically for the Program, (ii) data from the Program on student completion rates for career pathways and any other data requested by the Department, and (iii) any recommendations on the modification of the Program or the potential application of the Program in other local school administrative units.

By August 15 of the first year of reporting by Guilford County Schools under this subsection, and every August 15 thereafter for the duration of the Program operated as a pilot, the Department of Public Instruction shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the information submitted by Guilford County Schools pursuant to this subsection.

SECTION 7.72.(e)  Term of the Program. – The Program may operate for up to six school years as a pilot program, beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year. Before the end of the school year in which the Program will expire as a pilot, the Guilford County Board of Education may apply to the State Board of Education for the Program to be included as an ongoing component of Guilford County Schools' career and technical education local plan submitted to the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C‑154.1. In operating the Program in subsequent school years, Guilford County Schools shall continue to have flexibility in regard to teachers as provided in subsection (c) of this section. The Guilford County Board of Education may request as part of the application that the General Assembly appropriate additional resources for the operation of the Program but may continue to operate the Program if other sources of funds are available. The State Board shall consider the data submitted to the Department of Public Instruction on the operation of the Program pursuant to subsection (d) of this section when reviewing the Program to become a component of the career and technical education local plan.

 

CLARIFY REPORTING ON TEACHER VACANCIES

SECTION 7.78.(a)  G.S. 115C‑299.5 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑299.5.  Duty to monitor the state of the teaching profession.

(a)        Definitions. – As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Hard‑to‑staff school. – Any school identified as low‑performing, as provided in G.S. 115C‑105.37.

(2)        Hard‑to‑staff subject area. – A subject area that is either of the following:

a.         As defined by the United States Department of Education.

b.         A subject area that has resulted in a long‑term vacancy of 16 months or more at a particular school in a local school administrative unit.

(3)        Teacher vacancy. – A teaching position that a local board of education is unable to fill with a teacher licensed in that subject area, including a position that meets any of the following criteria:

a.         Is not filled by a teacher who has one of the following licenses in the subject area of the position:

1.         Continuing Professional License.

2.         Initial Professional License.

3.         Lifetime License.

4.         Limited License.

5.         Residency License.

b.         Is not filled by a licensed teacher in a permanent assignment.

c.         Is filled by a substitute teacher or interim teacher.

d.         Is filled by a teacher with (i) an emergency license or (ii) another permit or license not included in sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision.

(b)        State of the Teaching Profession Report. – The State Board of Education shall monitor and compile an annual report by December 15 annually on the state of the teaching profession in North Carolina that includes data on the decisions of teachers to leave the teaching profession and vacancies in teaching positions as provided in subsections (c) and (e) of this section. The State Board shall adopt standard procedures for each local board of education to use in requesting information required by this report and shall require each local board of education to report the information to the State Board in a standard format adopted by the State Board.

(c)        Teachers Leaving the Profession. – The report shall include the following data on the decisions of teachers to leave the teaching profession in the prior school year:

(1)        The number of teachers who left the profession without remaining in the field of education and the reasons for teachers leaving the profession.

(2)        The number of teachers who left their employment to teach in other states.

(3)        The number of teachers who left their employment to work in another school in North Carolina, including nonpublic schools and charter schools.

(4)        The number of teachers who left a classroom position for another type of educational position.

(5)        The number of teachers who left employment in hard‑to‑staff schools.

(6)        The number of teachers who left employment in hard‑to‑staff subject areas.

(d)       Teacher Effectiveness. – The annual teacher transition report by the State Board of Education shall disaggregate the data included in subsection (c) of this section by teacher effectiveness status at a statewide level. The report shall not disaggregate data on teacher effectiveness status at a local school administrative unit level. Notwithstanding Article 21A of this Chapter, local school administrative units shall provide to the State Board of Education, for the purposes of this report, any North Carolina Educator Evaluation System (NCEES) effectiveness status assigned to teachers who left employment. The State Board of Education shall not report disaggregated data that reveals confidential information in a teacher's personnel file, as defined by Article 21A of this Chapter, such as making the effectiveness status personally identifiable to an individual teacher.

(e)        Teacher Vacancies. – The report shall include data on teaching positions that local boards of education are unable to fill with a teacher licensed in that subject area teacher vacancies by the fortieth school instructional day of the local school administrative unit's calendar. The report shall aggregate all data to provide both statewide information and information specific to each local school administrative units, unit, including the following:

(1)        The number of teacher vacancies by subject area.

(2)        The number of teacher vacancies by school with identification of hard‑to‑staff schools.

(f)        Teacher Licensure. – The report shall include the number of teachers in each of the following licensure categories, by subject area, aggregated to provide statewide information and information specific to each local school administrative unit and school:

(1)        Continuing Professional License.

(2)        Initial Professional License.

(3)        Lifetime License.

(4)        Limited License.

(5)        Residency License.

(6)        Emergency License."

SECTION 7.78.(b)  No later than December 15, 2021, the Department of Public Instruction shall provide guidance to local school administrative units on positions considered vacant for purposes of the report required pursuant to G.S. 115C‑299.5(e), as amended by this section. That guidance shall include at least the following direction:

(1)        A teaching position filled by a teacher with a lateral entry license shall not be considered vacant.

(2)        A teaching position filled by a teacher who has been issued a permit to teach pursuant to 16 NCAC 06C .0346 or other applicable rule or policy shall be considered vacant.

SECTION 7.78.(c)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑299.5, as amended by this section, the State Board of Education shall submit its State of the Teaching Profession Report for the 2021‑2022 school year no later than January 15, 2022.

SECTION 7.78.(d)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

INTERNET‑BASED SCHOOL BUSINESS SYSTEMS/SCHOOL BUSINESS SYSTEM MODERNIZATION FUNDS GRANT PROGRAM

SECTION 7.79.(a)  Beginning with the 2021‑2022 school year, local boards of education and charter schools shall ensure that all school business systems are (i) housed off the property of the unit or school and (ii) composed of internet‑based software.

SECTION 7.79.(b)  From funds available to the Department of Public Instruction for the School Business System Modernization Plan for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the Department shall establish a grant program for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to provide funds to eligible local school administrative units and charter schools to transition from school business systems that are located on the premises of the local school administrative unit or charter school to internet‑based school business systems. A local school administrative unit or charter school is eligible to receive funds under the grant program if the school does not participate in the School Business System Modernization Plan. Funds shall be provided to local school administrative units and charter schools in appropriate amounts, as determined by the Department.

 

SCHOLARPATH

SECTION 7.81.(a)  Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction in this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the Department shall use one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) in nonrecurring funds to contract with MyScholar, LLC, to use the ScholarPath platform to create the Twelfth Grade Transition Pilot. The Twelfth Grade Transition Pilot program shall consist of an education planning and communication platform that helps students and parents prepare for the twelfth‑grade transition by utilizing O*NET Data to connect and match students to current opportunities in high‑demand careers while protecting student data through de‑individualized methods.

 

CIPA COMPLIANCE CONTRACT

SECTION 7.83.(a)  Of the funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction in this act for the Digital Learning Plan, as set out in S.L. 2016‑94, the Department shall use up to four hundred fifty thousand dollars ($450,000) of recurring funds that are unused in each fiscal year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium to contract with the digital literacy curriculum provider selected via the competitive procurement process pursuant to Section 7.23K of S.L. 2017‑57 to establish a statewide program available to all public school units for up to three years, beginning in the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and ending in the 2023‑2024 fiscal year, to ensure compliance with P.L. 106‑554, the Children's Internet Protection Act.

SECTION 7.83.(b)  The funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction for the Digital Learning Plan shall not revert to the General Fund at the end of each fiscal year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium but shall remain available until expended. It is the intent of the General Assembly to enact similar authority for the Department to use unexpended funds for the Digital Learning Plan as provided in this subsection for the 2023‑2024 fiscal year.

 

GIZELLA ABRAMSON HOLOCAUST EDUCATION ACT

SECTION 7.84.(a)  The General Assembly finds that:

(1)        Knowledge of the Holocaust is essential to provide students with the fundamental understanding of geography, history, and political systems necessary to make informed choices on issues that affect individuals, communities, states, and nations.

(2)        On May 29, 2020, the United States Congress enacted into law the "Never Again Education Act" (P.L. 116‑141) recognizing the importance of institutionalizing education about the events of the Holocaust and providing that "Holocaust education provides a context in which to learn about the danger of what can happen when hate goes unchallenged and there is indifference in the face of oppression of others; learning how and why the Holocaust happened is an important component of the education of citizens of the United States."

(3)        The term "antisemitism" is defined in the Never Again Education Act as "a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non‑Jewish individuals or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

(4)        The term "Holocaust" is defined in the Never Again Education Act as "the systematic, bureaucratic, state‑sponsored persecution and murder of 6,000,000 Jews by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators. During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority," such as Roma, the disabled, and Slavs. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals."

(5)        "Holocaust denial and distortion" is defined in the Never Again Education Act as "discourse and propaganda that deny the historical reality and the extent of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II, known as the Holocaust. Holocaust denial refers specifically to any attempt to claim that the Holocaust did not take place. Holocaust distortion refers to efforts to excuse or minimize the events of the Holocaust or its principal elements, including collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany, to blame the Jews for causing their own genocide, or to portray the Holocaust as a positive historical event."

(6)        The Never Again Education Act recognizes "a national imperative to educate students in the United States so that they may explore the lessons that the Holocaust provides for all people, sensitize communities to the circumstances that gave rise to the Holocaust, and help youth to be less susceptible to the falsehood of Holocaust denial and distortion and to the destructive messages of hate that arise from Holocaust denial and distortion."

(7)        While recognizing those states that by law require schools to teach students about the Holocaust, the Never Again Education Act finds that "more schools and teachers, including those in underserved communities, can and should deliver quality Holocaust education."

(8)        To that end, the Never Again Education Act provides for the development and dissemination of accurate, relevant, and accessible digital and other resources to promote understanding about how and why the Holocaust happened, along with the development, dissemination, and implementation of principles of sound pedagogy and best practices for educators for teaching about the Holocaust, and the encouragement of the adoption of resources supported by that Act into curricula across diverse disciplines to educate individuals on the lessons of the Holocaust as a means to raise awareness about the importance of preventing genocide, hate, and bigotry against any group of people.

SECTION 7.84.(b)  Part 1 of Article 8 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑81.57.  Education on the Holocaust and genocide.

(a)        This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act."

(b)        The State Board of Education shall review the middle school and high school standard course of study and, in consultation and coordination with the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, shall (i) integrate into English, social studies courses, and other courses, as appropriate, education on the Holocaust and genocide and (ii) develop a curriculum for a Holocaust Studies elective that may be offered in middle schools and high schools of local school administrative units.

(c)        The Department of Public Instruction shall provide or cause to be provided curriculum content, and local boards of education shall provide or cause to be provided professional development to ensure that the intent and provisions of this section are effectively implemented. The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust and the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching may, in consultation with the Department of Public Instruction and local boards of education, provide curriculum content and professional development.

(d)       The State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction shall review resources and programs developed pursuant to the Never Again Education Act (P.L. 116‑141) in satisfying their obligations under this section.

(e)        For any standards, curriculum content, professional development, or other materials developed pursuant to this section, the following terms shall be utilized and defined consistent with their definitions in section 3 of the Never Again Education Act (P.L. 116‑141):

(1)        Antisemitism.

(2)        Holocaust.

(3)        Holocaust denial and distortion."

SECTION 7.84.(c)  This section is effective when it becomes law and applies beginning with the 2023‑2024 school year.

 

DUAL ENROLLMENT/OPPORTUNITY STUDY

SECTION 7.85.  The State Board of Education shall partner with a third‑party entity to conduct a study examining the factors impacting all students' ability to complete high school courses leading to college credit, an associate degree, or a career‑ready credential, including an examination of opportunity, resources, fees, and personnel. The study shall also include an examination of all dual enrollment courses offered as part of the Career and College Promise Program that satisfy basic high school graduation requirements to ensure that the content and skills taught in those courses is aligned to the content and skills outlined in the Standard Course of Study for the requisite courses that meet graduation requirements. The study shall identify if dual enrollment courses are or are not aligned with the Standard Course of Study and, if not aligned, what content or skills are not aligned. The State Board of Education shall report on the findings of this study to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Office of State Budget and Management by March 15, 2022.

 

PART VII‑A. Compensation of Public School Employees

 

TEACHER SALARY SCHEDULE

SECTION 7A.1.(a)  The following monthly teacher salary schedule shall apply for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to licensed personnel of the public schools who are classified as teachers. The salary schedule is based on years of teaching experience.

2021‑2022 Teacher Monthly Salary Schedule

Years of Experience                                                              "A" Teachers

0                                                                                         $3,546

1                                                                                         $3,647

2                                                                                         $3,748

3                                                                                         $3,849

4                                                                                         $3,951

5                                                                                         $4,052

6                                                                                         $4,153

7                                                                                         $4,255

8                                                                                         $4,356

9                                                                                         $4,457

10                                                                                       $4,559

11                                                                                       $4,660

12                                                                                       $4,761

13                                                                                       $4,862

14                                                                                       $4,964

15‑24                                                                                  $5,065

25+                                                                                     $5,268.

SECTION 7A.1.(b)  Salary Supplements for Teachers Paid on This Salary Schedule. –

(1)        Licensed teachers who have NBPTS certification shall receive a salary supplement each month of twelve percent (12%) of their monthly salary on the "A" salary schedule.

(2)        Licensed teachers who are classified as "M" teachers shall receive a salary supplement each month of ten percent (10%) of their monthly salary on the "A" salary schedule.

(3)        Licensed teachers with licensure based on academic preparation at the six‑year degree level shall receive a salary supplement of one hundred twenty‑six dollars ($126.00) per month in addition to the supplement provided to them as "M" teachers.

(4)        Licensed teachers with licensure based on academic preparation at the doctoral degree level shall receive a salary supplement of two hundred fifty‑three dollars ($253.00) per month in addition to the supplement provided to them as "M" teachers.

(5)        Certified school nurses shall receive a salary supplement each month of ten percent (10%) of their monthly salary on the "A" salary schedule.

(6)        School counselors who are licensed as counselors at the master's degree level or higher shall receive a salary supplement each month of one hundred dollars ($100.00).

SECTION 7A.1.(c)  For school psychologists, school speech pathologists who are licensed as speech pathologists at the master's degree level or higher, and school audiologists who are licensed as audiologists at the master's degree level or higher, the following shall apply:

(1)        The first step of the salary schedule shall be equivalent to the sixth step of the "A" salary schedule.

(2)        These employees shall receive the following salary supplements each month:

a.         Ten percent (10%) of their monthly salary, excluding the supplement provided pursuant to sub‑subdivision b. of this subdivision.

b.         Three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00).

(3)        These employees are eligible to receive salary supplements equivalent to those of teachers for academic preparation at the six‑year degree level or the doctoral degree level.

(4)        The twenty‑sixth step of the salary schedule shall be seven and one‑half percent (7.5%) higher than the salary received by these same employees on the twenty‑fifth step of the salary schedule.

SECTION 7A.1.(d)  Beginning with the 2014‑2015 fiscal year, in lieu of providing annual longevity payments to teachers paid on the teacher salary schedule, the amounts of those longevity payments are included in the monthly amounts under the teacher salary schedule.

SECTION 7A.1.(e)  A teacher compensated in accordance with this salary schedule for the 2021‑2022 school year shall receive an amount equal to the greater of the following:

(1)        The applicable amount on the salary schedule for the applicable school year.

(2)        For teachers who were eligible for longevity for the 2013‑2014 school year, the sum of the following:

a.         The salary the teacher received in the 2013‑2014 school year pursuant to Section 35.11 of S.L. 2013‑360.

b.         The longevity that the teacher would have received under the longevity system in effect for the 2013‑2014 school year provided in Section 35.11 of S.L. 2013‑360 based on the teacher's current years of service.

c.         The annual bonus provided in Section 9.1(e) of S.L. 2014‑100.

(3)        For teachers who were not eligible for longevity for the 2013‑2014 school year, the sum of the salary and annual bonus the teacher received in the 2014‑2015 school year pursuant to Section 9.1 of S.L. 2014‑100.

SECTION 7A.1.(f)  As used in this section, the term "teacher" shall also include instructional support personnel.

SECTION 7A.1.(g)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to implement the following base monthly teacher salary schedule for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year to licensed personnel of the public schools who are classified as teachers. The salary schedule is based on years of teaching experience.

2022‑2023 Teacher Monthly Salary Schedule

Years of Experience                                                              "A" Teachers

0                                                                                         $3,592

1                                                                                         $3,694

2                                                                                         $3,797

3                                                                                         $3,899

4                                                                                         $4,002

5                                                                                         $4,105

6                                                                                         $4,207

7                                                                                         $4,310

8                                                                                         $4,413

9                                                                                         $4,515

10                                                                                       $4,618

11                                                                                       $4,721

12                                                                                       $4,823

13                                                                                       $4,925

14                                                                                       $5,029

15‑24                                                                                  $5,131

25+                                                                                     $5,336.

SECTION 7A.1.(h)  G.S. 115C‑302.10 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑302.10.  Qualifications for certain education‑based salary supplements.

Notwithstanding Section 35.11 of S.L. 2013‑360, any other provision of law, only the following teachers and instructional support personnel shall be paid on the "M" salary schedule or receive a salary supplement for academic preparation at the six‑year degree level or at the doctoral degree level for the 2014‑2015 school year and subsequent school years:level:

(1)        Certified school nurses and instructional support personnel in positions for which a master's degree is required for licensure.

(2)        Teachers and instructional support personnel who were paid on that salary schedule or received that salary supplement prior to the 2014‑2015 school year.

(3)        Teachers and instructional support personnel who (i) complete a degree at the master's, six‑year, or doctoral degree level for which they completed at least one course prior to August 1, 2013, and (ii) would have qualified for the salary supplement pursuant to State Board of Education policy TCP‑A‑006, as it was in effect on June 30, 2013."

 

SUPPORT HIGHLY QUALIFIED NC TEACHING GRADUATES

SECTION 7A.2.(a)  Article 20 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 115C‑302.7.  Salary supplement for highly qualified teaching graduates.

(a)        For purposes of this section, a "highly qualified graduate" or "graduate" is an individual entering the teaching profession who has graduated from an approved educator preparation program located in North Carolina who has both of the following:

(1)        A grade point average of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent.

(2)        A score of the following or higher on an edTPA assessment or an equivalent score on a nationally normed and valid pedagogy assessment used to determine clinical practice performance:

a.         A score of 42 for the World Languages and Classical Languages edTPA assessment.

b.         A score of 57 for the Elementary Education edTPA assessment.

c.         A score of 48 for all other edTPA assessments.

(b)        Notwithstanding any other provision of law, to the extent funds are made available for this purpose, a highly qualified graduate who is employed by a local board of education shall receive a salary supplement each month at the highest level for which the graduate qualifies as follows:

(1)        A graduate who accepts initial employment at a school identified as low‑performing by the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C‑105.37 shall receive a salary supplement during the graduate's first three years of employment as a teacher, without a break in service, equivalent to the difference between the State‑funded salary of the graduate and the State‑funded salary of a similarly situated teacher with three years of experience on the "A" Teachers Salary Schedule, as long as the graduate (i) remains teaching at the same school or (ii) accepts subsequent employment at another low‑performing school or local school administrative unit identified as low‑performing.

(2)        A graduate licensed and employed to teach in the areas of special education, science, technology, engineering, or mathematics shall receive a salary supplement during the graduate's first two years of employment as a teacher, without a break in service, equivalent to the difference between the State‑funded salary of the graduate and the State‑funded salary of a similarly situated teacher with two years of experience on the "A" Teachers Salary Schedule, as long as the graduate continues teaching in one of those areas.

(3)        All other graduates shall receive a salary supplement during the graduate's first year of employment as a teacher, without a break in service, equivalent to the difference between the State‑funded salary of the graduate and the State‑funded salary of a similarly situated teacher with one year of experience on the "A" Teachers Salary Schedule."

SECTION 7A.2.(b)  This section becomes effective July 1, 2021, and applies to highly qualified graduates hired on or after that date.

 

BONUSES FOR TEACHERS

SECTION 7A.3.(a)  No later than January 31, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction shall administer a one‑time, lump sum bonus of three hundred dollars ($300.00) to every teacher whose salaries are supported from State funds and who, as of January 1, 2022, is employed as a teacher in a qualifying public school unit.

SECTION 7A.3.(b)  As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)        Teacher. – Teachers and instructional support personnel.

(2)        Qualifying public school unit. – Any of the following:

a.         A local school administrative unit.

b.         A charter school.

c.         A regional school.

d.         An innovative school.

e.         A laboratory school under Article 29A of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes.

SECTION 7A.3.(c)  The bonuses awarded pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any regular wage or other bonus the teacher receives or is scheduled to receive.

SECTION 7A.3.(d)  Notwithstanding G.S. 135‑1(7a), the bonuses awarded pursuant to this section are not compensation under Article 1 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes, Retirement System for Teachers and State Employees.

SECTION 7A.3.(e)  For charter schools, regional schools, innovative schools, and laboratory schools, the Department of Public Instruction shall allocate funds for the bonuses provided pursuant to this section on the basis of the funded average daily membership of each school.

SECTION 7A.3.(f)  It is the intent of the General Assembly that funds provided pursuant to this section will supplement teacher compensation and not supplant local funds.

SECTION 7A.3.(g)  For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, funds appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction for the following bonus programs shall instead be used for bonuses for teachers in accordance with subsections (a) through (f) of this section:

(1)        The Third Grade Read to Achieve Teacher Bonus Program provided in Section 8.8C of S.L. 2017‑57, as amended by Section 2.10 of S.L. 2017‑97 and Section 8.10 of S.L. 2018‑5.

(2)        The Fourth and Fifth Grade Reading Teacher Bonus Program provided in Section 8.8D of S.L. 2017‑57, as amended by Section 8.11 of S.L. 2018‑5.

(3)        The Fourth to Eighth Grade Math Teacher Bonus Program provided in Section 8.8E of S.L. 2017‑57, as amended by Section 8.12 of S.L. 2018‑5.

SECTION 7A.3.(h)  For the 2022‑2023 fiscal year and subsequent fiscal years, it is the intent of the General Assembly to reauthorize bonuses for teachers based on the criteria used in the programs identified in subdivisions (1) through (3) of subsection (g) of this section.

 

ADVANCED COURSE AND CTE TEACHER BONUSES

SECTION 7A.4.(a)  Establish Advanced Course and CTE Bonus Program. – The State Board of Education shall establish a teacher bonus program for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium to reward teacher performance and encourage student learning and improvement. To attain this goal, the Department of Public Instruction shall administer bonus pay to qualifying teachers whose salaries are supported from State funds in January of 2022 and January of 2023, based on data from the 2020‑2021 and 2021‑2022 school years, respectively, in accordance with this section.

SECTION 7A.4.(b)  Definitions. – For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)        Eligible advanced course teacher. – A teacher of Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme courses, or the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) program who meets the following criteria:

a.         Is employed by, or retired having last held a position at, one or more of the following:

1.         A qualifying public school unit.

2.         The North Carolina Virtual Public School program.

b.         Taught one or more students who received a score listed in subsection (c) of this section.

(2)        Eligible career and technical education (CTE) teacher. – A teacher who meets the following criteria:

a.         Is employed by, or retired having last held a position at, a qualifying public school unit.

b.         Taught one or more students who attained approved industry certifications or credentials consistent with G.S. 115C‑156.2.

(3)        Qualifying public school unit. – Any of the following:

a.         A local school administrative unit.

b.         A charter school.

c.         A regional school.

d.         A school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by the State Board of Education under Article 7A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

e.         A school providing elementary or secondary instruction operated by The University of North Carolina under Article 29A of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes.

(4)        Qualifying teacher. – An eligible advanced course teacher or eligible career and technical education teacher who meets one of the following criteria:

a.         Remains employed teaching in the same qualifying public school unit, or, if an eligible advanced course teacher is only employed by the North Carolina Virtual Public School program, remains employed teaching in that program, at least from the school year the data is collected until January 1 of the corresponding school year that the bonus is paid.

b.         Retired, between the last day of the school year in which the data is collected and January 1 of the corresponding school year in which the bonus is paid, after attaining one of the following:

1.         The age of at least 65 with five years of creditable service.

2.         The age of at least 60 with 25 years of creditable service.

3.         Thirty years of creditable service.

SECTION 7A.4.(c)  Advanced Course Bonuses. – A bonus in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) shall be provided to qualifying advanced course teachers for each student taught in each advanced course who receives the following score:

(1)        For Advanced Placement courses, a score of three or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination.

(2)        For International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme courses, a score of four or higher on the International Baccalaureate course examination.

(3)        For the Cambridge AICE program, a score of "C" or higher on the Cambridge AICE program examinations.

SECTION 7A.4.(d)  CTE Bonuses. – For qualifying career and technical education teachers, bonuses shall be provided in the following amounts:

(1)        A bonus in the amount of twenty‑five dollars ($25.00) for each student taught by a teacher who provided instruction in a course that led to the attainment of an industry certification or credential with a twenty‑five dollar ($25.00) value ranking as determined under subsection (e) of this section.

(2)        A bonus in the amount of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each student taught by a teacher who provided instruction in a course that led to the attainment of an industry certification or credential with a fifty dollar ($50.00) value ranking as determined under subsection (e) of this section.

SECTION 7A.4.(e)  CTE Course Value Ranking. – The Department of Commerce, in consultation with the State Board, shall assign a value ranking for each industry certification and credential based on academic rigor and employment value in accordance with this subsection. Fifty percent (50%) of the ranking shall be based on academic rigor and the remaining fifty percent (50%) on employment value. Academic rigor and employment value shall be based on the following elements:

(1)        Academic rigor shall be based on the number of instructional hours, including work experience or internship hours, required to earn the industry certification or credential, with extra weight given for coursework that also provides community college credit.

(2)        Employment value shall be based on the entry wage, growth rate in employment for each occupational category, and average annual openings for the primary occupation linked with the industry certification or credential.

SECTION 7A.4.(f)  Limitation on Bonus Funds. – Bonus funds awarded to a teacher pursuant to subsection (c) or subsection (d) of this section shall not exceed three thousand five hundred dollars ($3,500) per subsection in any given school year.

SECTION 7A.4.(g)  Bonuses Not Compensation. – Bonuses awarded to a teacher pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any regular wage or other bonus the teacher receives or is scheduled to receive. Notwithstanding G.S. 135‑1(7a), the bonuses awarded under this section are not compensation under Article 1 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes, Retirement System for Teachers and State Employees.

SECTION 7A.4.(h)  Study and Report. – The State Board of Education shall study the effect of the program on teacher performance and retention. The State Board shall report the results of its findings and the amount of bonuses awarded to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division by March 15 of each year bonuses are awarded. The report shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

(1)        Number of students enrolled and taking examinations in each of the following categories of courses:

a.         Advanced Placement.

b.         International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

c.         Cambridge AICE program.

d.         Courses needed for the attainment of an industry certification or credential.

(2)        Number of students receiving outcomes on examinations resulting in the award of a bonus for a teacher in each category of courses identified in sub‑subdivision a. of subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(3)        Number of teachers receiving a bonus in each category of courses identified in sub‑subdivision a. of subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(4)        The amounts awarded to teachers for each category of courses identified in sub‑subdivision a. of subdivision (1) of this subsection.

(5)        The type of industry certifications and credentials earned by the students, the value ranking for each certification and credential, the number of bonuses earned for each certification or credential, and the total bonus amount awarded for each certification or credential.

 

SMALL COUNTY AND LOW‑WEALTH SIGNING BONUS FOR TEACHERS

SECTION 7A.5.(a)  Definitions. – For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)        Eligible employee. – A person who meets all of the following criteria:

a.         Accepts employment as a teacher with an eligible employer for the 2021‑2022 school year.

b.         Was not employed by the eligible employer identified in sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision in the 2020‑2021 fiscal year.

c.         Is employed by the eligible employer identified in sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision as of October 1, 2021.

(2)        Eligible employer. – The governing board of a local school administrative unit that receives at least one of the following in the 2021‑2022 fiscal year:

a.         Small county school system supplemental funding.

b.         Supplemental funding for local school administrative units in low‑wealth counties.

(3)        Local funds. – Matching funds provided by an eligible employer to enable an eligible employee to qualify for the signing bonus program established by this section.

(4)        Teacher. – Teachers and instructional support personnel.

SECTION 7A.5.(b)  Signing Bonus Program. – For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the Department of Public Instruction shall establish and administer a signing bonus program for teachers. Signing bonuses shall be provided to all eligible employees who are employed by an eligible employer as long as they are matched on the basis of one dollar ($1.00) in State funds for every one dollar ($1.00) in local funds, up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) in State funds.

SECTION 7A.5.(c)  Limited Exclusion from Future Signing Bonuses. – A teacher who receives a signing bonus pursuant to this section is ineligible to receive another signing bonus pursuant to this section or a similar enactment of the General Assembly until July 1, 2024, at the earliest. This section shall not apply to any legislatively mandated bonuses received by teachers that are not signing bonuses.

SECTION 7A.5.(d)  Bonuses as Additions. – The bonuses awarded pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any regular wage or other bonus a teacher receives or is scheduled to receive.

SECTION 7A.5.(e)  Not for Retirement. – Notwithstanding G.S. 135‑1(7a), the bonuses awarded pursuant to this section are not compensation under Article 1 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes, Retirement System for Teachers and State Employees.

SECTION 7A.5.(f)  Future Signing Bonuses. – It is the intent of the General Assembly to provide additional signing bonuses for eligible employees in the 2022‑2023 fiscal year.

 

PRINCIPAL SALARY SCHEDULE

SECTION 7A.6.(a)  The following annual salary schedule for principals shall apply for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021:

2021‑2022 Principal Annual Salary Schedule

Avg. Daily Membership              Base                      Met Growth         Exceeded Growth

0‑200                                       $69,828                 $76,811                 $83,794

201‑400                                   $73,319                 $80,651                 $87,983

401‑700                                   $76,811                 $84,492                 $92,173

701‑1,000                                $80,302                 $88,332                 $96,362

1,001‑1,600                             $83,794                 $92,173                 $100,553

1,601+                                     $87,285                 $96,014                 $104,742.

A principal's placement on the salary schedule shall be determined according to the average daily membership of the school supervised by the principal, as described in subsection (b) of this section, and the school growth scores, calculated pursuant to G.S. 115C‑83.15(c), for each school the principal supervised in at least two of the prior three school years, as described in subsection (c) of this section, regardless of a break in service, and provided the principal supervised each school as a principal for at least a majority of the school year, as follows:

(1)        A principal shall be paid according to the Exceeded Growth column of the schedule if the school growth scores show the school or schools exceeded expected growth in at least two of the prior three school years.

(2)        A principal shall be paid according to the Met Growth column of the schedule if any of the following apply:

a.         The school growth scores show the school or schools met expected growth in at least two of the prior three school years.

b.         The school growth scores show the school or schools met expected growth in at least one of the prior three school years and exceeded expected growth in one of the prior three school years.

c.         The principal supervised a school in at least two of the prior three school years that was not eligible to receive a school growth score.

(3)        A principal shall be paid according to the Base column if either of the following applies:

a.         The school growth scores show the school or schools did not meet expected growth in at least two of the prior three years.

b.         The principal has not supervised any school as a principal for a majority of the school year in at least two of the prior three school years.

SECTION 7A.6.(b)  For purposes of determining the average daily membership of a principal's school, the following amounts shall be used during the following time periods:

(1)        Between July 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021, the average daily membership for the school from the 2019‑2020 school year. If the school did not have an average daily membership in the 2019‑2020 school year, the projected average daily membership for the school for the 2021‑2022 school year.

(2)        Between January 1, 2022, and June 30, 2022, the average daily membership for the school for the 2021‑2022 school year.

SECTION 7A.6.(c)  For purposes of determining the school growth scores for each school the principal supervised in at least two of the prior three school years, school growth scores from the three most recent available school years, up to the 2018‑2019 school year, shall be used.

SECTION 7A.6.(d)  Beginning with the 2017‑2018 fiscal year, in lieu of providing annual longevity payments to principals paid on the principal salary schedule, the amounts of those longevity payments are included in the annual amounts under the principal salary schedule.

SECTION 7A.6.(e)  A principal compensated in accordance with this section for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall receive an amount equal to the greater of the following:

(1)        The applicable amount on the salary schedule for the applicable year.

(2)        For principals who were eligible for longevity in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year, the sum of the following:

a.         The salary the principal received in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year pursuant to Section 9.1 or Section 9.2 of S.L. 2016‑94.

b.         The longevity that the principal would have received as provided for State employees under the North Carolina Human Resources Act for the 2016‑2017 fiscal year based on the principal's current years of service.

(3)        For principals who were not eligible for longevity in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year, the salary the principal received in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year pursuant to Section 9.1 or Section 9.2 of S.L. 2016‑94.

SECTION 7A.6.(f)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to implement the following annual salary schedule for principals for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2022:

2022‑2023 Principal Annual Salary Schedule

Avg. Daily Membership              Base                      Met Growth         Exceeded Growth

0‑200                                       $71,574                 $78,731                 $85,889

201‑400                                   $75,153                 $82,668                 $90,184

401‑700                                   $78,731                 $86,604                 $94,477

701‑1,000                                $82,310                 $90,541                 $98,772

1,001‑1,600                             $85,889                 $94,478                 $103,067

1,601+                                     $89,468                 $98,415                 $107,362.

 

BONUSES FOR PRINCIPALS

SECTION 7A.7.(a)  No later than January 31, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction shall administer a one‑time, lump sum bonus of one thousand eight hundred dollars ($1,800) to every principal in a public school unit whose salaries are supported from State funds and who, as of January 1, 2022, is employed as a principal in a public school unit.

SECTION 7A.7.(b)  The bonuses awarded pursuant to this section shall be in addition to any regular wage or other bonuses the principal receives or is scheduled to receive.

SECTION 7A.7.(c)  Notwithstanding G.S. 135‑1(7a), the bonuses awarded pursuant to this section are not compensation under Article 1 of Chapter 135 of the General Statutes, Retirement System for Teachers and State Employees.

SECTION 7A.7.(d)  It is the intent of the General Assembly that funds provided pursuant to this section will supplement principal compensation and not supplant local funds.

 

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL SALARIES

SECTION 7A.8.(a)  For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021, assistant principals shall receive a monthly salary based on the salary schedule for teachers who are classified as "A" teachers plus nineteen percent (19%). An assistant principal shall be placed on the step on the salary schedule that reflects the total number of years of experience as a certified employee of the public schools. For purposes of this section, an administrator with a one‑year provisional assistant principal's certificate shall be considered equivalent to an assistant principal.

SECTION 7A.8.(b)  Assistant principals with certification based on academic preparation at the six‑year degree level shall be paid a salary supplement of one hundred twenty‑six dollars ($126.00) per month and at the doctoral degree level shall be paid a salary supplement of two hundred fifty‑three dollars ($253.00) per month.

SECTION 7A.8.(c)  Participants in an approved full‑time master's in school administration program shall receive up to a 10‑month stipend during the internship period of the master's program. The stipend shall be at the beginning salary of an assistant principal or, for a teacher who becomes an intern, at least as much as that person would earn as a teacher on the teacher salary schedule. The North Carolina Principal Fellows and Transforming Principal Preparation Program or the school of education where the intern participates in a full‑time master's in school administration program shall supply the Department of Public Instruction with certification of eligible full‑time interns.

SECTION 7A.8.(d)  Beginning with the 2017‑2018 fiscal year, in lieu of providing annual longevity payments to assistant principals on the assistant principal salary schedule, the amounts of those longevity payments are included in the monthly amounts provided to assistant principals pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

SECTION 7A.8.(e)  An assistant principal compensated in accordance with this section for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall receive an amount equal to the greater of the following:

(1)        The applicable amount on the salary schedule for the applicable year.

(2)        For assistant principals who were eligible for longevity in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year, the sum of the following:

a.         The salary the assistant principal received in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year pursuant to Section 9.1 or Section 9.2 of S.L. 2016‑94.

b.         The longevity that the assistant principal would have received as provided for State employees under the North Carolina Human Resources Act for the 2016‑2017 fiscal year based on the assistant principal's current years of service.

(3)        For assistant principals who were not eligible for longevity in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year, the salary the assistant principal received in the 2016‑2017 fiscal year pursuant to Section 9.1 or Section 9.2 of S.L. 2016‑94.

 

CENTRAL OFFICE SALARIES

SECTION 7A.9.(a)  For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021, the annual salary for superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers, whose salaries are supported from State funds, shall be increased by two and one‑half percent (2.5%).

SECTION 7A.9.(b)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to increase the annual salary for superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers, whose salaries are supported from State funds, for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2022, by two and one‑half percent (2.5%).

SECTION 7A.9.(c)  The monthly salary maximums that follow apply to assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021:

2021‑2022 Fiscal Year

Maximum

School Administrator I                                                     $6,797

School Administrator II                                                   $7,202

School Administrator III                                                  $7,632

School Administrator IV                                                  $7,930

School Administrator V                                                   $8,246

School Administrator VI                                                  $8,736

School Administrator VII                                                $9,084.

The local board of education shall determine the appropriate category and placement for each assistant superintendent, associate superintendent, director/coordinator, supervisor, or finance officer within the maximums and within funds appropriated by the General Assembly for central office administrators and superintendents. The category in which an employee is placed shall be included in the contract of any employee.

SECTION 7A.9.(d)  The monthly salary maximums that follow apply to superintendents for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021:

2021‑2022 Fiscal Year

Maximum

Superintendent I                                                               $9,629

Superintendent II                                                            $10,203

Superintendent III                                                          $10,815

Superintendent IV                                                          $11,465

Superintendent V                                                           $12,155.

The local board of education shall determine the appropriate category and placement for the superintendent based on the average daily membership of the local school administrative unit and within funds appropriated by the General Assembly for central office administrators and superintendents.

SECTION 7A.9.(e)  Longevity pay for superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers shall be as provided for State employees under the North Carolina Human Resources Act.

SECTION 7A.9.(f)  Superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers with certification based on academic preparation at the six‑year degree level shall receive a salary supplement of one hundred twenty‑six dollars ($126.00) per month in addition to the compensation provided pursuant to this section. Superintendents, assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers with certification based on academic preparation at the doctoral degree level shall receive a salary supplement of two hundred fifty‑three dollars ($253.00) per month in addition to the compensation provided for under this section.

SECTION 7A.9.(g)  The State Board of Education shall not permit local school administrative units to transfer State funds from other funding categories for salaries for public school central office administrators.

SECTION 7A.9.(h)  It is the intent of the General Assembly that the monthly salary maximums that follow shall apply to assistant superintendents, associate superintendents, directors/coordinators, supervisors, and finance officers for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2022:

2022‑2023 Fiscal Year

Maximum

School Administrator I                                                     $6,967

School Administrator II                                                   $7,382

School Administrator III                                                  $7,823

School Administrator IV                                                  $8,128

School Administrator V                                                   $8,452

School Administrator VI                                                  $8,954

School Administrator VII                                                $9,311.

SECTION 7A.9.(i)  It is the intent of the General Assembly that the monthly salary maximums that follow shall apply to superintendents for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2022:

2022‑2023 Fiscal Year

Maximum

Superintendent I                                                               $9,870

Superintendent II                                                            $10,458

Superintendent III                                                          $11,085

Superintendent IV                                                          $11,752

Superintendent V                                                           $12,459.

 

NONCERTIFIED PERSONNEL SALARIES

SECTION 7A.10.(a)  Beginning with the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the State Board of Education shall increase the minimum of all salary grades and ranges it maintains for noncertified public school employees, as necessary, to achieve a minimum hourly compensation rate of thirteen dollars ($13.00) per hour.

SECTION 7A.10.(b)  For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021, the annual salary for noncertified public school employees whose salaries are supported from State funds shall be increased as follows:

(1)        For permanent, full‑time employees on a 12‑month contract, by the greater of the following:

a.         Two and one‑half percent (2.5%).

b.         An amount necessary to increase the minimum hourly compensation rate of the employee to thirteen dollars ($13.00) per hour pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(2)        For the following employees, by an equitable amount based on the amounts specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection:

a.         Permanent, full‑time employees on a contract for fewer than 12 months.

b.         Permanent, part‑time employees.

c.         Temporary and permanent hourly employees.

SECTION 7A.10.(c)  For the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2022, it is the intent of the General Assembly to do the following:

(1)        Require the State Board of Education to increase the minimum of all salary grades and ranges it maintains for noncertified public school employees, as necessary, to achieve a minimum hourly compensation rate of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour.

(2)        Increase the annual salary for noncertified public school employees whose salaries are supported from State funds by the greater of the following:

a.         Two and one‑half percent (2.5%).

b.         An amount necessary to increase the minimum hourly compensation rate of the employee to fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour.

 

SUPPLEMENTAL FUNDS FOR TEACHER COMPENSATION

SECTION 7A.12.(a)  Use of Funds. – For each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, except as provided in subsection (f) of this section, the State Board of Education shall allocate funds pursuant to this section to eligible local school administrative units to provide salary supplements to teachers and qualifying school administrators in those units. Allocation of salary supplements among teachers and qualifying school administrators within each eligible local school administrative unit, including whether a teacher or qualifying school administrator receives a salary supplement and the amount of the supplement provided to that person, shall be determined in the discretion of the local board of education of the eligible unit, except that no individual salary supplement shall exceed the per‑teacher funding amount awarded to that unit pursuant to subdivision (4) of subsection (c) of this section.

SECTION 7A.12.(b)  Definitions. – As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)        Adjusted market value of taxable real property. – A county's assessed taxable real property value, using the latest available data published by the Department of Revenue, divided by the county's sales assessment ratio determined under G.S. 105‑289(h).

(2)        Composite value. – For each eligible county, the sum of the following:

a.         The taxable real property factor multiplied by sixty‑five percent (65%).

b.         The median household income factor multiplied by twenty‑five percent (25%).

c.         The effective tax rate factor multiplied by ten percent (10%).

(3)        County allocation factor. – For each eligible county, the supplement factor for that county divided by the sum of all supplement factors for the State.

(4)        Effective tax rate. – The actual county tax rate multiplied by the most recent annual sales assessment ratio for that county.

(5)        Effective tax rate factor. – For each eligible county, the effective tax rate for that county divided by the median effective tax rate in the State.

(6)        Eligible county. – A county that meets the following criteria:

a.         For the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, has an adjusted market value of taxable real property of less than forty billion dollars ($40,000,000,000).

b.         For the 2022‑2023 fiscal year, has an adjusted market value of taxable real property of less than forty‑one billion four hundred million dollars ($41,400,000,000).

(7)        Eligible local school administrative unit. – A local school administrative unit located in whole or in part in an eligible county.

(8)        Eligible school. – A public school that is located in an eligible county and governed by a local school administrative unit.

(9)        Median household income. – A county's median household income for the most recent 12 months for which data are available, as that term is used in G.S. 143B‑437.08.

(10)      Median household income factor. – For each eligible county, the median household income in the State divided by the median household income for that county.

(11)      Qualifying school administrator. – Any of the following:

a.         Assistant principals paid pursuant to G.S. 115C‑285(a)(8).

b.         Principals paid pursuant to G.S. 115C‑285(a)(8a).

(12)      Supplement factor. – For each eligible county, the composite value multiplied by the number of State‑funded teachers employed in a school in the county that is governed by a local school administrative unit.

(13)      Taxable real property factor. – For each eligible county, the median adjusted market value of taxable real property in the State divided by the adjusted market value of taxable real property for that county.

(14)      Teacher. – Teachers and instructional support personnel.

SECTION 7A.12.(c)  Allocation of Funds. – The State Board of Education shall allocate funds for salary supplements to eligible local school administrative units according to the following procedure:

(1)        County allocation. – For each eligible county, the State Board shall determine a county allocation by multiplying the county allocation factor for that county by the funding amount appropriated pursuant to this section for the applicable fiscal year.

(2)        Per‑teacher funding amount. – For each eligible county, the State Board shall determine a per‑teacher funding amount by dividing the county allocation amounts determined pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection by the total number of State‑funded teachers employed in all eligible schools in that county.

(3)        Unit funding amount. – For each eligible local school administrative unit, the State Board shall determine the funding amount for that unit based on the per‑teacher funding amount or amounts for the eligible county or counties where the unit is located. For each county with an eligible school governed by the unit, the State Board shall multiply the applicable per‑teacher funding amount for that county determined pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection by the number of State‑funded teachers employed in the eligible school in that county. If the unit is located in multiple eligible counties, the State Board shall aggregate those amounts.

(4)        Allocation and funding cap. – The State Board shall allocate the amount determined pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, up to a maximum of four thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($4,250) per State‑funded teacher, to each eligible local school administrative unit for each applicable fiscal year.

SECTION 7A.12.(d)  Charter Schools. – Funds appropriated to the Department of Public Instruction pursuant this section shall be subject to the allocation of funds for charter schools described in G.S. 115C‑218.105. The General Assembly encourages charter schools receiving funds pursuant to this section to provide salary supplements to teachers and qualifying school administrators in the charter school in accordance with the requirements of this section.

SECTION 7A.12.(e)  Formula for Distribution of Supplemental Funding Pursuant to This Section Only. – The formula in this section is solely a basis for distribution of supplemental funding to eligible local school administrative units and is not intended to reflect any measure of the adequacy of the educational program or funding for public schools. The formula is also not intended to reflect any commitment by the General Assembly to appropriate any additional supplemental funds for eligible local school administrative units.

SECTION 7A.12.(f)  Nonsupplant Requirement. – A local school administrative unit that receives funds under this section shall use the funds to supplement and not supplant non‑State funds provided for salary supplements for teachers and qualifying school administrators. The State Board of Education shall not allocate any funds under this section to a local school administrative unit if the State Board finds that the unit has reduced the average local salary supplement the unit provided to teachers or qualifying school administrators in the prior school year.

SECTION 7A.12.(g)  Reports. – No later than April 15 of each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the State Board of Education shall report the following information for the applicable fiscal year to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division:

(1)        A list of all eligible counties and eligible local school administrative units.

(2)        Funds allocated to each eligible local school administrative unit.

(3)        The percentage and amount of teachers and qualifying school administrators in each eligible local school administrative unit receiving salary supplements.

(4)        The average salary supplement amount in each eligible local school administrative unit.

(5)        The range of salary supplement amounts in each eligible local school administrative unit.

(6)        The effect of the salary supplements on the retention of teachers and qualifying school administrators in eligible local school administrative units.

(7)        The identity of any local school administrative unit that the State Board determines has supplanted funds.

 

PART VIII. The University of North Carolina System

 

UNC/ESCHEAT FUND FOR STUDENT FINANCIAL AID PROGRAMS

SECTION 8.1.(a)  The funds appropriated by this act from the Escheat Fund for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium for student financial aid shall be allocated in accordance with G.S. 116B‑7. Notwithstanding any other provision of Chapter 116B of the General Statutes, if the interest income generated from the Escheat Fund is less than the amounts referenced in this act, the difference may be taken from the Escheat Fund principal to reach the appropriations referenced in this act; however, under no circumstances shall the Escheat Fund principal be reduced below the sum required in G.S. 116B‑6(f). If any funds appropriated from the Escheat Fund by this act for student financial aid remain uncommitted aid as of the end of a fiscal year, the funds shall be returned to the Escheat Fund, but only to the extent the funds exceed the amount of the Escheat Fund income for that fiscal year.

SECTION 8.1.(b)  The State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) shall conduct periodic evaluations of expenditures of the student financial aid programs administered by the Authority to determine if allocations are utilized to ensure access to institutions of higher education and to meet the goals of the respective programs. The Authority may make recommendations for redistribution of funds to the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the Community College System regarding their respective student financial aid programs, who then may authorize redistribution of unutilized funds for a particular fiscal year.

 

PATRIOT STAR FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

SECTION 8.3.(a)  Program Established. – Of the funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the North Carolina Patriot Star Family Scholarship Program (Program), the Board of Governors shall make funds available to (i) the Patriot Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, and (ii) the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, for the purpose of establishing and administering scholarships under the Program, originally established pursuant to Section 3.4 of S.L. 2020‑97, in accordance with the requirements of this section.

SECTION 8.3.(b)  Purpose of the Program. – The Patriot Foundation and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., respectively, shall provide for scholarships to eligible children and eligible spouses of certain veterans, eligible children of certain currently serving members of the Armed Forces, and eligible disabled veterans to attend eligible postsecondary institutions in accordance with the requirements of this section.

SECTION 8.3.(c)  Definitions. – For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Armed Forces. – A component of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including their reserve components.

(2)        Eligible child or eligible children. – Any person (i) who is attending or has been accepted to enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution, (ii) who is a legal resident of North Carolina when scholarship documentation is completed, provided that if a child is claimed as a dependent by the child's parent, residency may be established based on a parent meeting sub‑sub‑subdivision 4. of sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision, (iii) who has complied with the requirements of the Selective Service System, if applicable, and (iv) whose parent is a veteran or a currently serving member of the Armed Forces that meets the following:

a.         Meets one of the following residency conditions:

1.         Is a resident of North Carolina at the time of scholarship documentation completion.

2.         Was a resident of North Carolina at the time of entrance into service in the Armed Forces.

3.         Was permanently stationed in North Carolina at the time of his or her death.

4.         Is an active duty service member permanently stationed in North Carolina at the time of documentation completion.

b.         Meets one of the following service conditions:

1.         Was a member of the Armed Forces who was killed in action or in the line of duty or died of wounds or other causes not due to the service member's willful misconduct during a period of war, national emergency, or training in preparation for future conflicts and is a direct result of service in the line of duty.

2.         Was a member of the Armed Forces who died of service‑connected injuries, wounds, illness, or other causes incurred or aggravated while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war, national emergency, or training in preparation for future conflicts and is a direct result of service in the line of duty. Standard documentation of the parent's death, wounds, injury, or illness must be supplied by a scholarship recipient at the time of scholarship request.

3.         Is a veteran of the Armed Forces who incurred traumatic injuries or wounds or sustained a major illness while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war or national emergency and is receiving compensation for a wartime service–connected disability of at least fifty percent (50%) as rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

4.         Is a current member of the Armed Forces who incurred traumatic injuries or wounds or sustained a major illness while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war, national emergency, or training in preparation for future conflicts and is a direct result of service in the line of duty. The parent's traumatic wounds, injury, or major illness must be documented by the member's Unit Commander.

(3)        Eligible disabled veteran. – Any person who is (i) a veteran of the Armed Forces who incurred traumatic injuries or wounds or sustained a major illness while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war or national emergency and is receiving compensation for a wartime service–connected disability of at least fifty percent (50%) as rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, (ii) a resident of North Carolina when scholarship documentation is completed, and (iii) is attending or has been accepted to enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution.

(4)        Eligible postsecondary institution. – A school that is any of the following:

a.         A constituent institution of The University of North Carolina.

b.         A community college under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Community Colleges.

c.         A private educational institution as defined in G.S. 143B‑1224.

d.         A private vocational institution, including Federal Aviation Administration certificated aviation training programs.

(5)        Eligible spouse. – Any person (i) who is attending or has been accepted to enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution, (ii) who is a legal resident of North Carolina when scholarship documentation is completed, (iii) who has complied with the requirements of the Selective Service System, if applicable, and (iv) whose spouse meets one of the conditions set forth in sub‑sub‑subdivisions 1. through 3. of sub‑subdivision b. of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(6)        Veteran. – An individual who has served and is no longer serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. For the purposes of this section, the veteran must have separated from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions or whose death or disability of at least fifty percent (50%) or more was incurred as a direct result of service in the line of duty.

SECTION 8.3.(d)  Administration; Awards. – Within the funds made available for the Program, the Patriot Foundation and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation shall each separately administer and award scholarships to eligible applicants in accordance with the requirements of the North Carolina Patriot Star Family Scholarship Program. In administering the Program, each nonprofit corporation shall be responsible for Program oversight for the scholarships awarded through its organization to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section.

Each nonprofit corporation shall, at a minimum, establish criteria and procedures related to scholarship documentation completion, the amount of individual scholarships, the permissible uses of scholarship funds, the period of eligibility for award of a scholarship, the conditions for a revocation of a scholarship, and any other procedures it deems necessary for its administration of the Program.

If an eligible child or eligible spouse receives a scholarship or other grant covering the cost of attendance at an eligible postsecondary institution for which the scholarship is awarded, then the amount of a scholarship awarded under this section shall be reduced so that the sum of all grants and scholarships covering the cost of attendance received by the eligible child or eligible spouse does not exceed the cost of attendance for the institution. For the purposes of this section, cost of attendance shall include monies for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and school‑related expenses, including laptops, equipment, tutoring support, as well as room and board as long as the scholarship recipient is enrolled as at least a half‑time student at the institution. Off‑campus housing costs for room and board are also included to the extent the eligible postsecondary institution includes it in its cost of attendance.

SECTION 8.3.(e)  Reporting. – The Patriot Foundation shall submit a report by April 1 of each year in which the Patriot Foundation spends State funds made available for the Program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the activities related to the Program and the use of the State funds.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., shall submit a report by April 1 of each year in which the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation spends State funds made available for the Program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the activities related to the Program and the use of the State funds.

 

REPORT ON SCIENCE OF READING EPP COURSEWORK IMPLEMENTATION

SECTION 8.4.(a)  The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall contract with an outside consultant for an evaluation on the progress of the implementation of the changes in requirements for approval or renewal of approval of educator preparation programs (EPPs) for training of (i) elementary education teachers in coursework in the Science of Reading and (ii) elementary and special education general curriculum teachers in early literacy intervention strategies and practices that are aligned with the Science of Reading pursuant to Section 4 of S.L. 2021‑8. The State Board of Community Colleges, the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) shall provide the outside consultant with all information necessary to determine at least the following:

(1)        A baseline of the current coursework in literacy training and intervention strategies and practices at EPPs.

(2)        The plan for implementation of the requirements at approved EPPs and any recommendations for implementation by the State Board of Education, the Superintendent, and PEPSC.

(3)        The time line for EPPs to incorporate the training into their programs by the anticipated academic semesters.

(4)        Any EPPs that have already incorporated training into their programs and their best practices to share with other programs.

SECTION 8.4.(b)  The Board of Governors shall submit an interim report by March 15, 2022, and a final report by June 15, 2022, to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the progress of implementation of required changes and the results of the overall evaluation from the outside consultant required under subsection (a) of this section. The interim report submitted by February 15, 2022, shall also include the baseline of current coursework in literacy training and intervention strategies and practices at EPPs.

 

FALLS LAKE NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT STUDY/FUNDS

SECTION 8.5.  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year for the study of Falls Lake, any unexpended funds remaining at the end of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund but shall remain available for expenditure for the purposes of studying and analyzing nutrient management strategies and compiling existing water quality data of Falls Lake pursuant to Section 14.13(c) of S.L. 2016‑94, as amended by Section 13.18(a) of S.L. 2018‑5, until December 31, 2023.

 

NEW EDUCATION FACILITY/UNCW/PLANNING FUNDS

SECTION 8.6.(a)  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the sum of nine hundred ninety‑four thousand dollars ($994,000) in nonrecurring funds shall be held in reserve for the purpose of providing funds for the planning of a new facility for Isaac Bear Early College High School on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's campus as the partner institution of higher education for the cooperative innovative high school.

The Board of Governors shall allocate the funds to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC‑Wilmington) upon the signing of a memorandum of agreement between New Hanover County Schools and UNC‑Wilmington on the specifics of the facility project, including the site location for the new facility and the sources of funds for the project.

SECTION 8.6.(b)  If a memorandum of agreement is not signed between New Hanover County Schools and UNC‑Wilmington as required by subsection (a) of this section by June 30, 2022, the funds held in reserve by the Board of Governors pursuant to this section shall revert to the General Fund.

SECTION 8.6.(c)  The allocation of funds by the Board of Governors to UNC‑Wilmington pursuant to this section shall not be deemed to constitute a financial obligation of the State to provide any additional State funds in subsequent fiscal years for the purpose of planning or constructing a new facility for Isaac Bear Early College High School.

 

ALLOW IN‑STATE TUITION/ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS

SECTION 8.7.(a)  G.S. 116‑143.6 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑143.6.  Full scholarship students attending constituent institutions.

(a)        Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the Board of Trustees of a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina elects to do so, it may by resolution adopted consider as residents of North Carolina all persons who receive full scholarships, unless the scholarship is for athletics, scholarships to the institution from entities recognized by the institution and attend the institution as undergraduate students. The aforesaid persons shall be considered residents of North Carolina for all purposes by The University of North Carolina.

(b)        The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        "Full cost" means an amount calculated by the constituent institution that is no less than the sum of tuition, required fees, and on‑campus room and board.

(2)        "Full scholarship" means a grant that meets the full cost for a student to attend the constituent institution for an academic year.

(c)        This section shall not be applied in any manner that violates federal law.

(d)       This section shall be administered by the electing constituent institution so as to have no fiscal impact.

(e)        In administering this section, the electing constituent institution shall maintain at least the current number of North Carolina residents admitted to that constituent institution.

(f)        A change in residency status under this section shall not impact the financial aid amount a student is able to receive as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid."

SECTION 8.7.(b)  This section applies beginning with the 2021‑2022 academic year.

 

CODIFY NC COLLABORATORY

SECTION 8.8.(a)  Section 11.8 of S.L. 2016‑94, as amended by Section 8(c) of S.L. 2020‑74, reads as rewritten:

"SECTION 11.8.  The Beginning with the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the one million dollars ($1,000,000) in recurring funds appropriated in this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the 2016‑2017 fiscal year to establish and operate a North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shall be used used, in addition to any other funds appropriated for this purpose, to establish a Collaboratory that facilitates the dissemination of the policy and research expertise of The University of North Carolina and other institutions of higher learning within North Carolina for practical use by State and local government, although, wherever possible, funding preference may be given to campuses within The University of North Carolina System. Any funds appropriated by the General Assembly for use by the Collaboratory may not be used for indirect overhead costs. The Collaboratory, at a minimum, shall conduct research on natural resources management, including, but not limited to, research related to the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within the State of North Carolina and of new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvement. The Collaboratory shall develop and disseminate relevant best practices to interested parties, may lead or participate in projects across the State related to natural resource management, and may make recommendations to the General Assembly from time to time.and operate the North Carolina Collaboratory pursuant to Article 31A of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 8.8.(b)  Chapter 116 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 31A.

"The North Carolina Collaboratory.

"§ 116‑255.  The North Carolina Collaboratory established.

(a)        Collaboratory Established. – There is established the North Carolina Collaboratory (Collaboratory) to facilitate the dissemination of the policy and research expertise of The University of North Carolina and other institutions of higher education within North Carolina for practical use by State and local governments. The Collaboratory shall be housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

(b)        Duties and Powers. – The Collaboratory shall do at least the following within the funds available:

(1)        Conduct, manage, or participate in research on natural resources management, including, but not limited to, research related to the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within the State of North Carolina and of new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvements.

(2)        Conduct, manage, or participate in other projects and opportunities, including, but not limited to, research that may be of interest to citizens and policymakers within the State.

(3)        Support research programs at institutions of higher education, particularly institutions identified as historically minority‑serving institutions, within the Collaboratory's areas of focus and expertise.

(4)        Identify, pursue, and support research and development opportunities through technology research and development, including, but not limited to, funding opportunities and partnerships between institutions of higher education, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and both private and public businesses.

(5)        Develop and disseminate relevant best practices to interested parties, lead or participate in projects across the State, and make policy, research, funding, and other recommendations to the General Assembly.

(6)        Maintain an online reporting portal, in partnership with the Office of State Fire Marshal, on the storage and deployment of Aqueous Film‑Forming Foams (AFFF) as required by G.S. 58‑82B‑10.

(7)        Teach and train students and faculty to engage in and administer neutral and unbiased research and advice on science policy through (i) informal workshops and similar events and (ii) formal development and delivery of curriculum.

(c)        Funding Conditions and Restrictions. – The following applies to funding received by the Collaboratory:

(1)        In disseminating State funds, the Collaboratory may give funding preference to constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina, wherever possible.

(2)        Funds appropriated by the General Assembly and used by the Collaboratory may not be used for indirect overhead costs at an institution partnering with the Collaboratory.

(3)        For research or investigations that need to be carried out expeditiously in response to a project, opportunity, or a legislative mandate, the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, G.S. 143‑129, and G.S. 116‑31.10 shall not apply to the Collaboratory for the purchase of apparatus, supplies, material, services, or equipment in projects addressing an emerging or immediate threat to public health, safety, or welfare. For each project that utilizes this exemption, the Collaboratory shall provide a justification in writing and make this document available on its website for the duration of the project.

(4)        All units of State and local government shall cooperate and assist the Collaboratory with its research program by providing reasonable access to at least the following:

a.         Infrastructure.

b.         Personnel.

c.         Data.

(5)        The Collaboratory may allocate funds to units of State and local government, as necessary, for purposes of facilitating compliance with subdivision (4) of this subsection.

"§ 116‑256.  Annual report.

By December 1 of each year, the Collaboratory shall report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on its activities in the prior fiscal year and any legislative recommendations."

SECTION 8.8.(c)  Notwithstanding G.S. 116‑256, as enacted by this section, the North Carolina Collaboratory shall submit its report required by G.S. 116‑256 on its activities from the 2020‑2021 fiscal year by February 1, 2022.

 

COLLABORATORY/RESEARCH GRANTS HMSI

SECTION 8.9.(a)  The North Carolina Collaboratory (Collaboratory), established pursuant to Article 31A of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, shall establish a research grant program for the following constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina identified as Historically Minority‑Serving Institutions (HMSIs): Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, North Carolina Central University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Winston‑Salem State University. The Collaboratory shall establish an application process and criteria for research grants that include a focus on areas within the Collaboratory's mission of facilitating research related to the environmental and economic components of the management of the natural resources within the State and of new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvements and other areas of public health.

The Collaboratory may award one or more research grants each fiscal year to each of the six HMSI constituent institutions to be used to expand their research capacity while being in service to the needs of the State. Of the funds appropriated by this act for the research grant program, the Collaboratory shall determine the amount of the research grant for each HMSI constituent institution in a fiscal year.

SECTION 8.9.(b)  Funds allocated to the Collaboratory for the research grant program shall not be used to cover the administrative costs for the Collaboratory. Any unexpended funds appropriated for the research grant program at the end of a fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund but shall remain available for expenditure for the purposes of this section.

 

COLLABORATORY/2021 WATER SAFETY ACT/FIREFIGHTING FOAM REGISTRY

SECTION 8.10.(a)  The North Carolina Collaboratory (Collaboratory) shall continue to identify faculty expertise, technology, and instrumentation located within institutions of higher education in the State, including East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Duke University, and other public and private institutions within the State and coordinate these faculty, technology, instrumentation, and other resources to do the following:

(1)        Conduct both targeted and nontargeted analysis for per‑ and poly‑fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including the chemical known as "GenX," through a continuation of the North Carolina PFAS Testing Network (Network).

(2)        With respect to PFAS, including GenX, conduct (i) statewide water sampling, testing, and monitoring, (ii) statewide air sampling, testing, and monitoring, (iii) toxicology work in cellular and mammalian models, as well as monitoring levels and health effects of the citizens of North Carolina, and (iv) data management, analysis, and dissemination.

(3)        Develop and deploy technologies to mitigate exposure to PFAS, including GenX, and health impacts from such exposure.

(4)        Evaluate and pursue other research opportunities with respect to PFAS, including GenX, using relevant faculty expertise, technology, and instrumentation.

The Collaboratory shall utilize the faculty and staff at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for assisting with project management of the requirements set forth in subsections (a) through (e) of this section.

SECTION 8.10.(b)  The Collaboratory shall continue to report the results of sampling conducted pursuant to subsection (a) of this section to the Environmental Review Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the public through the Network's website.

SECTION 8.10.(c)  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the Collaboratory, the sum of twelve million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($12,750,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall be used by the Collaboratory to manage and implement the requirements of subsections (a) through (e) of this section, which shall include distribution to the Collaboratory (i) to cover costs incurred as a result of these activities, (ii) for acquisition or modification of essential scientific instrumentation and maintenance, and (iii) for payments of costs for sample collection and analysis, training or hiring of research staff and other personnel, method development activities, and data management, including dissemination of relevant data to stakeholders. Participating institutions receiving any funds under this subsection may not use any of the funds for overhead or other indirect costs. Funds allocated under this subsection shall not revert but shall remain available for nonrecurring expenditures. The provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, G.S. 116‑31.10, G.S. 143‑129, and other relevant policies and guidelines related to those provisions shall not apply to the purchase of apparatus, supplies, material, personnel, contract, or equipment with any of the funds allocated under this section.

SECTION 8.10.(d)  Of the funds allocated under subsection (c) of this section, a minimum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) shall be directed to development within The University of North Carolina of a technology, or technologies, that utilizes water filtration or other chemical or physical technologies to remove or mitigate the presence of PFAS, including GenX, from water supplies where it is present. The technology shall be developed so that it can be deployed at three separate water supply locations at which analytical data demonstrates that PFAS contamination exists in order to test the efficacy of the technology, or technologies, as follows: (i) a publicly owned water treatment plant that provides drinking water from the Cape Fear River, (ii) a publicly owned wastewater treatment plant that discharges into the Cape Fear River, or a surface water body that flows into the Cape Fear River, and (iii) a location in either the Castle Hayne or the PeeDee aquifer that is utilized for drinking water. Each of these three sites shall be selected by the Collaboratory in consultation with faculty and staff from institutions of higher education in the State identified by the Collaboratory pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. All units of State and local government shall cooperate and assist with the placement, integration, operation, testing, and assessment of technology, or technologies, developed and deployed for the duration of any pilot testing authorized and funded under subsection (a) of this section.

SECTION 8.10.(e)  The Collaboratory should continue to pursue relevant public and private funding opportunities that may be available to address the impacts of PFAS, including GenX, on surface water, groundwater, and air quality in order to leverage funds allocated under subsection (a) of this section or any other funds provided to the Collaboratory.

SECTION 8.10.(f)  It is the intent of the General Assembly that funds appropriated in this act to the Department of Environmental Quality for personnel to map emerging compounds and to establish an Emerging Compounds unit within the Department will be expended synergistically with the funds allocated under subsection (a) of this section to comprehensively address the impacts of PFAS contamination on citizens of the State.

SECTION 8.10.(g)  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shall apportion all gross revenue associated with any intellectual property, including licensing fees and patenting revenue, related to ionic fluorogel water filtration or other chemical or physical technologies developed utilizing research funds that are provided by the Collaboratory, which were allocated pursuant to this section, under the following formula:

(1)        Ten percent (10%) to the General Fund.

(2)        Forty percent (40%) to the inventor or inventors of such technologies.

(3)        Fifty percent (50%) to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to be divided as follows: (i) two‑fifths into a general patent/licensure fund to be used at the constituent institution's discretion, (ii) two‑fifths to the home academic department or department of the inventor or inventors of such technologies, and (iii) one‑fifth to the Collaboratory to fund ongoing PFAS‑related research and technology development.

SECTION 8.10.(h)  Chapter 58 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 82B.

"Management of Aqueous Film‑Forming Foams.

"§ 58‑82B‑1.  Findings.

The General Assembly finds that certain firefighting foams used to fight Class B fires, often referred to as Aqueous Film‑Forming Foams (AFFF), are critical for fire suppression and public safety. However, because many AFFF could contain per‑ and poly‑fluoroalkyl substances, certain foams may require additional research, oversight, and management. The General Assembly further finds that accurate and comprehensive reporting of the use of AFFF by fire departments throughout the State is essential in order to appropriately manage the potential impacts of AFFF on the environment and public health.

"§ 58‑82B‑5.  Reporting requirement.

Fire departments operated, regulated, or managed by one or more units of State and local government, including those located at or serving public airports, in partnership with the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), shall, no later than July 1, 2022, and annually thereafter, do all of the following:

(1)        Provide an inventory of all AFFF at each department.

(2)        Identify all AFFF no longer utilized at each department that should be properly disposed of.

(3)        Report annually in summary form and within 15 days individually every incident where AFFF were deployed. Both the annual summary report and the individual incident reports shall utilize the online portal created as directed by G.S. 58‑82B‑10.

"§ 58‑82B‑10.  Duties of Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) shall do all of the following:

(1)        Educate and inform every fire department it regulates of the reporting requirements imposed by this Article.

(2)        Assist the North Carolina Collaboratory, established under G.S. 116‑255, in the development of an online reporting portal for fire departments operated, regulated, or managed by one or more units of State and local government, including those located at or serving public airports, with the requirements of this Article.

(3)        Adopt rules to implement the requirements of this Article. OSFM may adopt temporary rules and shall adopt permanent rules no later than January 1, 2023.

"§ 58‑82B‑15.  Report.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) shall report annually to the Environmental Review Commission no later than September 1 of each year on the utilization and inventory of AFFF by fire departments across the State during the previous fiscal year based on the reporting requirements of this Article."

SECTION 8.10.(i)  The Collaboratory, in partnership with the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and any unit of State and local government deemed relevant by the Collaboratory, shall develop and maintain the online reporting portal as required by G.S. 58‑82B‑10, as enacted by subsection (h) of this section, and G.S. 116‑255(b)(6), as enacted by Section 8.8 of this act. The portal shall consist of an online reporting tool and related database that captures the storage and deployment of Aqueous Film‑Forming Foams (AFFF) by fire departments in the State that are operated, managed, or overseen by units of local government, including those located at or serving public airports. The reporting tool shall be easily accessible to firefighters and fire department personnel to upload the data. The required inventory data shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1)        The number of trucks at each department that carry AFFF and the volume, trade name, and Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) number of the AFFF on each truck.

(2)        The fire station, including street address, where each truck is located.

(3)        The volume, trade name, and CAS number of AFFF stored by each fire department or unit of local government at a station or other location, as well as the address of each location where AFFF are stored.

(4)        The volume, trade name, and CAS number of AFFF products that are no longer utilized and could be removed from inventory for disposal.

(5)        The volume of AFFF used by each fire department annually, including all of the following:

a.         The date, time, and location, including street address and GPS coordinates, where AFFF was deployed, and the trade name and CAS number of the AFFF used.

b.         The total volume of AFFF deployed, including gallons of foam and gallons of water and total concentration of foam.

c.         The reason for the deployment of AFFF, such as firefighting, fire prevention, other emergency response actions intended to protect property or public safety, training, or an accidental spill.

(6)        A photograph of the label and the container of the foam. For the purpose of this subdivision, a photograph includes an electronic image produced by the camera of an electronic device.

(7)        Any other data deemed relevant by the Collaboratory to establish a statewide inventory of AFFF used for fighting fires or firefighter training.

OSFM and all units of local government shall provide any information or assistance requested by the Collaboratory to acquire, compile, manage, interpret, and maintain the data required by this section. The tool and database required by this section shall be online and operational no later than January 1, 2023.

 

COLLABORATORY/STUDY OF THE COASTAL AND MARINE FISHERIES OF THE STATE

SECTION 8.11.(a)  In advance of the twenty‑fifth anniversary of North Carolina's Fisheries Reform Act of 1997 and the fiftieth anniversary of North Carolina's Coastal Area Management Act, the North Carolina Collaboratory (Collaboratory) shall conduct a study on the overall status of the coastal and marine fisheries regulated by the State. The study shall focus on the following regulated species, including the health and extent of the habitats required by these species:

(1)        Bay Scallop.

(2)        Blue Crab.

(3)        Eastern Oyster.

(4)        Estuarine Striped Bass.

(5)        Hard Clam.

(6)        Kingfishes.

(7)        Red Drum.

(8)        River Herring.

(9)        Sheepshead.

(10)      Shrimp.

(11)      Southern Flounder.

(12)      Spotted Seatrout.

(13)      Striped Mullet.

The Collaboratory shall analyze trends through time spanning the last few decades or longer to assess and develop policy recommendations to better manage the overall health and viability of the State's fisheries and fisheries' habitats. The Department of Environmental Quality, the Wildlife Resources Commission, other agencies of the State, and units of local government shall provide any assistance requested by the Collaboratory to acquire and compile data and complete the study required by this section. The Collaboratory shall provide the results of this study to the Environmental Review Commission no later than June 30, 2023.

SECTION 8.11.(b)  In its expenditure of the one million dollars ($1,000,000) in recurring funds appropriated in this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina and allocated to the Collaboratory for research projects, the Collaboratory shall prioritize funding for the study of the coastal and marine fisheries of the State described in subsection (a) of this section. These funds shall not revert to the General Fund at the end of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year but shall remain available until the end of the 2022‑2023 fiscal year.

 

COLLABORATORY/COVID‑19 RESEARCH INITIATIVES

SECTION 8.12.(a)  Of the funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Collaboratory (Collaboratory), the Collaboratory shall facilitate among various entities research and activities related to monitoring, assessing, and addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID‑19, including, but not limited to, (i) best practices and strategies to maximize resources and achieve a comprehensive research response to COVID‑19 and (ii) commercialization of technologies developed through academic research programs or academic partnerships. These funds shall not be used for indirect overhead costs.

SECTION 8.12.(b)  Of the funds identified in subsection (a) of this section, fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) shall be used for a comprehensive convergent science grant program administered by the Collaboratory. Convergent science grants awarded pursuant to the program shall meet at least the following requirements:

(1)        Grants shall be awarded to the following entities:

a.         Business entities that meet all of the following requirements:

1.         Are organized pursuant to the laws of this State as for‑profit or nonprofit organizations.

2.         Have their principal office in this State.

3.         Would benefit from academic research partnerships.

4.         Identify in their grant applications one or more academic research partners that are (i) affiliated with institutions of higher education located in this State and (ii) connected to the applied research and development activities the business entities describe in their grant applications.

b.         Academic research partners identified pursuant to sub‑sub‑subdivision 4. of sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision.

(2)        Grant funds shall support applied research regarding the development of technology that meets the purposes of this section.

(3)        No single business entity shall receive grant funds in excess of two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000).

(4)        The Collaboratory shall provide smaller grants to business entities, as needed, in amounts per business entity ranging from two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to one million dollars ($1,000,000).

(5)        No single academic research partner, including an academic research partner with a multi‑campus team, shall receive a grant in excess of twenty percent (20%) of the total grant funds awarded to its partner business entity pursuant to this section. An academic research partner that is affiliated with multiple business entities may receive multiple grants.

SECTION 8.12.(c)  The Collaboratory may assemble an advisory panel of representatives from various entities as necessary to discuss, review, and analyze progress toward meeting research goals and the use of available federal funds. The Collaboratory shall report on the progress of the development of research and activities related to monitoring, assessing, and addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID‑19 and the use of the appropriated funds received pursuant to this act to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services no later than September 1, 2024.

 

AP FEES FOR NCSSM/UNCSA HS STUDENTS

SECTION 8.13.(a)  Part 5 of Article 1 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

"§ 116‑43.30.  Advanced Placement courses for secondary school students.

(a)        It is the intent of the State to enhance accessibility and encourage secondary school students to enroll in and successfully complete more rigorous Advanced Placement courses to enable success in postsecondary education for all students. To attain this goal, to the extent funds are made available for this purpose, secondary school students enrolled in the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the high school academic program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts shall be exempt from paying any fees for registration and administration of examinations for Advanced Placement courses in which the student is enrolled, regardless of the score the student achieves on an examination.

(b)        The University of North Carolina System Office shall report annually by December 15 to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on Advanced Placement course information for the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the high school academic program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The report shall include, at a minimum, the following information from the prior fiscal year:

(1)        Number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses and participating in Advanced Placement course examinations, including demographic information by gender and race.

(2)        Student performance on Advanced Placement course examinations, including information by course and school.

(3)        Amount of State funds expended for fees for Advanced Placement courses by school."

SECTION 8.13.(b)  Of the funds appropriated to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina in this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year for test fees for Advanced Placement courses for secondary school students, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts shall reimburse secondary school students for all fees already paid by a student for the registration and administration of examinations for Advanced Placement courses in which the student has enrolled in the 2021‑2022 school year, regardless of the score the student achieves on the examination. For purposes of this subsection, the term "secondary school students" refers to students enrolled in the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the high school academic program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

SECTION 8.13.(c)  The initial report required pursuant to G.S. 116‑43.30(b) shall be submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Fiscal Research Division, and the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by December 15, 2022.

 

CHANGES TO UNC CARRYFORWARD AUTHORITY

SECTION 8.15.  G.S. 116‑30.3 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑30.3.  Reversions.

(a)        Of the General Fund current operations appropriations credit balance remaining at the end of each fiscal year in each of the budget codes listed in this subsection, any amount of the General Fund appropriation for that budget code for that fiscal year (i) may be carried forward to the next fiscal year in that budget code, (ii) is appropriated in that budget code, and (iii) may be used for the purpose purposes set out in subsection (f) of this section. However, the amount carried forward in each budget code under this subsection shall not exceed five percent (5.0%) two and one‑half percent (2.5%) of the General Fund appropriation in that budget code. The Director of the Budget, under the authority set forth in G.S. 143C‑6‑2, shall establish the General Fund current operations credit balance remaining in each budget code.

The budget codes that may carry forward a General Fund current operations appropriations credit balance remaining at the end of each fiscal year pursuant to this section are the budget codes for each of the following:

(1)        Each special responsibility constituent institution.

(2)        The Area Health Education Centers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

(3)        University of North Carolina System Office Budget Code 16010.

Each budget code in subdivisions (1) through (3) of this subsection may retain a carryforward amount of up to two and one‑half percent (2.5%). One‑half of any amounts carried forward exceeding two and one‑half percent (2.5%) shall be distributed to The University of North Carolina System Office, to be disbursed to the constituent institutions at the discretion of the Board of Governors, with the remaining amount being retained in that budget code.

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 1998‑212, s. 11(b).

(c)        Repealed by Session Laws 1998‑212, s. 11(a).

(d)       Repealed by Session Laws 1998‑212, s. 11(b).

(e)        Repealed by Session Laws 2014‑100, s. 11.17(a), effective July 1, 2014.

(f)        Funds carried forward pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be used for projects that are eligible to receive funds under G.S. 143C‑8‑13(a). Expenditures may be used for one‑time expenditures; provided, however, expenditures authorized by this subsection shall not impose additional financial obligations on the State and shall not be used to support positions."

 

CTP POSTSECONDARY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

SECTION 8.16.(a)  Chapter 116 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:

"Article 35A.

"Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary (CTP) Scholarships.

"§ 116‑295.  Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary Scholarship Program established; administration of scholarships.

(a)        Program Established. – There is established the Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary (CTP) Scholarship Program to provide scholarships to full‑time North Carolina students with intellectual disabilities enrolled in certificate accomplishment programs at constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina that are approved by the United States Department of Education as a CTP Program, pursuant to the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1140f through 1140i.

(b)        Administration of the Program. – The University of North Carolina System Office shall administer the CTP Scholarship Program, in consultation and collaboration with the constituent institutions, pursuant to policies adopted by the governing body of the constituent institutions that are consistent with the requirements of this Article.

"§ 116‑296.  Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary Scholarship Fund established; administration of fund.

(a)        Fund Established. – There is established the Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary (CTP) Scholarship Fund to be used to fund scholarships awarded pursuant to this Article. All funds appropriated for the program, all returned scholarship monies, and all interest earned on these funds shall be placed in the Fund. Scholarship funds that are unexpended at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund but shall remain available for the award of scholarships under this Article.

(b)        Administration of Fund. – The University of North Carolina System Office, in collaboration with the constituent institutions, shall administer the CTP Scholarship Fund.

"§ 116‑297.  Student eligibility; award of scholarships.

(a)        Eligibility. – To be eligible for a scholarship under this Article, a student must meet all of the following conditions:

(1)        Qualify as a resident for tuition purposes under the criteria set forth in G.S. 116‑143.1 and in accordance with the coordinated and centralized residency determination process administered by the State Education Assistance Authority.

(2)        Meet enrollment standards by being admitted, enrolled, and classified as a full‑time student in the Integrative Community Studies CTP Program at the constituent institution.

(3)        Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrate need according to the federal methodology in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1070, et seq.

(b)        Award of Scholarships; Reduction to Award. – Subject to the availability of funds in the Comprehensive Transition Postsecondary (CTP) Scholarship Fund established under G.S. 116‑316, scholarships shall be awarded to eligible students in an amount to cover the cost of attendance in the CTP program at the constituent institution. If a student who is eligible for a scholarship under this section also receives a scholarship or other grant covering the cost of attendance, then the amount of the scholarship shall be reduced by an appropriate amount determined by the constituent institution so that the total amount of scholarships and grants received by the student does not exceed the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance shall be determined by the constituent institution. In the event there are not sufficient funds available for scholarships for each eligible student to cover the cost of attendance, the constituent institution may adjust the distribution of the amount of scholarships as necessary in an academic year."

SECTION 8.16.(b)  This section becomes effective beginning with the 2022‑2023 academic year.

 

UNC SYSTEM EDUCATIONAL CAREER ALIGNMENT

SECTION 8.17.(a)  The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall contract with an independent research organization to conduct an evaluation of its current programs at each constituent institution of The University of North Carolina related to its operational costs, student outcomes, and return on investment (ROI) of each program. The evaluation conducted by the independent research organization shall include an analysis of at least the following information by constituent institution and undergraduate and graduate degree programs:

(1)        The number of students in each program.

(2)        The number of faculty and other staff employed for each program.

(3)        The related costs to operate each program, inclusive of total staff compensation and benefits, facility costs, and any other related expenses, including overhead.

(4)        A detailed correlation between degree of study and directly related career roles and associated expected starting compensation, as well as expected career earnings for students upon completion of those programs.

(5)        A detailed ROI for each program.

(6)        ROI for State funding expenditures.

(7)        ROI for student funding expenditures.

SECTION 8.17.(b)  Two years from the date this act becomes law, the Board of Governors shall report to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on the results of the evaluation conducted by the independent research organization pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

 

COLLABORATORY/STUDY OF A CYANOBACTERIAL ALGAL BLOOM TREATMENT

SECTION 8.18.(a)  Findings. – The General Assembly finds it is in the best interests of the State, upon consideration of bids and proposals by any agencies of the State bound by the North Carolina Administrative Code on procurement, to remediate and prevent cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in the lakes and reservoirs of North Carolina by selecting an in situ treatment of the nutrient impaired surface waters in lakes and reservoirs through giving preference to those vendors who comply with the following specifications, which is to be considered as constituting the best practices for cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom remediation and prevention in North Carolina waters:

(1)        The technology employed must be approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and certified to meet or exceed The American National Standards for health effects of drinking water treatment chemicals (NSF/ANSI/CAN 60) and be registered for application by the State.

(2)        A vendor must have previous experience treating water bodies larger than 1,000 acres with proven success in the United States.

(3)        A treatment aim must be to reduce cyanotoxins in the water to less than harmful levels.

(4)        A treatment technology employed must be ready to use without limitation of size or shape of the waterbody.

(5)        A preference must be given to employment of technology allowing for application under emergency situations and within less than 96 hours from approval.

(6)        A preference must be given to products that are modular and can be used as a preventative measure.

(7)        A preference must be given to products that are quick and easy to apply and are safe to the applicator.

(8)        A preference must be given to products that float on the surface of the water and do not sink immediately to the bottom of the water column and are not diminished in effectiveness by mixing with sediment.

(9)        A preference must be given to products that are distributed autonomously across the water body after a localized application.

(10)      A preference must be given to products with a time release mechanism that applies constant and prolonged oxidative stress of the cyanobacteria triggered by the programmed cell death signaling cascade resulting in their collapse.

(11)      A preference must be given for products manufactured in the United States.

SECTION 8.18.(b)  The North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Collaboratory) shall evaluate the effectiveness and efficacy of an approved in situ treatment of the nutrient impaired surface waters in lakes and reservoirs on cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms under subsection (a) of this section. The Collaboratory shall report the results of the evaluation no later than April 1, 2023, to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources; the chairs of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources; the chairs of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Natural, and Economic Resources; and the Fiscal Research Division.

SECTION 8.18.(c)  The nonrecurring funds appropriated in this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina and allocated to the Collaboratory for the study of a cyanobacterial algal bloom treatment provided in subsection (b) of this section shall not revert to the General Fund at the end of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year but shall remain available until expended.

 

NC PATRIOT STAR FAMILY RECOVERY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

SECTION 8.19.(a)  Program Established. – Of the funds appropriated by this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the North Carolina Patriot Star Family Recovery Scholarship Program (Program), the Board of Governors shall make funds available to (i) the Patriot Foundation, a nonprofit corporation, and (ii) the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, for the purpose of establishing and administering scholarships under the NC Patriot Star Family Recovery Scholarship Program in accordance with the requirements of this section.

SECTION 8.19.(b)  Purpose of the Program. – The Patriot Foundation and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., respectively, shall provide for scholarships under the Program to eligible children, eligible spouses of certain veterans, eligible children of certain currently serving members of the Armed Forces, and eligible disabled veterans to attend eligible postsecondary institutions to help remediate the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic so that individuals who meet certain income criteria can recover learning and achieve credential and degree attainment.

SECTION 8.19.(c)  Definitions. – For the purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)        Armed Forces. – A component of the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including their reserve components.

(2)        Eligible child or eligible children. – Any person (i) who is a legal resident of North Carolina when scholarship documentation is completed, provided that if a child is claimed as a dependent by the child's parent, residency may be established based on a parent meeting sub‑sub‑subdivision 4. of sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision and (ii) whose parent is a veteran or a currently serving member of the Armed Forces that meets the following:

a.         Meets one of the following residency conditions:

1.         Is a resident of North Carolina at the time of scholarship documentation completion.

2.         Was a resident of North Carolina at the time of entrance into service in the Armed Forces.

3.         Was permanently stationed in North Carolina at the time of his or her death.

4.         Is an active duty service member permanently stationed in North Carolina at the time of documentation completion.

b.         Meets one of the following service conditions:

1.         Was a member of the Armed Forces who was killed in action or in the line of duty or died of wounds or other causes not due to the service member's willful misconduct during a period of war, national emergency, or training in preparation for future conflicts and is a direct result of service in the line of duty.

2.         Was a member of the Armed Forces who died of service‑connected injuries, wounds, illness, or other causes incurred or aggravated while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war, national emergency, or training in preparation for future conflicts and is a direct result of service in the line of duty. Standard documentation of the parent's death, wounds, injury, or illness must be supplied by a scholarship recipient at the time of scholarship request.

3.         Is a veteran of the Armed Forces who incurred traumatic injuries or wounds or sustained a major illness while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war, national emergency, or training in preparation for future conflicts and is a direct result of service in the line of duty and is receiving compensation for a wartime service–connected disability of at least fifty percent (50%) as rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

4.         Is a current member of the Armed Forces who incurred traumatic injuries or wounds or sustained a major illness while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war or national emergency. The parent's traumatic wounds, injury, or major illness must be documented by the member's Unit Commander.

(3)        Eligible disabled veteran. – Any person who (i) is a veteran of the Armed Forces who incurred traumatic injuries or wounds or sustained a major illness while a member of the Armed Forces during a period of war or national emergency and is receiving compensation for a wartime service–connected disability of at least fifty percent (50%) as rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and (ii) is a resident of North Carolina at the time of scholarship documentation completion.

(4)        Eligible postsecondary institution. – A school that is any of the following:

a.         A constituent institution of The University of North Carolina.

b.         A community college under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Community Colleges.

c.         A private educational institution as defined in G.S. 143B‑1224.

d.         A private vocational institution, including Federal Aviation Administration certificated aviation training programs.

(5)        Eligible spouse. – Any person (i) who is a legal resident of North Carolina when scholarship documentation is completed and (ii) whose spouse meets one of the conditions set forth in sub‑sub‑subdivisions 1. through 3. of sub‑subdivision b. of subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(6)        Veteran. – An individual who has served and is no longer serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. For the purposes of this section, the veteran must have separated from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions or whose death or disability of at least fifty percent (50%) or more was incurred as a direct result of service in the line of duty.

SECTION 8.19.(d)  Other Eligibility Requirements. – Any eligible child, eligible spouse, or eligible disabled veteran shall also meet the following conditions to be eligible for a scholarship under the Program:

(1)        Has a household income of less than three hundred fifty percent (350%) of the federal poverty level. Veterans disability compensation and related compensation benefits received by a veteran shall not be included in calculating the income level of an applicant's household for the purposes of determining eligibility for a scholarship under the Program. An applicant shall provide any financial information necessary to the Patriot Foundation or the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., as appropriate, for the purposes of calculating income eligibility under this subdivision.

(2)        Is attending or has been accepted to enroll in an eligible postsecondary institution.

(3)        Has complied with the requirements of the Selective Service System, if applicable.

SECTION 8.19.(e)  Administration; Awards. – Within the funds made available for the Program, the Patriot Foundation and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation shall each separately administer and award scholarships to eligible applicants in accordance with the requirements of the Program. In administering the Program, each nonprofit corporation shall be responsible for Program oversight for the scholarships awarded through its organization to ensure compliance with the provisions of this section. Each nonprofit corporation may contract with the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) for administrative assistance for the Program. Each nonprofit corporation may use funds allocated to it under this section for any administrative costs associated with a contract with the Authority.

Each nonprofit corporation shall, at a minimum, establish criteria and procedures related to scholarship documentation completion, the amount of individual scholarships, the permissible uses of scholarship funds, the period of eligibility for award of a scholarship, the conditions for a revocation of a scholarship, and any other procedures it deems necessary for its administration of the Program.

If a scholarship recipient receives a scholarship or other grant covering the cost of attendance at an eligible postsecondary institution for which the scholarship is awarded, then the amount of a scholarship awarded under this section shall be reduced so that the sum of all grants and scholarships covering the cost of attendance received by the recipient does not exceed the cost of attendance for the institution. For the purposes of this section, cost of attendance shall include monies for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and school‑related expenses, including laptops, equipment, tutoring support, as well as room and board as long as the scholarship recipient is enrolled as at least a half‑time student at the institution. Off‑campus housing costs for room and board are also included to the extent the eligible postsecondary institution includes it in its cost of attendance.

SECTION 8.19.(f)  Reporting. – The Patriot Foundation shall submit a report by April 1 of each year in which the Patriot Foundation spends federal funds made available for the Program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the activities related to the Program and the use of the funds through the deadline established by federal law and guidelines.

The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, Inc., shall submit a report by April 1 of each year in which the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation spends federal funds made available for the Program to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the activities related to the Program and the use of the funds through the deadline established by federal law and guidelines.

 

STUDENT BEEKEEPING GRANT PROGRAM

SECTION 8.20.(a)  North Carolina State University (NC State University) shall establish a Student Beekeeping Grant Program for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to provide grants to create beekeeping programs for high school chapters of Future Farmers of America (FFA) located in this State, in accordance with the following:

(1)        Expenses eligible for funding from a grant under this section shall include the purchase of any of the following:

a.         Woodenware and other materials necessary to house honeybee colonies, including hive bodies, supers, top and bottom boards, inner covers, and frames.

b.         Protective gear and other equipment necessary for the practice of beekeeping.

c.         Queens, honeybee packages, and nucleus colonies.

d.         Eligible educational expenses for no more than two persons per grant. For purposes of this subdivision, an eligible educational expense means registration and materials for a course designed to assist the participant to become a beekeeper certified by the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association.

(2)        NC State University shall ensure that no more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) per county is available to FFA chapters at high schools in that county. FFA chapters shall be responsible for matching the grant received in a manner and amount as NC State University may specify.

(3)        NC State University shall provide for a recovery of the grant award if the beekeeping program funded by the grant is not maintained for at least three school years.

SECTION 8.20.(b)  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to be allocated to North Carolina State University for the Student Beekeeping Grant Program, North Carolina State University may spend up to fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for administrative costs, including the costs of promoting the program to potential grantees.

 

TRANSFER POSITION FROM NCCU TO OSHR

SECTION 8.22.  As part of the certification of the budget for the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, The University of North Carolina System Office, in consultation with the Office of State Budget and Management, shall transfer position number 6503074 and associated costs from North Carolina Central University to the Office of State Human Resources in accordance with the agency agreement approved on August 15, 2003, entitled "Operating Budget Revision – DLS‑1311‑Transfer Position to NCCU."

 

Food Innovation Lab Funds

SECTION 8.23.  The nonrecurring funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis shall not revert to the General Fund at the end of the fiscal year but shall remain available until expended.

 

KITTY HAWK PUBLIC‑PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP PROJECT FOR DIGITAL LEARNING and career development in response to the covid‑19 pandemic

SECTION 8.24.(a)  The General Assembly finds that:

(1)        Postsecondary enrollment has declined during the COVID‑19 pandemic, particularly among low‑income and minority students

(2)        Providing a digital learning option for postsecondary education is critical to reach students who were forced off campus and into the workforce by education changes caused by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(3)        The University of North Carolina is well‑positioned to provide enhanced postsecondary learning and career advancement opportunities to citizens of this State.

(4)        It is of salient importance that higher education in North Carolina generate postsecondary learning and career advancement opportunities for individuals whose postsecondary education was impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic.

(5)        It is vital for The University of North Carolina to immediately work toward (i) enhancing digital learning programs offered by the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina and (ii) meeting postsecondary attainment goals consistent with G.S. 116C‑10, which sets the goal that 2,000,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 44 will have completed a high‑quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030.

SECTION 8.24.(b)  Of the funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year, the sum of ninety‑seven million dollars ($97,000,000) shall be allocated to support digital learning and career development programs offered by constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina through the Project Kitty Hawk public‑private partnership (Project Kitty Hawk).

SECTION 8.24.(c)  Project Kitty Hawk shall be conducted by a nonprofit corporation created in accordance with this section and G.S. 116‑30.20. The nonprofit corporation shall include in its corporate bylaws that the organization will be governed by a board of directors consisting of nine members, as follows:

(1)        Two ex officio voting members as follows:

a.         The President of The University of North Carolina.

b.         The Chair of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina.

(2)        Seven voting members appointed by the Board of Governors, in consultation with the President of The University of North Carolina, as follows:

a.         Three members who shall be chancellors or chief academic officers of constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina.

b.         Four members who shall be individuals having experience in business management, higher education, or both.

SECTION 8.24.(d)  Beginning March 1, 2022, and annually thereafter:

(1)        The nonprofit corporation board of directors shall report to the General Assembly on its activities, corporate performance, and any other relevant matters pertaining to its corporate mission.

(2)        The University of North Carolina System Office shall report to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, and the Fiscal Research Division regarding the public‑private partnership established under this section and the progress made toward reaching the State's digital learning attainment goals. The report shall include information on the development and implementation of online degree programs in collaboration with constituent institutions, including participation by constituent institutions, student demographics for course enrollment, tuition receipts and fees for online courses, and completion of student degree programs through digital courses by institution.

SECTION 8.24.(e)  G.S. 116‑11(9) is amended by adding a new sub‑subdivision to read:

"e.        Digital learning student credit hours provided with the support of a nonprofit corporation established by The University of North Carolina System Office pursuant to G.S. 116‑30.20 shall not be included in an enrollment change funding request under sub‑subdivision a1. of this subdivision."

SECTION 8.24.(f)  G.S. 116‑36.1(g) is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

"(13)    Moneys received by an institution as tuition for digital learning programs provided with the support of a nonprofit corporation established by The University of North Carolina System Office pursuant to G.S. 116‑30.20."

 

NC PROMISE/ADD FAYETTEVILLE STATE

SECTION 8.25.(a)  G.S. 116‑143.11 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑143.11.  NC Promise Tuition Plan; State "buy down" of certain financial obligations; annual report.

(a)        The NC Promise Tuition Plan shall be established and implemented as provided by this section. Notwithstanding G.S. 116‑143 and G.S. 116‑11(7), the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall set the rate of undergraduate tuition for Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville State University, and Western Carolina University as follows: beginning with the 2018 fall academic semester, the rate of tuition for students deemed to be North Carolina residents for purposes of tuition shall be five hundred dollars ($500.00) per academic semester and the rate of tuition for nonresident students shall be two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per academic semester.

(b)        Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State shall "buy down" the amount of any financial obligation resulting from the established tuition rate that may be incurred by Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville State University, and Western Carolina University.

(c)        When implementing the provisions of this section, the Board of Governors shall give due consideration to maintaining the unique historical character of each institution, including service to students who are first generation, college‑going, economically disadvantaged, or minority.

(d)       By October 1, 2018, and by October 1 of each year thereafter, year, the Board of Governors and the chancellors of Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Fayetteville State University, and Western Carolina University, respectively, shall submit a report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the House Appropriations Committee on Education, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the amount of any financial obligation resulting from the established tuition rate incurred at each constituent institution and at least the following information for the fiscal year:

(1)        The amount required to offset the forgone tuition receipts at each of the three four constituent institutions as a result of the tuition rate established by this section and how those funds were allocated to each constituent institution.

(2)        The number of enrolled resident students at each constituent institution.

(3)        The number of enrolled nonresident students at each constituent institution."

SECTION 8.25.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 116‑143.11(d), as amended by this section, the initial report for Fayetteville State University shall be submitted by October 1, 2022.

SECTION 8.25.(c)  This section applies beginning with the 2022‑2023 academic year.

 

ESTABLISH STANDARDS AND PILOT PROGRAM FOR HIGHLY TREATED WASTEWATER

SECTION 8.26.(a)  The following definitions apply in this section:

(1)        Highly treated wastewater. – Effluent discharged from a wastewater system that is designed and operated to meet the following standards:

a.         With respect to the carbonaceous biological oxygen demand (CBOD5), 10mg/L.

b.         With respect to NH3, 10mg/L.

c.         With respect to total nitrogen, 10mg/L, or a minimum of sixty percent (60%) reduction from the influent total Kjeldahl nitrogen.

d.         With respect to total phosphorus, 5mg/L, unless discharged into nutrient sensitive waters.

e.         With respect to fecal coliforms, 10 colonies/100mL.

f.          Capture and removal of residual sludge and biogases.

g.         With respect to total suspended solids, less than or equal to 10mg/L.

(2)        Wastewater system. – Defined in G.S. 130A‑334.

SECTION 8.26.(b)  Funds allocated from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the Innovative Highly Treated Wastewater Pilot Program (Program) shall be provided to the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Collaboratory) to establish the Program as described in this subsection. The Collaboratory may use up to one million dollars ($1,000,000) of the funds allocated by this subsection for research and administrative costs related to the Program, of which up to two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) may be used to reimburse the Department of Environmental Quality for its administrative costs. Project funding from the funds allocated by this section is limited to the lesser of forty percent (40%) of the total project cost or four million dollars ($4,000,000). In implementing the Program, the Collaboratory shall do the following:

(1)        Review and evaluate wastewater systems producing highly treated wastewater, either as a single unit or as a combination of treatment devices for suitability as a wastewater treatment option for local governments, sanitary districts, or public authorities considered distressed, as defined by G.S. 159G‑20, that (i) have no more than 10,000 customers or (ii) include residential or commercial developments or subdivisions that are unable to be served by existing wastewater systems.

(2)        Identify no less than five local governments, sanitary districts, or public authorities meeting the criteria set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection as participants in the Program.

(3)        Work with Program participants to submit permit applications to the Department of Environmental Quality and, upon permit approval, to construct the wastewater systems.

(4)        Conduct research and monitoring to quantify the efficacy of the wastewater systems funded and built as part of the Program. The Collaboratory shall share results of this research with Program participants and the Department.

SECTION 8.26.(c)  The Department of Environmental Quality shall do the following with respect to entities receiving wastewater systems producing highly treated wastewater under subsection (b) of this section to the extent not inconsistent with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting authority delegated from the United States Environmental Protection Agency:

(1)        Review and qualify wastewater systems producing highly treated wastewater, either as a single unit or as a combination of treatment devices. The Department shall require the manufacturer of the wastewater system within five days of the qualification under this subdivision to file with the Department a performance bond or other surety with a minimum term of five years to be executed in favor of the permittee in the amount sufficient to cover system replacement. Operation, maintenance, abuse, or change in hydraulic flows or wastewater characteristics shall not be attached to the performance bond or surety.

(2)        Work with the entities identified under subsection (b) of this section to permit the wastewater systems meeting the standards for highly treated wastewater set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The system must be consistent with the action plan developed by the entities as set forth in G.S. 159G‑45(b)(3).

SECTION 8.26.(d)  No later than December 1, 2024, the Collaboratory, with the assistance of the Department of Environmental Quality, shall provide a report to the Environmental Management Commission and the Environmental Review Commission evaluating the systems permitted under the pilot program established in this section. The report shall assess the effectiveness of these systems compared to the systems previously operated by the local government, sanitary district, or public authority, along with suggestions for further legislation and rulemaking necessary to support the adoption of highly treated wastewater systems.

SECTION 8.26.(e)  The Commission for Public Health shall adopt temporary and permanent rules to provide for approval of treatment system applications for use in the State and create benefits for systems producing higher wastewater treatment levels that are proportional and graduated. These rules shall include, at a minimum, the following:

(1)        Subject to the requirements of subdivision (4) of this subsection, applications for provisional wastewater systems, as defined in G.S. 130A‑343(a)(7), from manufacturers of wastewater systems with certification and listing for one or more years from a nationally recognized certification body, as defined in G.S. 130A‑343(a)(6), shall be approved within 45 days of receipt of a complete application. The proposed wastewater system listed in the application shall be identical in design and features to the wastewater system certified and listed by the nationally recognized certification body.

(2)        Subject to the requirements of subdivision (4) of this subsection, applications for proposed wastewater systems without certification and listing from a nationally recognized certification body, as defined in G.S. 130A‑343(a)(6), shall be approved as provisional and shall allow the issuance of a maximum of 200 improvement permits and authorizations for wastewater system construction.

(3)        Subject to the requirements of subdivision (4) of this subsection, applications for innovative status of a wastewater system shall be approved (i) after two years of certification and listing by a nationally recognized certification body and one year of field data in this State or other states or countries approved by DHHS or (ii) if not listed by a nationally recognized body, after completion of provisional status requirements in accordance with G.S. 130A‑343(f). For systems receiving innovative status as a result of receiving national certification, those systems shall be identical to the system certified and listed by the nationally recognized certification body and identical to the systems installed in this State and approved by DHHS or other states or countries.

(4)        Applications for wastewater systems and dispersal products received after the effective date of this subsection shall demonstrate structural integrity, including subjecting the trench system to axle load of 16,000 pounds when covered with 12 inches of compacted soil and 4,000 pounds when covered with 6 inches of compacted soil without breakage, collapse, fracture, or compression that prevents the downline distribution of wastewater. Wastewater treatment devices with identifying surface or above grade access for operation and maintenance shall be excluded from load testing when installed and backfilled in accordance with the rules or the product approval.

(5)        Wastewater systems found by DHHS to meet standards for reclaimed water based on (i) field demonstrations over a two‑year period in this State or other states approved by DHHS that the system meets reclaimed water standards or (ii) certification and listing by a nationally recognized body, such as the National Sanitation Foundation Standard 350, shall be approved for designs that eliminate repair area rules in Type I soils. Elimination of repair areas shall be considered for domestic strength wastewater only. Systems permitted without repair area under this subsection shall be classified by DHHS as a Type VI(b) system under DHHS rules and shall be inspected no less than 12 times per year.

(6)        Vertical and horizontal restrictions to property lines and limiting conditions for systems approved under this subsection shall be reduced proportionally to the graduated increases in wastewater quality.

SECTION 8.26.(f)  The Commission for Public Health and the Department of Health and Human Services shall report quarterly on their implementation of subsection (d) of this section beginning no later than May 1, 2022, and shall continue quarterly reporting until rulemaking activities required by this section have been completed.

SECTION 8.26.(g)  This section is effective when it becomes law. Funds allocated by this section that are not spent or encumbered by June 30, 2024, shall revert to the Wastewater Reserve to be used for any of the purposes authorized in G.S. 159G‑32(b).

 

ENGINEERING NORTH CAROLINA'S FUTURE/FUNDS

SECTION 8.27.  Of the twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) in nonrecurring funds appropriated in this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and allocated as follows, any unexpended funds remaining at the end of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund, but shall remain available until the end of the 2022‑2023 fiscal year:

(1)        Twelve million five hundred thousand dollars ($12,500,000) for the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University at Raleigh.

(2)        Five million dollars ($5,000,000) for The William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

(3)        Two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000) for the College of Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

 

PART VIII‑A. University/State Education Assistance Authority

 

TUITION GRANTS FOR NCSSM/UNCSA GRADUATES

SECTION 8A.1.(a)  Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Part to read:

"Part 6. Tuition Grant for High School Graduates of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

"§ 116‑209.90.  Tuition grants for graduates to attend a constituent institution.

(a)        Within the funds available, a high school graduate from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) or the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in each school year who meets the following conditions shall be eligible for a tuition grant awarded under this Part:

(1)        Is a resident for tuition purposes under the criteria set forth in G.S. 116‑143.1 and in accordance with the coordinated and centralized residency determination process administered by the Authority.

(2)        Enrolls as a full‑time student in a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina in the next academic year after graduation.

(b)        Students who receive initial tuition grants as a cohort of a high school graduating class of NCSSM or UNCSA shall also be eligible to apply for tuition grants for subsequent academic years for up to a total of four academic years. A student must be continuously enrolled in a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina after the award of the initial tuition grant to be eligible for tuition grants in subsequent academic years. The Authority shall have the discretion to waive this requirement if the student is able to demonstrate that any of the following have substantially disrupted or interrupted the student's pursuit of a degree: (i) a military service obligation, (ii) serious medical debilitation, (iii) a short‑term or long‑term disability, or (iv) other extraordinary hardship.

(c)        The amount of the tuition grant to each graduate shall be determined and distributed as provided in G.S. 116‑209.91.

"§ 116‑209.91.  Administration of tuition grants.

(a)        The Authority shall administer the tuition grants provided for in this Part pursuant to guidelines and procedures established by the Authority consistent with its practices for administering State‑funded financial aid. The guidelines and procedures shall include an application process and schedule, notification and disbursement procedures, standards for reporting, and standards for return of tuition grants when a student withdraws. The Authority shall not approve any grant until it receives proper certification from the appropriate constituent institution that the student applying for the grant is an eligible student. Upon receipt of the certification, the Authority shall remit, at the times it prescribes, the tuition grant to the constituent institution on behalf, and to the credit, of the student. In the event a student on whose behalf a tuition grant has been paid is not enrolled and carrying a minimum academic load as of the tenth classroom day following the beginning of the school term for which the tuition grant was paid, the constituent institution shall refund the full amount of the tuition grant to the Authority.

(b)        Except as otherwise provided in this section, the amount of the grant awarded to a student shall cover the tuition cost at the constituent institution in which the student is enrolled. No tuition grant awarded to a student under this section shall exceed the cost of attendance at a constituent institution for which the student is enrolled.

(c)        If a student, who is eligible for a tuition grant under this section, also receives a scholarship or other grant covering the cost of attendance at the constituent institution for which the tuition grant is awarded, then the amount of the tuition grant shall be reduced by an appropriate amount determined by the Authority so that the total amount of scholarships and grants received by the student does not exceed the cost of attendance for the institution. The cost of attendance shall be determined by the Authority for each constituent institution.

(d)       In the event there are not sufficient funds to provide each eligible student who has applied in accordance with the application process and the schedule established by the Authority with a full tuition grant as provided by this Part, each eligible student shall receive a pro rata share of funds available for the academic year covered by the appropriation in the preceding fiscal year.

(e)        The Authority may use up to five percent (5%) of the funds appropriated each year for tuition grants under this Part for administrative costs."

SECTION 8A.1.(b)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to appropriate the following additional funds for the purpose of awarding tuition grants for future high school graduating classes of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), including students graduating from the Morganton campus of NCSSM, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts:

(1)        For the 2023‑2024 fiscal year, the sum of one million seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($1,750,000) in recurring funds.

(2)        For the 2024‑2025 fiscal year, the sum of two million three hundred thousand dollars ($2,300,000) in recurring funds.

(3)        For the 2025‑2026 fiscal year, the sum of five hundred fifty thousand dollars ($550,000) in recurring funds.

(4)        For the 2026‑2027 fiscal year, the sum of five hundred fifty thousand dollars ($550,000) in recurring funds.

(5)        For the 2027‑2028 fiscal year, the sum of five hundred fifty thousand dollars ($550,000) in recurring funds.

SECTION 8A.1.(c)  Subsection (a) of this section applies beginning with graduates of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts from the 2020‑2021 school year.

 

PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES NEED‑BASED FINANCIAL AID CONSOLIDATION

SECTION 8A.2.(a)  Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Part to read:

"Part 5. The North Carolina Need‑Based Scholarship for Public Colleges and Universities.

"§ 116‑209.80.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply to this Part:

(1)        Eligible postsecondary institution. – A school that is:

a.         A constituent institution of The University of North Carolina as defined in G.S. 116‑2(4).

b.         A community college as defined in G.S. 115D‑2(2).

(2)        Matriculated status. – Being recognized as a student in a defined program of study leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate at an eligible postsecondary institution.

(3)        Program. – The North Carolina Need‑Based Scholarship Program for Public Colleges and Universities.

(4)        Reserve Fund. – Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities.

(5)        Scholarship. – A scholarship for education awarded under this Part.

(6)        Title IV. – Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1070, et seq.

"§ 116‑209.81.  Eligibility requirements for a scholarship.

(a)        In order to be eligible to receive a scholarship under this Part, a student seeking a degree, diploma, or certificate at an eligible postsecondary institution must meet all of the following requirements:

(1)        Qualify as a resident for tuition purposes under the criteria set forth in G.S. 116‑143.1 and in accordance with the coordinated and centralized residency determination process administered by the Authority.

(2)        Meet enrollment standards by being admitted, enrolled, and classified as an undergraduate student in a matriculated status at an eligible postsecondary institution. The President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System may jointly agree to additional enrollment standards for the Program.

(3)        Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrate need according to federal methodology in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1070, et seq.

(b)        In addition to the criteria set forth in subsection (a) of this section, in order for a student to continue to be eligible for a scholarship for the student's second and subsequent academic years, the student must meet achievement standards by maintaining satisfactory academic progress in a course of study in accordance with the standards and practices used for federal Title IV programs by the eligible postsecondary institution in which the student is enrolled.

"§ 116‑209.82.  Semester limitation on eligibility for scholarship.

(a)        Except as otherwise provided by subsection (c) of this section, a student matriculating at a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina shall not receive a scholarship for more than 10 full‑time academic semesters, or its equivalent if enrolled part‑time, unless the student is enrolled in a program officially designated by the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina as a five‑year degree program. If a student is enrolled in such a five‑year degree program, then the student shall not receive a scholarship for more than 12 full‑time academic semesters or the equivalent if enrolled part‑time.

(b)        Except as otherwise provided by subsection (c) of this section, a student shall not receive a scholarship for more than six full‑time academic semesters, or the equivalent if enrolled part‑time, while matriculating at a community college.

(c)        Upon application by a student, the applicable eligible postsecondary institution may grant a waiver to the student who may then receive a scholarship for the equivalent of one additional full‑time academic semester if the student demonstrates that any of the following have substantially disrupted or interrupted the student's pursuit of a degree, diploma, or certificate: (i) a military service obligation, (ii) serious medical debilitation, (iii) a short‑term or long‑term disability, or (iv) other extraordinary hardship. The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina or the State Board of Community Colleges, as appropriate, shall establish policies and procedures to implement the waiver provided by this subsection.

"§ 116‑209.83.  Scholarship amounts; adjustment of scholarship amounts.

(a)        Scholarship Amounts. – Subject to the availability of funds in the Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities, as provided in G.S. 116‑209.85, a scholarship awarded under this Part to a student at an eligible postsecondary institution shall be based upon a consolidated payment schedule established jointly by the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System, in consultation with the Authority. The payment schedule shall clearly define award amounts by type of eligible postsecondary institution and student financial need as defined by federal methodology. The Authority shall publish the payment schedule for the Program in an easily accessible and understandable format. Once published, a payment schedule shall remain in effect unless otherwise agreed by the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System.

(b)        Availability of Scholarships. – Subject to the payment schedule described in subsection (a) of this section, the Authority shall have the power to determine the actual scholarship amounts disbursed to students in any given year based on the amount of funds available in the Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities created pursuant to G.S. 116‑209.85. If the funds available are not sufficient to fully fund the scholarships as set forth in the payment schedule established pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Authority, in consultation with the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System, shall adjust the distribution of the funds as necessary.

"§ 116‑209.84.  Scholarship administration; reporting requirements.

(a)        The scholarships provided for in this Part shall be administered by the Authority under rules adopted by the Authority in accordance with the provisions of this Part.

(b)        Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Authority shall conduct periodic evaluations of expenditures under the Program administered by the Authority to determine if allocations are utilized to ensure access to eligible postsecondary institutions and to meet the goals of respective programs. The authority may make recommendations of the redistribution of funds to the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System, who then may jointly authorize redistribution of funds for a particular fiscal year.

(c)        The Authority shall report no later than December 1, 2024, and annually thereafter to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee. The report shall contain, for the previous academic year, the dollar amount of awards disbursed, the number of eligible students receiving funds, and a breakdown of the eligible postsecondary institutions that received the funds.

(d)       Scholarship funds unexpended shall remain available for future scholarships to be awarded under this Part.

"§ 116‑209.85.  Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities.

(a)        There is established the Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities as a reserve consisting of the following monies:

(1)        Funds appropriated by the General Assembly for the Program from the Education Lottery Fund in the Current Operations Appropriations Act for a fiscal year for education‑related purposes in accordance with G.S. 18C‑164.

(2)        Funds appropriated by the General Assembly for the Program from the Escheat Fund in the Current Operations Appropriations Act for a fiscal year that is distributed annually on or before August 15 to the Authority pursuant to G.S. 116B‑7(a).

(3)        Funds appropriated by the General Assembly for the Program from the General Fund in the Current Operations Appropriations Act for a fiscal year.

(4)        All returned scholarship funds from the Program.

(5)        All interest earned on these funds.

(b)        The Authority shall create two reserves within the Reserve Fund as follows: The University of North Carolina (UNC Reserve) and the North Carolina Community College System (CC Reserve) from monies in the Reserve Fund. The funds in the reserves shall be used for scholarships for the academic year that begins in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the allocations are made to the reserves. Allocations shall be made from the reserves for the amounts determined for the payment schedules for eligible postsecondary institutions pursuant to G.S. 116‑209.83.

Beginning with the 2023‑2024 fiscal year and for each subsequent fiscal year, within the funds available, the Authority shall allocate an amount equal to the amount from the prior fiscal year for the UNC Reserve and the CC Reserve to each reserve, respectively, unless otherwise agreed to by the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System. Additional funds may be directed to the reserves from a Current Operations Appropriations Act in a fiscal year. The reserves established for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year shall consist of the following funds:

(1)        For the UNC Reserve, the monies shall consist of the following:

a.         An amount equal to the amount appropriated to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for The University of North Carolina Need‑Based Financial Aid Program for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year.

b.         An amount equal to the proportionate share of the appropriation for the Education Lottery Scholarship Program based on awards of financial assistance to students enrolled in The University of North Carolina from the Education Lottery Scholarship Program for the 2017‑2018, 2018‑2019, and 2019‑2020 fiscal years.

(2)        For the CC Reserve, the monies shall consist of the following:

a.         An amount equal to the amount appropriated to the Community Colleges System Office for the North Carolina Community College Grant Program, except for funds set aside for the targeted assistance program pursuant to G.S. 115D‑40.1, for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year.

b.         An amount equal to the proportionate share of the appropriation for the Education Lottery Scholarship based on awards of financial assistance to students enrolled in North Carolina community colleges from the Education Lottery Scholarship Program for the 2017‑2018, 2018‑2019, and 2019‑2020 fiscal years.

(c)        Monies in the Reserve Fund shall not revert at the end of each fiscal year but shall remain available until expended for the purposes of this Part.

(d)       The Authority may use up to one and one‑half percent (1.5%) of the funds available in the Reserve Fund each fiscal year for administrative costs related to the Program. Upon a determination by the Authority that funds in excess of one percent (1%) are necessary to administer the Program, including funds necessary for one‑time or recurring costs, the Authority shall consult with the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System at the same time the consolidated payment schedule is set pursuant to G.S. 116‑209.83. The Authority shall also report the amount of the increase and the purpose for which the additional funds will be used to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee and the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly within 30 days of the increase. In no event shall the cost of administering the Program in a fiscal year exceed one and one‑half percent (1.5%) of the funds available in the Reserve Fund."

SECTION 8A.2.(b)  G.S. 116B‑7 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116B‑7.  Distribution of fund.

(a)        The income derived from the investment or deposit of the Escheat Fund shall be distributed annually on or before August 15 to the State Education Assistance Authority for grants and loans to aid worthy and needy students who are residents of this State and are enrolled in public institutions of higher education in this State. Such grants and loans shall be made upon terms, consistent with the provisions of this Chapter, pursuant to which the State Education Assistance Authority makes grants and loans to other students under G.S. 116‑201 to 116‑209.23, Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes, policies of the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina regarding need‑based grants for students of The University of North Carolina, and policies of the State Board of Community Colleges regarding need‑based grants for students of the community colleges. The Authority shall deposit an amount specified in the Current Operations Appropriations Act from the Escheat Fund into the Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities pursuant to G.S. 116‑209.85 each fiscal year to fund the North Carolina Need‑Based Scholarship for Public Colleges and Universities pursuant to Part 5 of Article 23 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes.

(b)        An amount specified in the Current Operations Appropriations Act shall be transferred annually from the Escheat Fund to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to partially fund the program of Scholarships for Children of War Veterans established by Part 2 of Article 14 of Chapter 143B of the General Statutes. Those funds may be used only for residents of this State who (i) are worthy and needy as determined by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and (ii) are enrolled in public institutions of higher education of this State."

SECTION 8A.2.(c)  By May 1, 2022, the President of The University of North Carolina and the President of the North Carolina Community College System shall report to the Fiscal Research Division, the House Appropriations Education Committee, and the Senate Appropriations on Education/Higher Education Committee on the following regarding the consolidation of student financial assistance for constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina and the community colleges:

(1)        The payment schedule required by G.S. 116‑209.83, as enacted by this section.

(2)        Potential ways to include students with intellectual and developmental disabilities as eligible for scholarships through the North Carolina Need‑Based Scholarship Program for Public Colleges and Universities or other student financial assistance recommendations, including grants or other funding sources for students enrolled in Comprehensive Transition Programs.

(3)        Any recommended legislative changes, including for the North Carolina Need‑Based Scholarship Program for Public Colleges and Universities.

SECTION 8A.2.(d)  By October 15, 2022, the Authority shall transfer any unexpended balances remaining in the reserves for The University of North Carolina Need‑Based Financial Aid Program, the North Carolina Community College Grant Program, and the Education Lottery Scholarship to the Scholarship Reserve Fund for Public Colleges and Universities under G.S. 116‑209.85, as enacted by this section.

SECTION 8A.2.(e)  Article 35A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is repealed.

SECTION 8A.2.(f)  G.S. 116‑209.19A reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑209.19A.  Limit semesters eligible for need‑based grants and scholarships.

The Authority administers the following need‑based grant and scholarship programs: the Education Lottery Scholarships, North Carolina Community College Grant Program, The University of North Carolina Need‑Based Financial Aid Program, North Carolina Need‑Based Scholarship for Public Colleges and Universities and Need‑Based Scholarships for Students Attending Private Institutions of Higher Education. G.S. 115C‑499.2A, 115D‑40.2, 116‑25.1, G.S. 116‑209.82 and 116‑281.1 G.S. 116‑281.1 limit the number of semesters that a student may receive a grant or scholarship from any of those these programs and also provide the circumstances in which a waiver to those limits may be granted by the appropriate postsecondary institution. The Authority shall enforce these limitations in administering these programs so that unless a waiver is granted by the appropriate postsecondary institution, no student shall receive a grant or scholarship from any of those programs or any combination of those financial aid programs while pursuing a degree, diploma, or certificate for more than any of the following time periods: (i) 10 full‑time academic semesters or its equivalent if enrolled part‑time or (ii) 12 full‑time academic semesters or its equivalent if the student is enrolled in a program officially designated as a five‑year degree program.

A postsecondary institution that grants a waiver under G.S. 115C‑499.2A, 115D‑40.2, 116‑25.1, G.S. 116‑209.82 or 116‑281.1 G.S. 116‑281.1 shall certify the granting of the waiver in a manner acceptable to the Authority and shall also maintain documentation substantiating the reason for the waiver."

SECTION 8A.2.(g)  G.S. 115D‑40.1 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115D‑40.1.  Targeted Financial Assistance for Community College Students.Students; participation in federal programs.

(a)        Need‑Based Assistance Program. – It is the intent of the General Assembly that the Community College System make these financial aid funds available to the neediest students who are not eligible for other financial aid programs that fully cover the required educational expenses of these students. The State Board may use some of these funds as short‑term loans to students who anticipate receiving the federal HOPE or Lifetime Learning Tax Credits.

(b)        Targeted Financial Assistance. – Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the Within the funds available, the State Board may allocate up to ten percent (10%) of the funds appropriated for Financial Assistance for Community College Students provide financial assistance to the following students:

(1)        Students who enroll in low‑enrollment programs that prepare students for high‑demand occupations.

(2)        Students with disabilities who have been referred by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and are enrolled in a community college.

(3)        Students enrolled in fewer than six credit hours per semester who otherwise qualify for need‑based financial aid programs.

(c)        Administration of Program. Targeted Financial Assistance. The State Board shall adopt rules and policies for the disbursement of the targeted financial assistance provided in subsections (a) and subsection (b) of this section. Degree, diploma, and certificate students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for financial assistance. The State Board may contract with the State Education Assistance Authority for administration of these targeted financial assistance funds. These funds shall not revert at the end of each fiscal year but shall remain available until expended for need‑based financial assistance. The interest earned on the funds provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section may be used to support the costs of administering the Community College Grant Program. If the interest earnings are not adequate to support the administrative costs, up to one percent (1%) of funds provided in subsection (a) of this section may be used to support the costs of administering the Community College Grant Program.

(d)       Participation in Federal Loan Programs. – All community colleges shall participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, unless the board of trustees of an institution adopts a resolution declining to participate in the Program. The State Board shall ensure that at least one counselor is available at each college to inform students about federal programs and funds available to assist community college students, including, but not limited to, Pell Grants, HOPE and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits, and, for participating colleges, the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, and to actively encourage students to utilize these federal programs and funds. The board of trustees of any institution that has declined to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program through the adoption of a resolution may rescind the resolution and participate in the Program but shall not have the authority to again decline participation in the Program."

SECTION 8A.2.(h)  G.S. 115D‑40.2 is repealed.

SECTION 8A.2.(i)  G.S. 116‑25.1 is repealed.

SECTION 8A.2.(j)  Section 10.1 of S.L. 2000‑67 is repealed.

SECTION 8A.2.(k)  The nonrecurring funds appropriated to the North Carolina Community Colleges System Office by this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year for the Community College Need‑Based Assistance Program shall not revert at the end of the 2021‑2022 fiscal year but shall remain available until the end of the 2022‑2023 fiscal year to award scholarships pursuant to the program in the 2022‑2023 academic year.

SECTION 8A.2.(l)  Subsections (a) through (d) of this section become effective January 1, 2022, and apply to scholarships awarded beginning with the 2023‑2024 academic year. Subsections (e) through (j) of this section become effective July 1, 2023. The remainder of this section is effective on the date that this act becomes law.

 

EQUITY IN OPPORTUNITY ACT

SECTION 8A.3.(a)  Opportunity Scholarship Grant Program. –

(1)        Any student who meets the following requirements shall qualify as an eligible student and shall be eligible to receive a scholarship for the 2021‑2022 school year pursuant to Part 2A of Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes:

a.         Was enrolled in a North Carolina public school or a Department of Defense Elementary and Secondary School located in North Carolina for the fall semester of the 2019‑2020 school year.

b.         Meets the eligibility requirements of G.S. 115C‑562.1(3)a1. and b.

c.         Submits a scholarship application for the 2021‑2022 school year.

d.         Enrolls in the nonpublic school either (i) by October 1, 2021, or (ii) during the 2022 spring semester.

(2)        A student who becomes eligible for a scholarship in the 2021‑2022 school year solely due to this subsection shall receive first priority in award of scholarships in the same manner as those previously awarded scholarships.

SECTION 8A.3.(b)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑112.5(4), 115C‑112.6(b), or 115C‑562.2, for the 2021‑2022 school year, a student who is awarded either a Special Education Scholarship for Children with Disabilities under Part 1H of Article 9 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes or a scholarship grant under Part 2A of Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes shall be eligible to enroll part time in a nonpublic school that provides only half‑day programs for students with disabilities and part time in a public school while receiving the scholarship.

SECTION 8A.3.(c)  G.S. 115C‑562.1 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑562.1.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Part:

(1)        Authority. – The State Education Assistance Authority.

(2)        Division. – The Division of Nonpublic Education, Department of Administration.

(3)        Eligible students. – A student residing in North Carolina who has not yet received a high school diploma and who meets all of the following requirements:

a.         Meets one of the following criteria:

1.         Was a full‑time student (i) assigned to and attending a public school pursuant to G.S. 115C‑366 or (ii) enrolled in a Department of Defense Elementary and Secondary School, established pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 2164 and located in North Carolina, during the spring semester prior to the school year for which the student is applying.

2.         Received a scholarship grant for the school year prior to the school year for which the student is applying.

3.         Is entering either kindergarten or the eligible to enter kindergarten, first grade.grade, or second grade pursuant to Article 25 of this Chapter. A child who is the age of 4 on or before April 16 is eligible to attend the following school year if the principal, or equivalent, of the school in which the child seeks to enroll finds that the student meets the requirements of G.S. 115C‑364(d) and those findings are submitted to the Authority with the child's application.

4.         Is a child in foster care as defined in G.S. 131D‑10.2(9).

5.         Is a child whose adoption decree was entered not more than one year prior to submission of the scholarship grant application.

6.         Is a child whose parent or legal guardian (i) is on full‑time duty status in the active uniformed service of the United States, including members of the National Guard and Reserve on active duty orders pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 12301, et seq., and 10 U.S.C. § 12401, et seq.seq., or (ii) receives an honorable discharge as an active duty member from the uniformed service of the United States within 12 months prior to application.

7.         Is a child who meets both of the following:

I.          Was enrolled in a nonpublic school that meets the requirements of Part 1 and Part 2 of this Article during the spring semester prior to the school year for which the student is applying.

II.        Was enrolled for the entire school year immediately prior to the school year in which the student enrolled in the nonpublic school in one of the following:

A.        A North Carolina public school.

B.        A Department of Defense Elementary and Secondary School established pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 2164 and located in North Carolina.

a1.       Has not enrolled in a postsecondary institution in a matriculated status eligible for enrollment for 12 hours of academic credit.

b.         Meets one of the following criteria:

1.         Resides in a household with an income level not in excess of one hundred fifty seventy‑five percent (150%) (175%) of the amount required for the student to qualify for the federal free or reduced‑price lunch program. The Authority shall not count any distribution from the estate of a decedent in calculating the income level of the applicant's household for the purposes of determining eligibility for a scholarship under this sub‑subdivision.sub‑sub‑subdivision.

2.         Is a child in foster care as defined in G.S. 131D‑10.2. The Authority shall not consider the household income of the foster parent, as defined in G.S. 131D‑10.2, in determining the eligibility of a foster care child.

(3c)      Full‑time student. – A student enrolled exclusively in a nonpublic school for elementary or secondary education whose parents have released the local school administrative unit the student is eligible to attend under G.S. 115C‑366 of all obligations to educate the eligible student while the eligible student is receiving a scholarship grant under this Part.

(4)        Local school administrative unit. – A local school administrative unit, charter school, or regional school.

(5)        Nonpublic school. – A school that meets the requirements of Part 1 or Part 2 of this Article as identified by the Division.

(5c)      Part‑time student. – A student enrolled part time in a public school and part time in a nonpublic school.

(5a)(5e)      Reserve. – The Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve established under G.S. 115C‑562.8.

(6)        Scholarship grants. – Grants awarded annually by the Authority to eligible students."

SECTION 8A.3.(d)  G.S. 115C‑562.2(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      Scholarship grants awarded to eligible students residing in households with an income level not in excess of the amount required for the student to qualify for the federal free or reduced‑price lunch program shall be for amounts of up to four thousand two hundred dollars ($4,200) per year. be, per year per eligible student, in an amount of up to ninety percent (90%) as a full‑time student or up to forty‑five percent (45%) as a part‑time student of the average State per pupil allocation for average daily membership in the prior fiscal year. Scholarship grants awarded to eligible students residing in households with an income level in excess of the amount required for the student to qualify for the federal free or reduced‑price lunch program shall be for amounts of not more than ninety percent (90%) of the required tuition and fees as a full‑time student or forty‑five percent (45%) of the required tuition and fees as a part‑time student for the nonpublic school the eligible child will attend. Tuition and fees for a nonpublic school may include tuition and fees for books, transportation, equipment, or other items required by the nonpublic school. No scholarship grant shall exceed four thousand two hundred dollars ($4,200) exceed, per year per eligible student, an amount equal to ninety percent (90%) for a full‑time student or forty‑five percent (45%) for a part‑time student of the average State per pupil allocation for average daily membership in the prior fiscal year, and no scholarship grant shall exceed the required tuition and fees for the nonpublic school the eligible student will attend."

SECTION 8A.3.(e)  G.S. 115C‑562.2(b1) is repealed.

SECTION 8A.3.(f)  G.S. 115C‑562.3 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑562.3.  Verification of eligibility.eligibility; information from other State agencies.

(b)        Household members of applicants for scholarship grants shall authorize the Authority to access information needed for verification efforts held by other State agencies, including the Department of Revenue, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Public Instruction. The Department of Public Instruction shall provide the Authority with public school enrollment information to establish eligibility pursuant to G.S. 115C‑562.1(3)a., as needed.

(c)        By December 1 of each year, the Department of Public Instruction shall provide the Authority the average State per pupil allocation for that fiscal year to determine the maximum scholarship amount for eligible students to be awarded in the following fiscal year in accordance with G.S. 115C‑562.2(b)."

SECTION 8A.3.(g)  G.S. 115C‑562.8 reads as rewritten:

"§ 115C‑562.8.  The Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve.

(a)        The Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve is established as a reserve to be administered by the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the purpose of allocating funds to the Authority for the award of scholarship grants in accordance with this Part. The Reserve shall consist of monies appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve by the General Assembly and any interest accrued to it thereon. These funds shall be used to award scholarship grants to eligible students for the school year that begins in the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the appropriation is made to the Reserve. The Board of Governors shall only use monies in the Reserve in accordance with the purposes set forth in this section. Funds appropriated in a particular fiscal year to be used for the award of scholarships in the following fiscal year that are unexpended at the end of the fiscal year after the fiscal year in which the funds were appropriated shall be first used for the purpose set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection (d) of this section, if applicable. After funds are used for this purpose, any unexpended funds from the funds appropriated in a particular fiscal year to be used for the award of scholarships in the following fiscal year shall be carried forward for one fiscal year and may be used for the purposes set forth in this section. Funds carried forward pursuant to this section that have not been spent within one fiscal year shall revert to the General Fund.

(d)       Any unexpended funds at the end of a fiscal year from the funds appropriated in a particular fiscal year to be used for the award of scholarships in the following fiscal year shall be used as follows:

(1)        Up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) may be used by the Authority to contract with a nonprofit corporation representing parents and families for outreach and scholarship education and application assistance for parents and students pursuant to Part 4A of this Article.

(2)        Any remaining funds shall be carried forward for one fiscal year pursuant to subsection (a) of this section."

SECTION 8A.3.(h)  Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Part to read:

"Part 4A. Information for Parents and Students on Nonpublic School Scholarship Programs.

"§ 115C‑567.1.  Outreach and assistance for parents and students.

(a)        The State Education Assistance Authority, in its administration of scholarship programs for eligible students pursuant to Part 2A of this Article, Article 41 of this Chapter, and Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter may contract with a nonprofit corporation representing parents and families for outreach and scholarship education, program promotion, and application assistance for parents and students. The Authority shall issue a request for proposals in order to enter into a contract with a nonprofit corporation that meets the following requirements during the term of the contract:

(1)        Be a nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to Chapter 55A of the General Statutes and comply at all times with the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(2)        Employ sufficient staff who have demonstrated a capacity of direct parent and family outreach, program promotion, and procedural knowledge to assist parents through scholarship application processes and provide guidance on the scholarship grant program, including by doing the following:

a.         One‑on‑one parent and family engagement.

b.         Scholarship education and public awareness.

(3)        Comply with the limitations on lobbying set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(4)        Have no State officer or employee serving on the board of the nonprofit.

(5)        Conduct at least quarterly meetings of the board of directors of the nonprofit at the call of its chair.

(b)        The terms of the contract between the Authority and a nonprofit corporation shall require that the nonprofit (i) maintain the confidentiality of any information provided by the Authority for parents and students as directed by the Authority and (ii) not disseminate information to third parties without written parental consent. During the term of the contract provided for in this section, the Authority shall include on scholarship applications a statement for parents to indicate nonconsent for sharing information with a nonprofit corporation.

(c)        Notwithstanding any other provision of law, during the term of the contract provided for in this section, the Authority may share the name, address, email, and telephone number of the parent of any student applicant, unless the parent indicates that the information should not be shared."

SECTION 8A.3.(i)  G.S. 115C‑562.8(b) reads as rewritten:

"(b)      The General Assembly finds that, due to the critical need in this State to provide opportunity for school choice for North Carolina students, it is imperative that the State provide an increase of funds of at least ten million dollars ($10,000,000) each fiscal year for 10 15 years to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant Fund Reserve. Therefore, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve the following amounts for each fiscal year to be used for the purposes set forth in this section:

Fiscal Year                                                                            Appropriation

…                                                                                                                   

2023‑2024                                                           $104,840,000$120,540,000

2024‑2025                                                           $114,840,000$135,540,000

2025‑2026                                                           $124,840,000$150,540,000

2026‑2027                                                           $134,840,000$165,540,000

2027‑2028                                                                                 $180,540,000

2028‑2029                                                                                 $195,540,000

2029‑2030                                                                                 $210,540,000

2030‑2031                                                                                 $225,540,000

2031‑2032                                                                                 $240,540,000

For the 2027‑2028 2032‑2033 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Reserve the sum of one hundred forty‑four million eight hundred forty thousand dollars ($144,840,000) two hundred fifty‑five million five hundred forty thousand dollars ($255,540,000) to be used for the purposes set forth in this section. When developing the base budget, as defined by G.S. 143C‑1‑1, for each fiscal year specified in this subsection, the Director of the Budget shall include the appropriated amount specified in this subsection for that fiscal year."

SECTION 8A.3.(j)  G.S. 115C‑562.8(c) reads as rewritten:

"(c)      Of the funds allocated to the Authority to award scholarship grants under this Part, the Authority may retain the lesser of up to four percent (4%) two and one‑half percent (2.5%) of the funds appropriated or one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) each fiscal year for administrative costs associated with the scholarship grant program."

SECTION 8A.3.(k)  For scholarship grants awarded for under the Personal Education Savings Accounts and the Special Education Scholarship for Children with Disabilities programs, notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑112.6(a), (b), or (b1), any rules adopted pursuant to G.S. 115C‑112.6(d), 115C‑592(a) through (b), 115C‑594, and any rules adopted pursuant to G.S. 115C‑597(a), the State Education Assistance Authority may make necessary administrative modifications to facilitate the award of scholarship grants for students who:

(1)        Had applied for scholarship funds for the 2021‑2022 school year within the application deadlines established by the Authority.

(2)        Qualified as an eligible student for the 2021 fall semester.

(3)        Had not been awarded scholarship funds beginning with the fall semester of the 2021‑2022 school year.

SECTION 8A.3.(l)  Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities. – Article 41 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes reads as rewritten:

"Article 41.

"Personal Education Savings Accounts.Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities.

"§ 115C‑590.  North Carolina Personal Education Savings Account Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program established.

There is established the North Carolina Personal Education Savings Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program to provide the option for a parent to better meet the individual educational needs of the parent's child.

"§ 115C‑591.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)        Authority. – Defined in G.S. 116‑201.

(2)        Division. – The Division of Nonpublic Education, Department of Administration.

(2a)      Educational technology. – As defined annually by the Authority, an item, piece of equipment, material, product, or system which may be purchased commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized and that is used primarily for educational purposes for a child with a disability.

(3)        Eligible student. – A student residing in North Carolina who has not yet received a high school diploma and who meets all of the following requirements:

a.         Is eligible to attend a North Carolina public school pursuant to G.S. 115C‑366.Article 25 of this Chapter. A child who is the age of 4 on or before April 16 is eligible to attend the following school year if the principal, or equivalent, of the school in which the child seeks to enroll finds that the student meets the requirements of G.S. 115C‑364(d) and those findings are submitted to the Authority with the child's application.

b.         Has not been enrolled in a postsecondary institution in a matriculated status eligible for enrollment for as a full‑time student taking at least 12 hours of academic credit.

c.         Is a child with a disability, as defined in G.S. 115C‑106.3(1), including, for example, intellectual disability, hearing impairment, speech or language impairment, visual impairment, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, specific learning disability, or disability as may be required to be included under IDEA.G.S. 115C‑106.3(1).

d.         Has not been placed in a nonpublic school or facility by a public agency at public expense.

(3a)      G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant school. – A Part 1 or 2 nonpublic school that consents to comply with the requirements of G.S. 115C‑562.5.

(4)        Nonpublic school. – A school that meets the requirements of Part 1, 2, or 3 of Article 39 of this Chapter, as identified by the Division.

(5)        Parent. – A parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian of an eligible student.

(5a)      Part 1 or 2 nonpublic school. – A nonpublic school that meets the requirements of Part 1 or Part 2 of Article 39 of this Chapter, as identified by and deemed eligible by the Division.

(5a)(5b)     Part‑time student. – A child enrolled part time in a public school and part time in a nonpublic school that exclusively provides services for children with disabilities.school.

(6)        Personal Education Savings Student Account or PESA. – A bank An electronic account provided to a parent for the purpose of holding scholarship funds awarded by the Authority for an eligible student to be used for qualifying education expenses under G.S. 115C‑595.

"§ 115C‑592.  Award of scholarship funds for a personal education savings student account.

(a)        Application Selection. – The Authority shall make available no later than February 1 of each year applications to eligible students for the award of scholarship funds for a personal education savings student account to be used for qualifying education expenses to attend a nonpublic school. Information about scholarship funds and the application process shall be made available on the Authority's Web site. Applications shall be submitted electronically. Beginning March 15, the The Authority shall begin selecting recipients for award scholarships according to the following criteria:criteria for applications received by March 1 of each year:

(1)        First priority shall be given to eligible students who were awarded scholarship funds for a PESA during the previous school year if those students have applied by March 1.year.

(2)        After funds have been awarded to prior recipients as provided in subdivision (1) of this subsection, any remaining funds shall be used to award scholarship funds for a PESA for all other eligible students.

(b)        Scholarship Awards. – Scholarships Except for eligible students who qualify for scholarship funds pursuant to subsection (b1) of this section, scholarships shall be awarded each year for an amount not to exceed (i) nine thousand dollars ($9,000) per eligible student for the fiscal school year in for which the application is received, except received or (ii) for eligible part‑time students, who shall be awarded scholarships each year for an amount not to exceed students, four thousand five hundred dollars ($4,500) per eligible student for the fiscal school year in for which the application is received. Any funds remaining in an electronic account provided under subsection (b2) of this section at the end of a school year for eligible students who qualify only under this subsection shall be returned to the Authority.

(b1)      Scholarship Awards for Students with Certain Disabilities. – An eligible student may be awarded scholarship funds in an amount of up to seventeen thousand dollars ($17,000) for each school year only if the student has been determined to have one or more of the following disabilities as a primary or secondary disability at the time of application for scholarship funds:

(1)        Autism.

(2)        Hearing impairment.

(3)        Moderate or severe intellectual or developmental disability.

(4)        Multiple, permanent orthopedic impairments.

(5)        Visual impairment.

For eligible students who qualify for scholarship funds under this subsection, no more than four thousand five hundred dollars ($4,500) of funds remaining in an electronic account at the end of a school year shall be carried forward until expended for each school year upon renewal of the account under subsection (b2) of this section. In no event shall the total amount of funds carried forward for an eligible student in a personal education student account exceed thirty thousand dollars ($30,000). Any funds remaining in the electronic account if an agreement is not renewed under G.S. 115C‑595 shall be returned to the Authority.

(b2)      Disbursement and Deposit of Awards. – Scholarship funds shall be used only for tuition and qualifying education expenses as provided in G.S. 115C‑595. Recipients shall receive the scholarship funds deposited in two equal amounts to a PESA in amounts, one‑half in each quarter semester of the fiscal school year. The first deposit of funds to a PESA shall be subject to the execution of the parental agreement required by G.S. 115C‑595. The parent shall then receive a debit card or an electronic account with the prepaid funds loaded on the card or in the electronic account at the beginning of the fiscal school year. After the initial disbursement of funds, each subsequent, quarterly semester disbursement of funds shall be subject to the submission by the parent of an expense report. The expense report shall be submitted electronically and shall include documentation that the student received an education, as described in G.S. 115C‑595(a)(1), for no less than 35 70 days of the applicable quarter. semester. The debit card or the electronic account shall be renewed upon the receipt of the parental agreement under G.S. 115C‑595 for recipients awarded scholarship funds in subsequent fiscal school years. Any funds remaining on the card or in the electronic account at the end of the fiscal year may be carried forward to the next fiscal year if the card or electronic account is renewed. Any funds remaining on the card or in the electronic account if an agreement is not renewed shall be returned to the Authority.

(c)        Eligibility for the other scholarship programs is provided for as follows:Eligibility for Other Scholarship Programs. –

(1)        An eligible student under this Article may receive, in addition to a PESA, a scholarship under Part 2A of Article 39 of this Chapter.

(2)        An eligible student under this Article may receive, in addition to a PESA and a scholarship under Part 2A of Article 39 of this Chapter, a scholarship under the special education scholarship program for children with disabilities pursuant to Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter, only if that student has one or more of the following disabilities:

a.         Autism.

b.         Developmental disability.

c.         Hearing impairment.

d.         Moderate or severe intellectual disability.

e.         Multiple, permanent orthopedic impairments.

f.          Visual impairment.

(d)       Applications Not Public Records. – Applications for scholarship funds and personally identifiable information related to eligible students receiving funds shall not be a public record under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. For the purposes of this section, personally identifiable information means any information directly related to a student or members of a student's household, including the name, birthdate, address, Social Security number, telephone number, e‑mail address, or any other information or identification number that would provide information about a specific student or members of a specific student's household.

(e)        Establishment of Initial Eligibility. – An applicant may demonstrate for initial eligibility that the applicant is a child with a disability, as required by G.S. 115C‑591(3)c., in either of the following ways:

(1)        The by having the child has been assessed by a local education agency and determined the local education agency determining the child to be a child with a disability and with that outcome is verified by the local education agency on a form provided to the Authority.

(2)        The child was initially assessed by a local education agency and determined to be a child with a disability and, following receipt of a scholarship awarded pursuant to Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter, was determined to have continuing eligibility, as provided in G.S. 115C‑112.6(c)(2), by the assessing psychologist or psychiatrist. Both the initial verification from the local education agency and the continuing verification by the assessing psychologist or psychiatrist shall be provided on a form to the Authority.

"§ 115C‑593.  Student continuing eligibility.

After the initial disbursement of funds, the Authority shall ensure that the student's continuing eligibility is assessed at least every three years. by one of the following:

(1)        The local education agency. – The local education agency shall assess if the student continues to be a child with a disability and verify the outcome on a form to be provided to the Authority.

(2)        A licensed psychologist with a school psychology focus or a psychiatrist. – The psychologist or psychiatrist shall assess, after review of appropriate medical and educational records, if the education and related services received by the student in the nonpublic school setting have improved the child's educational performance and if the student would continue to benefit from placement in the nonpublic school setting. The psychologist or psychiatrist shall verify the outcome of the assessment on a form to be provided to the Authority.

"§ 115C‑594.  Verification of eligibility.eligibility; information from other State agencies.

(a)        Verification of Information. – The Authority may seek verification of information on any application for the award of scholarship funds for a personal education savings student account. The Authority shall select and verify six percent (6%) of applications annually, including those with apparent errors on the face of the application. The Authority shall establish rules for the verification process. If a household fails to cooperate with verification efforts, the Authority shall revoke the award of scholarship funds for a PESA for the eligible student.

(b)        Access to Information. – Household members of applicants Applicants for the award of scholarship funds for a PESA shall authorize the Authority to access information needed for verification efforts held by other State agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Instruction.

"§ 115C‑595.  Parental agreement; use of funds.

(a)        Parental Agreement. – The Authority shall provide the parent of a scholarship recipient with a written agreement, applicable for each year the eligible student receives scholarship funds under this Article, to be signed and returned to the Authority prior to receiving the scholarship funds. The agreement shall be submitted to the Authority electronically. The parent shall not designate any entity or individual to execute the agreement on the parent's behalf. A parent or eligible student's failure to comply with this section shall result in a forfeit of scholarship funds and those funds may be awarded to another eligible student. The parent shall agree to the following conditions in order to receive scholarship funds under this Article:

(1)        Use at least a portion of the scholarship funds to provide an education to the eligible student in, at a minimum, the subjects of English language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.

(2)        Unless the student is a part‑time eligible student, release a local education agency in which the student is eligible to attend under G.S. 115C‑366 of all obligations to educate the eligible student while the eligible student is receiving scholarship funds under this Article. A parent of a student, other than a part‑time eligible student, who decides to enroll the student into the local education agency or other North Carolina public school during the term of the agreement shall notify the Authority to request a release from the agreement and shall return any unexpended funds to the Authority.

(3)        Use the scholarship funds deposited into a personal education savings student account only for the following qualifying education expenses of the eligible student:

a.         Tuition and fees for a nonpublic school that meets the requirements of Part 1 or Part 2 of Article 39 of this Chapter and is subject to the requirements of G.S. 115C-562.5.G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant school, disbursed as provided in subdivision (1) of subsection (a1) of this section.

b.         Textbooks required by a nonpublic school.

c.         Tutoring and teaching services provided by an individual or facility accredited by a State, regional, or national accrediting organization.

d.         Curricula.

e.         Fees for nationally standardized norm‑referenced achievement tests, advanced placement tests, or nationally recognized college entrance exams.

f.          Fees charged to the account holder for the management of the PESA.

g.         Fees for services provided by a public school, including individual classes and extracurricular programs.

h.         Premiums charged to the account holder for any insurance or surety bonds required by the Authority.

i.          Educational therapies from a licensed or accredited practitioner or provider.

j.          Educational technology defined by the Authority as approved for use pursuant to Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter.G.S. 115C‑591(2a).

k.         Student transportation, pursuant to a contract with an entity that regularly provides student transportation, to and from (i) a provider of education or related services or (ii) an education activity.

l.          Transaction or merchant fees charged to the account holder, not to exceed two and one‑half percent (2.5%) of the cost of the item or service.

(3a)      Use of scholarship funds for reimbursement of tuition. – Notwithstanding sub‑subdivision a. of subdivision (3) of this subsection, a parent of an eligible student may pay tuition to Part 1 or 2 nonpublic schools that are not G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant schools with funds other than funds available in the personal education student account and then request reimbursement from the Authority from scholarship funds if the parent complies with the provisions of subdivision (2) of subsection (a1) of this section.

(4)        Not use scholarship funds for any of the following purposes:

a.         Computer hardware or other technological devices not defined by the Authority as educational technology approved for use pursuant to Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter.G.S. 115C‑591(2a).

b.         Consumable educational supplies, including paper, pen, or markers.

c.         Tuition and fees at an institution of higher education, as defined in G.S. 116‑143.1, or a private postsecondary institution.

d.         Tuition and fees for a nonpublic school that meets the requirements of Part 3 of Article 39 of this Chapter.

(a1)      Disbursement of Funds for Tuition. – The method by which the Authority shall disburse scholarship funds awarded to eligible students for tuition at a nonpublic school shall be based upon whether the nonpublic school is a G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant school. Scholarship funds for tuition shall be disbursed as follows:

(1)        Scholarship endorsement for tuition. – The Authority shall remit, at least two times each school year, scholarship funds from the personal education student account for eligible students who attend G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant schools. The funds shall be remitted to the G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant school for endorsement by at least one of the student's parents. The parent shall restrictively endorse the scholarship funds awarded to the eligible student for deposit into the account of the G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant school to the credit of the eligible student. The parent shall not designate any entity or individual associated with the school as the parent's attorney‑in‑fact to endorse the scholarship funds. A parent's failure to comply with this subdivision shall result in forfeiture of the scholarship funds for tuition. Scholarship funds forfeited for failure to comply with this subdivision shall be returned to the Authority to be awarded to another student.

(2)        Reimbursement for tuition. – The parent of an eligible student who enrolls in a school that is (i) a North Carolina public school other than the public school to which that student would have been assigned as provided in G.S. 115C‑366 or (ii) a Part 1 or 2 nonpublic school that is not a G.S. 115C‑562.5 compliant school may pay tuition directly to the school with funds other than scholarship funds and request reimbursement with funds available in the personal education student account under subdivision (3a) of subsection (a) of this section. However, the Authority shall not reimburse the parent prior to the midpoint of each semester. A parent may only receive reimbursement for tuition if the parent provides documentation to the Authority that the student is enrolled in the school.

(b)        No Refunds to an Account Holder. – A nonpublic school or a provider of services purchased under subsection (a) of this section shall not refund or rebate any scholarship funds to a parent or eligible student in any manner. The parent shall notify the Authority if such a refund is required.

(c)        Repealed by Session Laws 2018‑5, s. 38.10(m), effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2018.

"§ 115C‑596.  Identification of nonpublic schools and distribution of personal education savings student account information.

(a)        List of Nonpublic Schools. – The Division shall provide annually by February 1 to the Authority a list of all nonpublic schools operating in the State that meet the requirements of Part 1, 2, or 3 of Article 39 of this Chapter.

(b)        Information on PESAs to the Division. – The Authority shall provide information about personal education savings student accounts to the Division. The Division shall provide information about PESAs to all qualified nonpublic schools on an annual basis.

"§ 115C‑597.  Administration.

(a)        Rules and Regulations. – The Authority shall establish rules and regulations for the administration of the program, including the following:

(1)        The administration and awarding of scholarship funds, including a lottery process for the selection of recipients within the criteria established by G.S. 115C‑592(a), if necessary.

(2)        Requiring a surety bond or insurance to be held by account holders.

(3)        Use of the funds and the reporting of expenditures.

(4)        Monitoring and control of spending scholarship funds deposited in a personal education savings account.

The Authority shall provide recipients of scholarship funds with the annual list of defined educational technology for which scholarship funds may be used.

(b)        Contract for Management of PESAs. – The Authority may contract with a private financial management firm or institution to manage PESAs in accordance with this Article.

(c)        Annual Audits. – The Authority shall conduct annual audits of PESAs and may audit a random sampling of PESAs as needed to ensure compliance with the requirements of this Article. The Authority may contract with an independent entity to conduct these audits. The Authority may remove a parent or eligible student from the program and close a personal education savings student account for failure to comply with the terms of the parental agreement, for failure to comply with applicable laws, or because the student is no longer an eligible student.

(d)       Administration Costs. – Of the funds allocated to the Authority to award scholarship funds under this Article, the Authority may retain up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) the lesser of four percent (4%) of the funds appropriated or two million dollars ($2,000,000) each fiscal year for administrative costs associated with the program, including contracting with non‑State entities for administration of certain components of the program.

"§ 115C‑598.  Reporting requirements.

The Authority shall report annually, no later than October 15, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the following information from the prior school year:

(1)        Total number, grade level, race, ethnicity, and sex of eligible students receiving scholarship funds.

(2)        Total amount of scholarship funding awarded.

(3)        Number of students previously enrolled in public schools in the prior semester by the previously attended local education agency.

(4)        Nonpublic schools in which scholarship recipients are enrolled, including numbers of scholarship recipients at each nonpublic school.

(5)        The number of substantiated cases of fraud by recipients and the number of parents or students removed from the program for noncompliance with the provisions of this Article.

"§ 115C‑599.  Duties of State agencies.

(a)        The State Board, as part of its duty to monitor all local education agencies to determine compliance with this Article and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq., (2004), as amended, and federal regulations adopted under that act, as provided in G.S. 115C‑107.4, shall ensure that local education agencies do the following:

(1)        Conduct evaluations requested by a child's parent of suspected children with disabilities, as defined in G.S. 115C‑107.3, in a timely manner as required by IDEA.

(2)        Provide assessments for continuing eligibility to identified children with disabilities receiving scholarship funds at the request of the parent to ensure compliance with G.S. 115C‑593.

(b)        The Authority shall analyze, in conjunction with the Department of Public Instruction, past trends in scholarship data on an annual basis to ensure that the amount of funds transferred each fiscal year by the Authority to the Department for reevaluations by local school administrative units of eligible students under G.S. 115C‑593 are sufficient and based on actual annual cost requirements.

"§ 115C‑600.  Funds for Personal Education Student Accounts.

The General Assembly finds that due to the continued growth and ongoing need in this State to provide opportunity for school choice for children with disabilities, it is imperative that the State provide an increase in funds of at least one million dollars ($1,000,000) each fiscal year for 10 years for the Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program. To that end, there is appropriated from the General Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina the following amounts each fiscal year to be allocated to the Authority for the Program in accordance with this Article:

Fiscal Year                                                                                      Appropriation

2023‑2024                                                                                         $32,643,166

2024‑2025                                                                                         $33,643,166

2025‑2026                                                                                         $34,643,166

2026‑2027                                                                                         $35,643,166

2027‑2028                                                                                         $36,643,166

2028‑2029                                                                                         $37,643,166

2029‑2030                                                                                         $38,643,166

2030‑2031                                                                                         $39,643,166

2031‑2032                                                                                         $40,643,166

2032‑2033 and each subsequent fiscal year thereafter                     $41,643,166

When developing the base budget, as defined by G.S. 143C‑1‑1, for each fiscal year specified in this section, the Director of the Budget shall include the appropriated amount specified in this section for that fiscal year."

SECTION 8A.3.(m)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to move the Special Education Scholarships for Children with Disabilities and the Personal Education Savings Account program funding to the Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program, in addition to any other funds appropriated by the General Assembly for that Program, so that funds appropriated for scholarships are awarded to students for that school year.

SECTION 8A.3.(n)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑592, as amended by this section, a student who was awarded scholarship funds for a Personal Education Savings Account (PESA) pursuant to Article 41 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes for the 2021‑2022 school year or a student who received a scholarship pursuant to Part 1H of Article 9 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes for the 2021‑2022 school year shall receive priority in the award of scholarship funds under G.S. 115C‑592 for a personal education student account for the 2022‑2023 school year if the student applies by March 1, 2022.

SECTION 8A.3.(o)  Part 1H of Article 9 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes is repealed.

SECTION 8A.3.(p)  G.S. 115C‑555(4) reads as rewritten:

"(4)      It receives no funding from the State of North Carolina. For the purposes of this Article, scholarship funds awarded pursuant to Part 2A of this Article, Article or Article 41 of this Chapter, or Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter to eligible students attending a nonpublic school shall not be considered funding from the State of North Carolina."

SECTION 8A.3.(q)  G.S. 115C‑567.1(a), as enacted by subsection (h) of this section, reads as rewritten:

"(a)      The State Education Assistance Authority, in its administration of scholarship programs for eligible students pursuant to Part 2A of this Article, Article and Article 41 of this Chapter, and Part 1H of Article 9 of this Chapter may contract with a nonprofit corporation representing parents and families, for outreach and scholarship education, program promotion, and application assistance for parents and students. The Authority shall issue a request for proposals in order to enter into a contract with a nonprofit corporation that meets the following requirements during the term of the contract:

(1)        Be a nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to Chapter 55A of the General Statutes and comply at all times with the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(2)        Employ sufficient staff who have demonstrated a capacity of direct parent and family outreach, program promotion, procedural knowledge to assist parents through scholarship application process and provide guidance on the scholarship grant program, including by doing the following:

a.         One‑on‑one parent and family engagement.

b.         Scholarship education and public awareness.

(3)        Comply with the limitations on lobbying set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(4)        Have no State officer or employee serving on the board of the nonprofit.

(5)        Conduct at least quarterly meetings of the board of directors of the nonprofit at the call of its chair."

SECTION 8A.3.(r)  Section 5(b) of S.L. 2013‑364, as rewritten by Section 3.2 of S.L. 2013‑363 and as amended by Section 11.18 of S.L. 2015‑241, is repealed.

SECTION 8A.3.(s)  G.S. 105‑153.5(b)(12) reads as rewritten:

"(12)    The amount deposited during the taxable year to a personal education savings student account under Article 41 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes."

SECTION 8A.3.(t)  This section does not affect the rights or liabilities of the State, a taxpayer, or another person arising under a statute amended by this section before the effective date of its amendment, nor does it affect the right to any refund or credit of a tax that accrued under the amended statute before the effective date of its amendment.

SECTION 8A.3.(u)  Notwithstanding G.S. 115C‑592(e), as amended by this section, and the repeal of Part 1H of Article 9 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, effective July 1, 2022, as provided by this section, for the 2022‑2023 school year only, the State Education Assistance Authority shall have flexibility in implementing application requirements for the Personal Education Student Accounts for Children with Disabilities Program to award scholarship funds under that program for the 2022‑2023 school year.

SECTION 8A.3.(v)  Subsections (a) and (b) of this section apply to applications and awards of scholarship funds for the 2021‑2022 school year only. Subsections (c) through (f) of this section apply beginning with applications for scholarship funds for the 2022‑2023 school year. Subsections (g) and (h) of this section are effective June 30, 2021. Subsection (k) of this section applies to applications and awards of scholarship funds for the 2021‑2022 school year only. Subsection (l) of this section applies to applications for scholarship funds beginning with the 2022‑2023 school year. Subsections (o) through (r) of this section become effective July 1, 2022. Subsection (s) of this section applies to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2022.

 

SEAA GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE MODIFICATIONS/BUDGET CODE CHANGES

SECTION 8A.4.(a)  G.S. 116‑203 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑203.  Authority created as subdivision of State; appointment, terms and removal of board of directors; officers; quorum; expenses and compensation of directors.

(a)        Authority Created. – There is created and constituted a political subdivision of the State to be known as the "State Education Assistance Authority." Authority" (Authority) to be housed administratively within The University of North Carolina System Office for organizational, staffing, and budgetary purposes. The exercise by the Authority of the powers conferred by this Article shall be deemed and held to be the performance of an essential governmental function.function in administering a system of financial assistance to qualified students of the State. The Authority shall exercise its statutory powers independently from the System Office and the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina.

(b)        Membership. – The Authority shall be governed by a board of directors consisting of nine members, seven of whom shall be appointed by the Governor and two of whom shall be ex officio. The members shall be officio as follows:

(1)        Seven members appointed by the Governor, three of whom according to the following:

a.         The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall appoint the following members:

1.         One member who shall have expertise in secondary or higher education, two of whom education.

2.         One member who shall be a chief financial officer or chief administrative officer from a nonpublic school that enrolls students receiving scholarship funds pursuant to Part 2A of Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

3.         One member who shall have expertise in finance, one of whom finance.

b.         The Governor shall appoint the following members:

1.         One member who shall have expertise in finance.

2.         One member who shall have expertise in secondary or higher education.

3.         One member who shall be a member of the public at large with an interest in higher education, and one of whom education.

4.         One member who shall be a chief financial officer from a college or university that is a member of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc., appointed upon the recommendation of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc.

(2)        The chief financial officer of The University of North Carolina shall serve as an ex officio member.

(3)        The chief financial officer of the North Carolina Community College System shall serve as an ex officio member.

(c)        Terms. – Members appointed by the Governor pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section shall serve for a term of four years and until their successors are appointed and duly qualified. Immediately after appointment, the directors shall enter upon the performance of their duties.

(d)       Vacancies. – A vacancy in an appointment made by the Governor shall be filled by the Governor appointing authority in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.

(e)        Removal. – The Governor appointing authority may remove any member of the board of directors appointed by the Governor that authority for misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance.

(f)        Officers. – The board shall annually elect one of its members as chair and another as vice‑chair and shall also elect annually a secretary, or a secretary‑treasurer, who may or may not be a member of the board. vice‑chair. The chair, or in the chair's absence, the vice‑chair, shall preside at all meetings of the board. In the absence of both the chair and vice‑chair, the board shall appoint a chair pro tempore, who shall preside at such meetings.

(f1)      Executive Director. – The President of The University of North Carolina shall appoint the Executive Director of the Authority, who shall be the Authority's principal executive officer, and the Executive Director shall be responsible to the President. The Executive Director shall serve as secretary to the board of directors.

(g)        Quorum. – Five directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of the business of the Authority, and no vacancy in the membership of the board shall impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the Authority. The favorable vote of at least a majority of the members of the board present at any meeting is required for the adoption of any resolution or motion or for other official action.

(h)        Expenses. – The members of the board shall receive per diem and allowances as provided in G.S. 138‑5 and G.S. 138‑6. These expenses and compensation shall be paid from funds provided under this Article, or as otherwise provided."

SECTION 8A.4.(b)  G.S. 116‑204 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑204.  Powers of Authority.

The Authority is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1)        To fix and revise from time to time and charge and collect fees for its acts and undertakings;undertakings.

(2)        To establish rules and regulations concerning its acts and undertakings;undertakings.

(3)        To acquire, hold and dispose of personal property in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties;duties.

(4)        To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers under this Article;Article.

(5)        To employ, in its discretion, upon approval by the President of The University of North Carolina or his or her designee, consultants, attorneys, accountants, and financial experts, superintendents, managers financial professionals, liaison personnel, clerical staff, and such other employees and agents as may be necessary in its judgment, and to fix their compensation to be payable from funds made available to the Authority by law;from any funds made available to the Authority through appropriations by the General Assembly, the availability of receipts, or both.

(6)        To receive and accept from any federal or private agency, corporation, association or person grants to be expended in accomplishing the objectives of the Authority, and to receive and accept from the State, from any municipality, county or other political subdivision thereof and from any other source aid or contributions of either money, property, or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only for the purposes for which such grants and contributions may be made;made.

(7)        To sue and to be sued; to have a seal and to alter the same at its pleasure; and to make and from time to time amend and repeal bylaws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with law to carry into effect the powers and purposes of the Authority;Authority.

(8)        To do all other acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers expressly granted in this Article; provided, however, that nothing in this Article shall be construed to empower the Authority to engage in the business of banking or insurance.

(9)        To collect loan repayments for loans awarded under the Teaching Fellows Program pursuant to G.S. 115C‑363.23A if the loan repayment is outstanding for more than 30 days.

(10)      To collect loan repayments for loans awarded from the Scholarship Loan Fund for Prospective Teachers pursuant to Article 32A of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes if the loan repayment is outstanding for more than 30 days.

(11)      To administer the awarding of scholarship grants to students attending nonpublic schools as provided in Part 2A of Article 39 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes.

(12)      To administer the coordinated and centralized process for determining residency for tuition and State‑funded financial aid purposes that is jointly developed and implemented by The University of North Carolina, the North Carolina Community College System, and the Authority, in consultation with the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.

(13)      To collect loan repayments for scholarship loans awarded under the former Principal Fellows Program pursuant to Article 5C of this Chapter if the loan repayment is outstanding for more than 30 days."

SECTION 8A.4.(c)  G.S. 116‑205 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑205.  Title to property; use of State lands; offices.

(a)        Title to any property acquired by the Authority shall be taken in the name of the Authority.

(b)        The State hereby consents, subject to the approval of the Governor Governor, the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, and Council of State, to the use of any other lands or property owned by the State, which are deemed by the Authority to be necessary for its purposes.

(c)        The Upon approval by The University of North Carolina System Office, the Authority may establish such offices in state‑owned State‑owned or rented structures as it deems appropriate for its purposes."

SECTION 8A.4.(d)  G.S. 116‑209.14 reads as rewritten:

"§ 116‑209.14.  Annual reports.

The Authority shall, following the close of each fiscal year, publish an annual report of its activities for the preceding year to the Governor Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina, the Governor, and the General Assembly. Each report shall set forth a complete operating and financial statement covering the operations of the Authority during the year. The operations of the Authority shall be subject to the oversight of the State Auditor pursuant to Article 5A of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes."

SECTION 8A.4.(e)  G.S. 116‑209.21 is repealed.

SECTION 8A.4.(f)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Director of the Budget shall, in consultation with The University of North Carolina and the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, make necessary permanent adjustments to The University of North Carolina's certified budget for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to ensure that State appropriations for programs administered by the State Education Assistance Authority are clearly identified in a separate budget code or budget codes from the funds for the programs and for the support of the operations of The University of North Carolina System Office. The budget code changes authorized by this section are effective from July 1, 2021, and shall be reflected in the base budget for the 2023‑2025 fiscal biennium.

SECTION 8A.4.(g)  For the board of directors of the State Education Assistance Authority, subsection (a) of this section applies to the appointment of seats expiring or the appointment to fill vacancies in seats occurring on or after the date this act becomes law. Notwithstanding G.S. 116‑203, as amended by this act, upon the next vacancies for seats for (i) a member who has expertise in finance and (ii) a member who has expertise in secondary or higher education, the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina shall appoint the member to fill that vacant seat in accordance with G.S. 116‑203(b)(1).

SECTION 8A.4.(h)  Except as otherwise provided, this section is effective the date this act becomes law.

 

LONGLEAF COMMITMENT COMMUNITY COLLEGE GRANT

SECTION 8A.5.(a)  Program Established. – Of the funds appropriated in this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the State Education Assistance Authority from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund, the Authority shall administer the Longleaf Commitment Grant Program (Program) to award grants to eligible students graduating from high school at the end of the 2021‑2022 school year to cover tuition and fees at a community college for up to two years. The goal of the Longleaf Commitment Grant Program is to help students who graduated from a North Carolina high school during the COVID‑19 pandemic recover learning and persist through to degree attainment.

SECTION 8A.5.(b)  Eligible Students. – A student shall be considered an eligible student to receive a grant under the Program if the student meets all of the following requirements:

(1)        Graduates from high school during the 2021‑2022 school year or receives a high school equivalency diploma during the 2021‑2022 school year.

(2)        Qualifies as a resident for tuition purposes under the criteria set forth in G.S. 116‑143.1 and in accordance with the coordinated and centralized residency determination process administered by the Authority.

(3)        Completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2022‑2023 academic year and, if applicable, renews the FAFSA for the 2023‑2024 academic year.

(4)        Has an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) below fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000).

(5)        Enrolls in the Fall 2022 semester and maintains enrollment in at least six credit hours per semester in curriculum courses at a community college.

SECTION 8A.5.(c)  Award Amounts; Administration. – Grants awarded under the Program shall be for a minimum amount of seven hundred dollars ($700.00) per eligible student with a maximum grant of up to two thousand eight hundred dollars ($2,800) per eligible student per year for up to two years, which includes cost of tuition and a fee allowance.

The Authority may adopt rules for the administration of the Program. The Authority may use up to one percent (1%) of the funds appropriated for the Program for administrative costs.

SECTION 8A.5.(d)  Support Services from Community Colleges. – The Community Colleges System Office shall administer a matching grant program for community colleges to provide student support services under the Program in accordance with Section 6.11 of this act.

SECTION 8A.5.(e)  Report. – The Authority shall submit an initial report by September 1, 2023, and a final report by September 1, 2024, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the implementation of the Program. The report shall contain, for each academic year, the amount of grant funds disbursed and the number of eligible students receiving funds.

 

WASHINGTON CENTER INTERNSHIP SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

SECTION 8A.8.(a)  Scholarship Program Established. – Of the funds appropriated by this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina for the Washington Center Internship Scholarship Program, the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) shall award scholarship grants to students who are residents of North Carolina and are enrolled in their second year or higher in a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina to attend a semester or summer term internship program at The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (Washington Center) located in Washington, D.C. The Authority shall administer the scholarship program pursuant to guidelines and procedures established by the Authority consistent with its practices for administering State‑funded financial aid. The guidelines and procedures shall include an application process and schedule, notification and disbursement procedures, standards for reporting, and standards for return of funds when a student withdraws from the program. A student who meets the eligibility criteria of the Washington Center to attend a semester or summer term internship program may apply to the Authority for a grant to cover costs related to the internship program in an amount of up to seven thousand dollars ($7,000). The Authority shall award grants to students in the order in which applications are received.

SECTION 8A.8.(b)  Limitations on Grant Amount. – If a student who is eligible for a grant pursuant to this section also receives a scholarship or other grant covering the cost of attendance for the program, then the amount of the State grant shall be reduced by an appropriate amount determined by the Authority. The Authority shall reduce the amount of the grant so that the sum of all grants and scholarship aid covering the cost of attendance shall not exceed the cost of attendance for the program, including program fees, housing, and incidental costs. The cost of attendance shall be established by the Authority in accordance with information provided to the Authority by the Washington Center.

SECTION 8A.8(c)  Internship Activities. – A student participating in the Washington Center's program shall (i) intern four days a week with a nonprofit corporation, private company, federal agency, or a member of the United States Congress, (ii) take an academic class taught by the Washington Center's faculty, (iii) participate in career readiness training programs, and (iv) be responsible for a final portfolio project outlining work completed during the program. Students from all academic majors can participate and benefit from the program.

SECTION 8A.8.(d)  Funds for the Program. – Any funds that are unencumbered for the program at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund but shall remain available for the purposes of this section. The Authority may use up to one percent (1%) of the funds appropriated each fiscal year for the program for administrative costs.

SECTION 8A.8.(e)  Reporting. – By March 1, 2023, the Authority, in consultation with the Washington Center, shall report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education/Higher Education, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Education, and the Fiscal Research Division on the implementation of the scholarship program, including the number of participating students and the amount of awards for each semester or summer term by constituent institution.

SECTION 8A.8.(f)  This section applies beginning with the award of scholarship grants for the 2022 spring academic semester.

 

PRIVATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES/SUPPORT FOR RESPONSES TO THE COVID‑19 PANDEMIC

SECTION 8A.9.(a)  Of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the State Education Assistance Authority (Authority) from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund, the Authority shall provide funds to eligible private postsecondary institutions, as defined in G.S. 116‑280(3), by apportioning the funds to those institutions according to the following:

(1)        The Authority shall first distribute funds to each eligible private postsecondary institution on the basis of one thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($1,250) per student who received a scholarship pursuant to Article 34 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes in the 2019‑2020 academic year, excluding the following:

a.         Institutions that had fewer than 10 students receive a scholarship pursuant to Article 34 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes in the 2019‑2020 academic year.

b.         Four‑year institutions that had less than ten percent (10%) of the degree‑seeking undergraduate student population receive a scholarship pursuant to Article 34 of Chapter 116 of the General Statutes in the 2019‑2020 academic year.

(2)        After the Authority distributes funds to eligible private postsecondary institutions pursuant to subdivision (1) of this section, the Authority shall distribute any remaining funds to eligible private postsecondary institutions that qualified to receive federal funds pursuant to section 314(a)(2) of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021, P.L. 116‑260, under one of the following programs:

a.         Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

b.         Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

c.         Strengthening Institutions Program (SIPs).

Funds under this subdivision shall be distributed to an eligible private postsecondary institution in an amount proportional to the amount of federal funds the institution qualified for under the programs listed in sub‑subdivisions a. through c. of this subdivision relative to the total amount of federal funds from the programs listed in sub‑subdivisions a. through c. of this subdivision that were allocated to all of the qualifying eligible private postsecondary institutions.

SECTION 8A.9.(b)  In applying the allocation methods set forth in subsection (a) of this section, the Authority shall distribute a total amount of funds to eligible private postsecondary institutions based on the following estimated schedule, provided funds may be subject to adjustment as the Authority deems necessary:

Institution                                                                 Amount of Funds

Barton College                                                                   $774,908

Belmont Abbey College                                                     $571,250

Bennett College                                                               $1,589,942

Brevard College                                                                 $417,061

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences                                 $248,750

Campbell University                                                       $1,788,750

Carolinas College of Health Sciences                                  $53,750

Catawba College                                                                $762,500

Chowan University                                                         $1,128,408

Gardner‑Webb University                                               $1,269,331

Greensboro College                                                           $613,040

Guilford College                                                                $964,118

Johnson & Wales University‑Charlotte                             $572,500

Johnson C. Smith University                                          $7,543,584

Lees‑McRae College                                                          $628,102

Lenoir‑Rhyne University                                                $1,314,510

Livingstone College                                                        $6,634,494

Louisburg College                                                              $689,768

Mars Hill University                                                          $899,059

Meredith College                                                               $871,250

Methodist University                                                         $974,428

Mid‑Atlantic Christian University                                     $128,984

Montreat College                                                               $434,448

North Carolina Wesleyan College                                  $1,745,398

Pfeiffer University                                                             $860,215

Queens University of Charlotte                                         $590,000

Salem College                                                                    $484,246

Shaw University                                                              $6,251,815

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary                      $165,000

St. Andrews University                                                      $251,250

St. Augustine's University                                               $4,273,138

University of Mount Olive                                              $1,699,352

Warren Wilson College                                                      $252,500

William Peace University                                                  $661,799

Wingate University                                                         $1,892,352

SECTION 8A.9.(c)  The funds distributed to eligible private postsecondary institutions under this section shall be used to mitigate losses in revenue and to respond to the negative impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic for any permissible uses allowed under federal law and guidance, including, but not limited to, financial assistance for students, COVID‑19 testing, cleaning costs, personal protective equipment and any other necessary equipment, and ventilation improvements for congregate settings.

SECTION 8A.9.(d)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, of the funds appropriated by this act to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the Authority from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund, the Authority shall provide funds to High Point University totaling one million dollars ($1,000,000) to be used consistent with subsection (c) of this section.

 

PART IX. Health and Human Services

 

PART IX‑A. Aging and Adult Services

 

STATE‑COUNTY SPECIAL ASSISTANCE RATES

SECTION 9A.1.(a)  For each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the maximum monthly rate for residents in adult care home facilities shall be one thousand one hundred eighty‑two dollars ($1,182) per month per resident.

SECTION 9A.1.(b)  For each year of the 2021‑2023 fiscal biennium, the maximum monthly rate for residents in Alzheimer's/Dementia special care units shall be one thousand five hundred fifteen dollars ($1,515) per month per resident.

 

INCREASE IN STATE‑COUNTY SPECIAL ASSISTANCE PERSONAL NEEDS ALLOWANCE

SECTION 9A.2.(a)  Effective January 1, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, shall increase the personal needs allowance under the State‑County Special Assistance program from forty‑six dollars ($46.00) per month per recipient to seventy dollars ($70.00) per month per recipient.

SECTION 9A.2.(b)  Effective January 1, 2022, and notwithstanding the increase in the personal needs allowance authorized by subsection (a) of this section or any other provision of law to the contrary, the following limits are applicable for determining financial eligibility for State‑County Special Assistance:

(1)        The total countable monthly income for individuals residing in adult care home facilities shall not exceed one thousand two hundred twenty‑eight dollars ($1,228) per month.

(2)        The total countable monthly income for individuals residing in Alzheimer's/Dementia special care units shall not exceed one thousand five hundred sixty‑one dollars ($1,561) per month.

 

REMOVAL OF THE CAP ON THE NUMBER OF ALLOWABLE STATE‑COUNTY SPECIAL ASSISTANCE IN‑HOME PAYMENTS

SECTION 9A.3.  G.S. 108A‑47.1(a) reads as rewritten:

"(a)      The Department of Health and Human Services may use funds from the existing State‑County Special Assistance budget to provide Special Assistance payments to eligible individuals 18 years of age or older in in‑home living arrangements. These payments may be made for up to fifteen percent (15%) of the caseload for all State‑County Special Assistance. The standard monthly payment to individuals enrolled in the Special Assistance in‑home program shall be one hundred percent (100%) of the monthly payment the individual would receive if the individual resided in an adult care home and qualified for Special Assistance, except if a lesser payment amount is appropriate for the individual as determined by the local case manager. The Department shall implement Special Assistance in‑home eligibility policies and procedures to assure that in‑home program participants are those individuals who need and, but for the in‑home program, would seek placement in an adult care home facility. The Department's policies and procedures shall include the use of a functional assessment."

 

STATE‑COUNTY SPECIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CHANGES

SECTION 9A.3A.(a)  It is the intent of the General Assembly to provide greater parity among individuals receiving benefits under the State‑County Special Assistance Program authorized under G.S. 108A‑40 regardless if they elect to reside in an adult care home, a special care unit, or an in‑home living arrangement. To that end, no later than 30 days after the effective date of this subsection, the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, shall apply to the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) for approval to allow eligible individuals residing in in‑home living arrangements to qualify for State‑County Special Assistance under the Social Security Optional State Supplement Program in the same manner as individuals residing in adult care homes or special care units. Additionally, no later than 30 days after the effective date of this subsection, the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health Benefits, shall submit a State Plan amendment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for approval to add Medicaid coverage for individuals residing in in‑home living arrangements who qualify for State‑County Special Assistance under the Social Security Optional State Supplement Program. It is the further intent of the General Assembly to appropriate sufficient funds in future fiscal years to support annual adjustment of the State‑County Special Assistance Program payment rates using the federally approved Social Security cost‑of‑living adjustment. This subsection is effective when it becomes law.

SECTION 9A.3A.(b)  Part 3 of Article 2 of Chapter 108A of the General Statutes, as amended by Section 9A.3 of this act, reads as rewritten:

"Part 3. State‑County Special Assistance.

"§ 108A‑40.  Authorization of State‑County Special Assistance Program.

The Department is authorized to establish and supervise a State‑County Special Assistance Program. This program is to be administered by county County departments of social services shall administer this program under rules and regulations of the Social Services Commission.

"§ 108A‑41.  (See Editor's note) Eligibility.

(a)        Assistance shall be granted The Department shall grant assistance under this Part to all persons residing in adult care homes homes, special care units, and in‑home living arrangements for care found to be essential in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted by the Social Services Commission and prescribed by G.S. 108A‑42(b). As used in this Part, the term "adult care home" includes a supervised living facility for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities licensed under Article 2 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes.

(b)        Assistance shall be granted The Department shall grant assistance to any person described in subsection (a) of this section who meets all of the following criteria:

(1)        Meets one of the following:

a.         Is 65 years of age or older.

b.         Is between the ages of 18 and 65, and is permanently and totally disabled or is legally blind pursuant to G.S. 111‑11.

(1a)      Needs placement in an adult care home or special care unit and either resides in an adult care home or special care unit or would seek placement in an adult care home or special care unit if not for the State‑County Special Assistance Program.

(2)        (Effective until contingency met – see Editor's note) Has insufficient income or other resources to provide a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health as determined by the rules and regulations of the Social Services Commission; and.Commission. The following income limits are applicable for determining financial eligibility for State‑County Special Assistance:

a.         The total countable monthly income for individuals residing in adult care home facilities or in‑home living arrangements without a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia shall not exceed the basic rate established in subsection (a) of G.S. 108A‑42.1 plus a personal needs allowance in an amount determined by the General Assembly.

b.         The total countable monthly income for individuals residing in special care units or in‑home living arrangements with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia shall not exceed the enhanced rate established in subsection (b) of G.S. 108A‑42.1 plus a personal needs allowance in an amount determined by the General Assembly.

(2)        (For contingent effective date, see Editor's note) Has both (i) income at or below one hundred percent (100%) of the federal poverty level guidelines published by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and (ii) insufficient income or other resources to provide a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health as determined by the rules and regulations of the Social Services Commission.

(3)        Is one of the following:

a.         A resident of North Carolina for at least 90 days immediately prior to receiving this assistance.

b.         Repealed by Session Laws 2014‑100, s. 12D.1(c), effective November 1, 2014.

c.         A person discharged from a State facility who was a patient in the facility as a result of an interstate mental health compact that requires the State to continue treating the person within the State. As used in this sub‑subdivision the term State facility is a facility listed under G.S. 122C‑181.

(c)        When determining whether a person has insufficient resources to provide a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health, there shall be excluded from consideration the person's primary place of residence and the land on which it is situated, and in addition there shall be excluded real property contiguous with the person's primary place of residence in which the property tax value is less than twelve thousand dollars ($12,000).

(d)       The county shall also have the option of granting assistance to Certain Disabled persons as defined in the rules and regulations adopted by the Social Services Commission. Nothing in this Part should be interpreted so as to preclude any individual county from operating any program of financial assistance using only county funds.

"§ 108A‑42.1.  State‑County Special Assistance Program payment rates.

(a)        Basic Rate. – The maximum monthly rate for State‑County Special Assistance recipients residing in adult care homes or in‑home living arrangements without a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia shall be one thousand one hundred eighty‑two dollars ($1,182) per month per resident. This rate shall be adjusted on January 1, 2024, and each January 1 thereafter, using the federally approved Social Security cost‑of‑living adjustment effective for the applicable year.

(b)        Enhanced Rate. – The maximum monthly rate for State‑County Special Assistance recipients residing in special care units or in‑home living arrangements with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia shall be one thousand five hundred fifteen dollars ($1,515) per month per resident. This rate shall be adjusted on January 1, 2024, and each January 1 thereafter, using the federally approved Social Security cost‑of‑living adjustment effective for the applicable year.

"§ 108A‑47.1.  Special Assistance in‑home payments.

(a)        The Department of Health and Human Services may use funds from the existing State‑County Special Assistance budget to provide Special Assistance payments to eligible individuals 18 years of age or older in in‑home living arrangements. The standard monthly payment to individuals enrolled in the Special Assistance in‑home program shall be one hundred percent (100%) of the monthly payment the individual would receive if the individual resided in an adult care home and qualified for Special Assistance, except if a lesser payment amount is appropriate for the individual as determined by the local case manager. The Department shall implement Special Assistance in‑home eligibility policies and procedures to assure that in‑home program participants are those individuals who need and, but for the in‑home program, would seek placement in an adult care home facility. The Department's policies and procedures shall include the use of a functional assessment.

(b)        All county departments of social services shall participate in the State‑County Special Assistance in‑home program by making Special Assistance in‑home slots available to individuals who meet the eligibility requirements established by the Department pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. By February 15, 2013, the Department shall establish a formula to determine the need for additional State‑County Special Assistance in‑home slots for each county. Beginning July 1, 2014, and each July 1 thereafter, the Department shall review and revise the formula as necessary.

…."

SECTION 9A.3A.(c)  G.S. 143B‑139.5 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143B‑139.5.  Department of Health and Human Services; adult care State/county share of costs for State‑County Special Assistance programs.

State funds available to the Department of Health and Human Services shall pay fifty percent (50%), and the counties shall pay fifty percent (50%) of the authorized rates for care in adult care homes including area mental health agency‑operated or contracted‑group homes. homes, special care units, and in‑home living arrangements. The Department shall use the State's appropriation to the State‑County Special Assistance program for this program, for the State‑County Special Assistance in‑home program, program and for rental assistance. Each county shall use county funds budgeted for the State‑County Special Assistance program for this program, for the State‑County Special Assistance in‑home program, program and for rental assistance."

SECTION 9A.3A.(d)  Subsections (b), (c), and (e) of this section become effective on July 1, 2022, or 30 days after the date that all of the following have occurred, whichever is later:

(1)        Both the SSA and CMS have approved the applications submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(2)        CMS has approved the use of savings arising from the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for home and community‑based services available to the State under section 9817(a) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), P.L. 117‑2, for both of the expenditures identified in subsection (e) of this section.

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services shall report to the Revisor of Statutes when both the SSA and CMS approvals are obtained and the date of the approval. Subsections (b), (c), and (e) of this section shall not become effective if either the SSA or CMS disapproves the applications submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to subsection (a) of this section or if CMS disapproves the use of the savings arising from the enhanced FMAP for home and community‑based services under ARPA for either of the expenditures identified in subsection (e) of this section. If, by June 30, 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services has not received (i) notification of application approval from both the SSA and CMS pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and (ii) notification from CMS of approval for the use of the savings from the enhanced FMAP for either of the expenditures identified in subsection (e) of this section, then subsections (b), (c), and (e) of this section shall expire. This subsection is effective when it becomes law.

SECTION 9A.3A.(e)  The Department of Health and Human Services shall use savings arising from the enhanced FMAP for home and community‑based services available to the State under section 9817(a) of ARPA to fund both of the following:

(1)        NC Medicaid program costs associated with beneficiaries residing in an in‑home living arrangement who are eligible for the State‑County Special Assistance Program due to the changes to the program required by this section.

(2)        The State share of the monthly State‑County Special Assistance payments associated with individuals residing in an in‑home living arrangement who are eligible for the State‑County Special Assistance Program due to the changes to the program required by this section.

The Department of Health and Human Services shall continue to fund the expenditures identified under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection utilizing funds from the HCBS Fund established in Section 9D.8A of this act, so long as funds remain available in the HCBS Fund.

SECTION 9A.3A.(f)  Section 9A.1 and Section 9A.2(b) of this act are repealed on the date subsections (b), (c), and (e) of this section become effective. This subsection is effective when it becomes law.

 

AUTHORIZATION FOR LOCAL ENTITIES TO SET REIMBURSEMENT RATES FOR ADULT DAY CARE, ADULT DAY HEALTH, AND ASSOCIATED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FUNDED BY THE HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE BLOCK GRANT AND THE STATE ADULT DAY CARE FUND

SECTION 9A.3B.(a)  G.S. 143B‑181.1 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143B‑181.1.  Division of Aging – creation, powers and duties.

(a)        There is hereby created within the office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services a Division of Aging, which shall have the following functions and duties:

(11)      To administer a Home and Community Care Block Grant for older adults, effective July 1, 1992. The Home and Community Care Block Grant shall be comprised of applicable Older Americans Act funds, Social Services Block Grant funding in support of the Respite Care Program (G.S. 143B‑181.10), State funds for home and community care services administered by the Division of Aging, portions of the State In‑Home and Adult Day Care funds (Chapter 1048, 1981 Session Laws) administered by the Division of Social Services which support services to older adults, and other funds appropriated by the General Assembly as part of the Home and Community Care Block Grant. Funding currently administered by the Division of Social Services to be included in the block grant will be based on the expenditures for older adults at a point in time to be mutually determined by the Divisions of Social Services and Aging. Reimbursement rates for adult day care services, adult day health services, and associated transportation services paid under the Home and Community Care Block Grant and the State Adult Day Care Fund shall be established at the local level. These rates shall reflect geographical differences, the availability of services, the cost to provide services, and other local variables. The total amount of Older Americans Act funds to be included in the Home and Community Care Block Grant and the matching rates for the block grant shall be established by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging. Allocations made to counties in support of older adults shall not be less than resources made available for the period July 1, 1990, through June 30, 1991, contingent upon availability of current State and federal funding; and

(c)        The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall adopt rules to implement this Part and Title 42, Chapter 35, of the United States Code, entitled Programs for Older Americans."

SECTION 9A.3B.(b)  G.S. 143B‑153 reads as rewritten:

"§ 143B‑153.  Social Services Commission – creation, powers and duties.

There is hereby created the Social Services Commission of the Department of Health and Human Services with the power and duty to adopt rules and regulations to be followed in the conduct of the State's social service programs with the power and duty to adopt, amend, and rescind rules and regulations under and not inconsistent with the laws of the State necessary to carry out the provisions and purposes of this Article. Provided, however, the Department of Health and Human Services shall have the power and duty to adopt rules and regulations to be followed in the conduct of the State's medical assistance program. [The Commission has the following powers and duties:]

(2a)      The Social Services Commission shall have the power and duty to establish standards and adopt rules and regulations:

a.         For social services programs established by federal legislation and by Article 3 of G.S. Chapter 108A;108A.

b.         For implementation of Title XX of the Social Security Act, except for Title XX services provided solely through the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, by promulgating rules and regulations in the following areas:

1.         Eligibility for all services established under a Comprehensive Annual Services Plan, as required by federal law;law.

2.         Standards to implement all services established under the Comprehensive Annual Services Plan;Plan.

3.         Maximum rates of payment for the provision of social services;services, except there shall be no maximum statewide reimbursement rate for adult day care services, adult day health services, and the associated transportation services, as these reimbursement rates shall be determined at the local level to allow flexibility in responding to local variables.

4.         Fees for services to be paid by recipients of social services;services.

5.         Designation of certain mandated services, from among the services established by the Secretary below, in accordance with sub‑subdivision c. of this subdivision which shall be provided in each county of the State; andState.

6.         Title XX services for the blind, after consultation with the Commission for the Blind.

c.         Provided, that the Secretary is authorized to promulgate all other rules in at least the following areas:

1.         Establishment, identification, and definition of all services offered under the Comprehensive Annual Services Plan;Plan.

2.         Policies governing the allocation, budgeting, and expenditures of funds administered by the Department;Department.

3.         Contracting for and purchasing services; andservices

4.         Monitoring for effectiveness and compliance with State and federal law and regulations.

…."

SECTION 9A.3B.(c)  The Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, Division of Social Services, and the Social Services Commission shall amend or repeal any rules requiring a maximum statewide reimbursement rate for adult day care and adult day health services paid under the Home and Community Care Block Grant and the State Adult Day Care Fund. Rules shall be promulgated to allow the reimbursement rates for adult day care services, adult day health services, and associated transportation services to be set by each county lead agency for planning and coordination. The rates shall reflect geographical differences, the availability of services, the cost to provide services, and other local variables.

SECTION 9A.3B.(d)  This section is effective when it becomes law.

 

RAPID REHOUSING FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES AT RISK OF HOMELESSNESS

SECTION 9A.4.  Of the funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, the sum of fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall be allocated for rapid rehousing services to assist individuals and families at risk of homelessness due to the COVID‑19 public health emergency with obtaining safe housing. The funds allocated under this section shall remain available until depleted or on the date federal law requires the funds to be fully expended, whichever is earlier. These funds shall be used to supplement and not supplant existing funds for homelessness prevention activities and may be used to provide financial assistance to eligible individuals and families to cover the cost of acute needs such as the following:

(1)        Security deposits and rental assistance for a period not to exceed 12 months per individual or family.

(2)        Utility deposits and utility assistance for a period not to exceed 12 months per individual or family.

(3)        Temporary hotel stays while awaiting more permanent housing.

(4)        Housing navigation services.

(5)        Case management services related to the rapid attainment of safe housing.

(6)        Activities to increase local capacity for housing services and other related services to prevent homelessness, such as the evidenced‑based coordinated entry system.

(7)        Home improvements and home repairs to support vulnerable seniors age 60 and older to remain in in‑home living arrangements rather than congregate care settings during the COVID‑19 public health emergency.

 

Nutrition Services for Older Adults

SECTION 9A.5.  Of the funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services, the sum of three million five hundred eighty‑five thousand dollars ($3,585,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year shall be used to address food insecurity among older adults due to the COVID‑19 pandemic through the following activities:

(1)        Providing two meals per week or twenty dollars ($20.00) per week in groceries to eligible older adults who are frail or functionally impaired.

(2)        Providing two weeks of meals to eligible high‑risk older adults after a hospital discharge.

(3)        Expanding the North Carolina Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program across the State to eligible low‑income older adults.

 

PART IX‑B. Central Management and Support

 

REPORTS BY NON‑STATE ENTITIES ON THE USE OF DIRECTED GRANT FUNDS

SECTION 9B.1.  Any non‑State entity, as defined in G.S. 143C‑1‑1, that is a recipient of nonrecurring funds allocated in Part IX of this act as a directed grant shall report to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services and the Fiscal Research Division as follows:

(1)        By July 1, 2022, on the use of directed grant funds received under Part IX of this act for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year.

(2)        By July 1, 2023, on the use of directed grant funds received under Part IX of this act for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year.

 

FUNDS FOR THE NORTH CAROLINA FAMILIES ACCESSING SERVICES THROUGH TECHNOLOGY (NC FAST) SYSTEM

SECTION 9B.2.(a)  The State Controller shall transfer the sum of thirty‑nine million six hundred sixty‑three thousand three hundred seventeen dollars ($39,663,317) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and the sum of thirty‑eight million three hundred fifty‑five thousand six hundred forty dollars ($38,355,640) in nonrecurring funds for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year from funds available in the Medicaid Transformation Reserve in the General Fund to the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Central Management and Support, to be used as follows:

(1)        Twenty‑six million three hundred nineteen thousand five hundred dollars ($26,319,500) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and twenty‑seven million three hundred twenty‑two thousand six hundred seventy‑five dollars ($27,322,675) in nonrecurring funds for the 2022‑2023 fiscal year shall be used to fund deployment of the child welfare case management component of the NC FAST system, as provided in Section 9I.15 of this act, and to match federal funds to expedite deployment of this functionality.

(2)        Ten million six hundred five thousand nine hundred eighty‑eight dollars ($10,605,988) in nonrecurring funds for the 2021‑2022 fiscal year and five million eight hundr