H1030 - 2016 Appropriations Act. (SL 2016-94)
Session Year 2016
Overview: Sec. 11.6 of S.L. 2016-94, as amended by Sec. 4.5 of S.L. 2016-123, creates The University of North Carolina Laboratory Schools (lab schools). Lab schools are public schools serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade that are established by a designated constituent institution of The University of North Carolina with an education preparation program and located in a local school administrative unit (LEA) that has 25% or more low-performing schools. The mission of the lab schools is to provide an enhanced education program for students residing in those LEAs and to provide exposure and training for teachers and principals to successfully address challenges existing in high-needs school settings.

The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina (BOG) must select eight constituent institutions to establish lab schools based on the annual performance measures for those schools' educator preparation programs. Four of the schools must open in the 2017-2018 school year, and four must open in the 2018-2019 school year. The BOG and constituent institutions must adopt a plan for the location of the lab schools that provides geographic diversity and limits one lab school per LEA. The plan must be submitted 90 days prior to implementation to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations. For the initial eight schools, the plan must be submitted by November 1, 2016.

The board of trustees of the constituent institution must adopt a resolution creating the lab school that includes the name of the school, location, and a term of operation of five years, which may be renewed for an additional five years under certain conditions. For the initial establishment of the lab schools, resolutions must be adopted no earlier than April 1, 2017. The resolution must be filed with and approved by the State Board of Education (SBE). A plan must also be adopted for dissolution of a lab school.

The board of trustees of the constituent institution must oversee the lab school, including establishing an advisory board, the academic program for the school, and standards of performance and conduct for the school. Food and transportation services for the school will be provided by the LEA in which the school is located.

Students who reside in and are enrolled in a low-performing school in the LEA in which the lab school is located may apply to attend the lab school, with priority enrollment given based on certain factors. No local board of education may require a student to attend a lab school.

Employees of the lab school are appointed by the board of trustees. Principals may be contracted with for no more than three years, and must be licensed, unless waived by the SBE. Faculty members may serve simultaneously as instructional personnel for the lab school and the constituent institution. Teachers may be contracted with, and at least 50% of teachers must be licensed, unless waived by the SBE. Boards of trustees must conduct criminal history checks for members of the board of trustees, members of the advisory board, and employees and independent contractors of the lab school.

Lab schools must be provided State and local funding similar to funding for charter schools, except for the State allocation for transportation.

The BOG, in conjunction with the constituent institutions operating lab schools and the SBE, must review and evaluate the educational effectiveness of the lab schools for both public school students and students enrolled in educator preparation programs. The BOG must submit an initial report on the progress of establishing the lab schools by November 15, 2017, to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee (JLEOC). The BOG must report annually beginning November 15, 2018, on the lab schools to the JLEOC, including the following information:

  • Public school student enrollment in lab schools, including student demographics.
  • Public school student admissions process and number of students enrolled under the priority admissions category.
  • Public school student achievement data, including performance grades, achievement scores, and student growth.
  • Academic progress as measured against the prior school year and against other schools in the LEA and statewide.
  • Outcomes for those enrolled in the educator preparation program who obtained clinical experience in the lab schools, including performance elements for those programs.
  • Best practices from lab school operations.

This section became effective July 1, 2016.

Additional Information: