Proposed Legislative Agenda Calls for Increased Funding

State funding, teacher contracts and pre-kindergarten programs are just a few of the issues the Guilford County Board of Education wants North Carolina legislators to consider during 2013, according to the proposed legislative agenda presented to the Board last Thursday. The proposed agenda was developed by the Board's legislative committee.

Among the items under consideration are calls to restore funding for textbooks and instructional materials, professional development opportunities, special education, gifted education, career and technical education (CTE) and English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program. The agenda opposes unfunded mandates in such areas as testing and calls on the state to reduce the number of state-mandated, standardized tests students are expected to take each year.

The legislative committee also calls for restoring funding to the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten program, which was cut significantly in 2011, and expanding the program to serve all eligible children. Currently, more than 1,200 children are served through Guilford County's Pre-Kindergarten program.

The draft agenda also calls for increasing the base pay for teachers, maintaining extra pay for National Board certification and advanced degrees, and funding incentives for hard-to-staff subjects and schools. The draft agenda also calls for maintaining North Carolina's current system of allocating teacher positions, which does not penalize schools for hiring experienced - and more expensive - faculty members.

The proposed agenda would also replace teacher career status or tenure with five-year renewable contracts in keeping with current licensure renewals. The Board suggests a gradual transition in which new teachers would be placed on the new system, while teachers who achieve career status prior to June 30, 2013, would remain on the current system. As part of an effort to increase pay for for classified, or non-instructional, employees , the draft agenda also calls for evaluating and aligning positions, required skills, job descriptions and pay with current needs and private industry standards.

Other topics on the draft agenda include opposing tuition tax credits and vouchers, restoring control of school calendars to the local school boards, and requiring charter schools to provide equivalent services to public schools in areas such as special education, transportation, child nutrition and teacher licensure.

The board will finalize and vote on its agenda at its next regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. Comments on the proposed agenda can be submitted to .