Friday, May 9, 2008

NC Legislative Update: Friday Wrap Up


The budget for the FY 2008-2009 will be very tight this budget cycle. Several things are playing into this. First is the 18% increase in home foreclosures. Second is the increase in rising fuel prices, which will effect expenditures on school bus transportation. It is looking like there will be very little in flexible spending dollars after the basic needs for the budget are met. We will keep you up to date on this. The Governor will be releasing his budget on Monday, May 12, 2008.

Joint Appropriations Health and Human Services Subcommittee:

On Wednesday, May 7, 2008 this committee received the appropriation request from the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Legislative Oversight Committee. The budget remained as detailed last week in this blogs summary. No amendments or changes occurred during the meeting.
The HHS Committee also received a report regarding the Schools for the Deaf and the School for the Blind. The report was intended to answer the question of if the schools should remain under HHS or move under the Department of Public Instruction. The report did not answer that question. Senator Doug Berger, co-chair of the committee, asked the presenters if the had analyzed the academic success rate of students enrolled in the deaf schools versus students enrolled in mainstream schools. The answer was that the students at the deaf schools are not doing as well academically. One reason for this is that these students often arrive at the deaf school behind in their academics and also have additional disabilities. We expect to see a this topic come up again in this committee. Representative Charles Thomas suggested that a future study on this issue be placed in the Program Evaluation Committee.

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee:

This committee met on Thursday, May 8, 2008 to vote on the proposal that was presented last week. There are two bills were presented in this report regarding students with disabilities. The first is a change to the statute governing homebound instruction for students with disabilities. The statute be amended so that the continued appropriateness of the homebound instruction is evaluated monthly by a designee or designees of the student’s IEP team. The second bill is to study the current participation rates and dropout rates of students with disabilities in the Learn and Earn Early College High Schools, Redesigned High Schools, the North Carolina Virtual Public School, and North Carolina public high schools that are on block schedules and report back to the committee.

There will also be a report presented on May 15, 2008 by the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina regarding the preparation of teachers to educate students with disabilities. The report will include what can be done to better prepare teachers exiting the University system to be ready to teach students with disabilities.

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