Green Hope High School
2500 Carpenter Upchurch Rd, Cary, NC  27519               



November 2017

North Carolina PTA

Advocacy Update



Advocacy Spotlight Issue:

K-3 Class Size Mandate


School districts across North Carolina are beginning to plan for the impending K-3 class size mandate which will take effect in the 2018-2019 school year.  The mandate requires class sizes not to exceed the following numbers: K- 18 students, 1st grade- 16 students, 2 and 3rd grades- 17 students.  Although smaller class sizes are a commendable goal, the mandate did not provide any additional funding for local education agencies (LEAs) to hire the additional teachers the mandate may require.  Physical space is also an issue for many school districts.  


In urban areas, such as Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte, school districts are struggling to figure out how to make space for hundreds of additional classrooms needed for K-3 classes.  In Wake County, the school district estimates that 400 new classroom spaces would have to be created by the fall of 2018, which is the equivalent of building 14 new elementary schools.  In a high growth area such as Wake County, this challenge is almost impossible to meet. In Durham, an additional 63 classrooms will be needed to accommodate approximately 1200 students. NC Senator Joyce Waddell spoke at a press conference in October after the Senate refused to address the class mandate during their special session.  Parents in her district "wanted to know what we were going to be doing when it came to class sizes.  Now I've got to go back and tell them that we didn't even take it up." 


WCPSS faces harsh choices over class-size mandate-ABC11


Durham Public Schools worry about state mandate to lower class size. See why.-Herald Sun


State senators say class size mandate needs action by lawmakers-ABC11


In rural areas, such as Kinston, school districts already struggle to hire enough teachers.  The class size mandate will place additional burdens on districts such as Lenoir County Public Schools which has had at least ten teaching positions open since the start of the current school year.  Districts such as LCPS may also move art, music, STEM and other "enhancement" teachers onto carts or into auditoriums, so that their classrooms can be repurposed for K-3 classes. "Other alternatives for making new classroom space include combining two or more fourth and fifth grade classes into one large class..."


New classroom caps would add 13 classrooms, 31 teachers to


In western North Carolina, Henderson County Public Schools are considering many options to accommodate the K-3 classrooms and additional teaching positions, including cutting auxiliary programs, such as art, music and P.E, increasing class sizes in grades 4-12, eliminating pre-K classrooms and/or imposing transfer limits or creating mulit-track schools. 


In Jacksonville, Onslow County Schools proposed moving classrooms to the gym or cafeteria and in Sampson County, administrators estimate the thirty new teachers needed to comply with the mandate would cost their district $1.5 to $1.8 million.


‘Everything on the table’ to meet class size


Elementary school classrooms could be moved to gym,


HB13 mandate will mean 30 more teachers-Sampson Independent


Arts North Carolina and the North Carolina Arts Education Leadership Coalition (NC AELC) issued a position statement on the mandate.  "The class size allotment provision adopted by the General Assembly in SL 2017-9 will go into full effect during the 2018-2019 school year. This provision, without full funding for these teachers, is harmful and damaging to arts education, and therefore children, in North Carolina."   


In an effort to better inform our advocacy efforts, the NCPTA Advocacy Committee is surveying our members to see what potential effects they may see in their schools as a result of the mandate.  If you receive a survey, please help us by responding and sharing your experiences.

Advocacy Steps YOU Can Take as a Member and/or PTA Unit:


  • Get Informed:

K-3 Class Size Webinar

December 7, 2017

7:00 p.m.

Click here to register


NCPTA and Public Schools First NC are hosting a webinar to educate members about the mandate, answer questions and exchange ideas.  We will give a summary of the class size legislation, background on school funding in NC and advocacy steps you can take before the legislature begins their special session on January 10. 

  • Inform Others:

Wake County PTA Council created this flier for their units to distribute to parents, informing them about the mandate, its effects on Wake County schools and advocacy steps they can take.  Create your own flier at your school, listing some of the issues your district is confronting as a result of the mandate.  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to inform others in the community about the mandate.

  • Contact Your Representatives:

A personal letter, phone call or email from you is one of most powerful methods of advocacy.  NCPTA encourages you to to contact your NC House and/or Senate member to share any concerns you may have about the class size mandate, and its potential effects on your school and district. Find out who represents you in the North Carolina legislature. Representatives' contact information is listed on the website.  Urge your representatives to help solve this “class size crisis” for schools across North Carolina as soon as possible.  Schools need a solution before they return for the short legislative session on May 16, the day after school boards are required under state law to approve their budget request to their county commissioners.  The NC Legislature returns on January 10 for a special session, when they could address this issue.

  • Encourage Your Members to Act:

Organize a letter writing campaign, or pass a resolution or position statement as a PTA unit or as a PTA Executive Board detailing your position on the issue.


Other Advocacy News In North Carolina


1. Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform

The NC Legislature's Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform met for the first time on November 1, beginning a long process of overhauling NC's school funding system.  Representative Craig Horn of Union County chairs the committee.  An interim report may be released next year, but the group's work could take two years or more.  "This is going to be a heavy lift for everyone in this committee, and, frankly, for all of us in the state if we are at all interested in education," said Horn. 

Legislators begin “heavy lift” of examining funding structure of North Carolina schools-NC Policy Watch


To sign up for notifications of the committee's meetings, go here.


2. Principal Pay

The State Board of Education in early October unanimously voted to communicate to the General Assembly the board’s gratitude for additional funding for principal pay -- a total of $35 million more this year and $40 million next year – and to ask that the hold harmless protection for principals be extended.


​Legislators are expected to revisit the principal pay issue when they return in January. ​  To read more click here.



3. School Approved for Innovative School District



The North Carolina Innovative School District (ISD) submitted a recommendation for the selection of Southside Ashpole Elementary School, in Rowland, NC, for inclusion in the new state-wide district for the 2018-2019 academic year to the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE). After a presentation by ISD Superintendent Eric Hall that detailed the reasons for recommending the school, the State Board of Education moved to approve the recommendation making Southside Ashpole the first school included in the ISD.  Public Schools of Robeson County now has until February 1, 2018 to either accept the transfer of Southside Ashpole Elementary school into the ISD or close the school.  For more information on the ISD, click here.



National PTA Updates


1. U.S. Department of Education Repeals Special Education Guidance

In October, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) rescinded 72 guidance documents about special education policy that were “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.” This was an opportunity for OSERS to clean out their archives of documents from 1980 to 2014 that do not relate to current programs or funding as well as documents that have been replaced by updated guidance in recent years.

National PTA will continue to monitor the U.S. Department of Education’s actions as they evaluate guidance and other education-related resources to ensure that every child’s civil rights are protected and parents, schools and educators have access to the information they need to support their child's education.




The Education Department phased out 72 policy documents for disabled students. Here’s why.-Washington Post


2. Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has announced it has a complete ESSA plan from each state that submitted in September.  The plans are now ready for the peer review process, in which a team of experts analyze the plans to ensure they compile with the law. State plans submitted in September will be reviewed and should be approved by January. ED has posted every state plan here. Fourteen out of the 16 states that submitted their plans last Spring have been approved by Secretary DeVos. Michigan and Colorado are still awaiting approval.


3. National PTA President Advocates Against Gun Violence on Capitol Hill

On Oct. 18, National PTA President Jim Accomando spoke at a press conference on Capitol Hill about a recent report from the Government Accountability Office. The report found that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence's ASK (Asking Saves Kids) program is the most effective national safe gun storage awareness program.


National PTA is dedicated to preventing and eliminating gun violence in schools, communities and at home to keep children safe. Read the press release about the event.




NCPTA Advocacy Committee:


Advocacy Committee Chair and Federal Legislative Chair:

Julie von Haefen (Apex)


Advocacy Committee Members:

Donald Barringer (Durham)

Meredith Rouse Davis (Cary) Rob Elliot (Fairview)

Porcha McMillian (Fayetteville)

Sarah Martin (Cary)


NCPTA Advocacy Priorities


School Funding

Teachers and Administrators

Parental Involvement


Health and Wellness


How Do I Become An Effective NCPTA Advocate?

  • Be Fearless.
  • Be Helpful.
  • Be Informed.
  • Be Civil.
  • Be Persistent.
  • Always Say Thank You.


List of pending bills impacting K-12 education


The 2017-2018 session of the North Carolina Legislative Assembly promises to be a busy one. To date, 6 of the 15 pieces of legislation being considered by the Legislature impact K-12 education. Click here for the list of bills for you to follow.

Advocacy Tip of the Month


Want to learn more about advocacy and have an opportunity to visit Capitol Hill with other North Carolina PTA members?


Register now for the 2018 National PTA Legislative Conference March 12-15 in Arlington, VA! This conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn, network and gain experiences to share with other members in NC!


Elected Officials Go to School Program


This program provides an opportunity for elected officials to visit, observe and participate in activities of North Carolina Public Schools. We encourage you to invite county commissioners, members of local boards of education, state legislators and other elected officials to participate in the daily routine at your school. Click here for the full guide and information on how to host an event at your school.

Join the National PTA's Take Action Network! 


Click here to sign up to receive advocacy alerts, sign online petitions and send emails directly to your federal representatives.



Spotlight on Advocacy in NC


Wake County PTA Council has monthly Advocacy Workshops for PTA leaders and members to keep them informed about topics affecting schools, students and teachers.  The workshops are presented by their Council Advocacy Chair, in partnership with Public Schools First NC and Wake Ed Partnership and are held both during the day and in the evening to accommodate members' schedules.  To learn more, go to


Education Report: 


After each legislative session, the State Board of Education (SBE) develops a report detailing and analyzing all the education legislation passed by the General Assembly that session.  This report is intended to be a one-stop reference material for information on all legislation impacting North Carolina’s K-12 public schools.  This year’s report, the 2017 Report on Education Legislation, is now available online. Click here to access the report on SBE’s website. 

North Carolina PTA Advocacy Committee Activities 


Attendance at Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

On November 7, the Education Oversight Committee met to discuss various topics in education, including the new western​ campus of the NC School of Math and Science and an update on two virtual charter schools operating in NC.  The schools, NC Connections Academy and NV Virtual Academy, are in the third year of a four year pilot program which ends in 2019.  


Funding of Statewide Family Engagement Centers

North Carolina PTA is working with other PTA leaders from across the country to advocate for the funding of Statewide Family Engagement Centers in every state.  National PTA sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee and LHHS Subcommittee urging them to support SFECs funding in a final FY 2018 appropriations package, after the House funded the SFECs at $10 million in their appropriations bill.  Our Federal Legislative Chair, Julie von Haefen, is working with Senator Thom Tillis'office to encourage funding by the appropriations committee.  To learn more about the importance of SFECs, read the National PTA's



Raise the Age Coalition

NCPTA continues to be involved in the new juvenile justice legislation, which prohibits 16 and 17 year olds from being charged as adults in the NC criminal justice system.  We attended a meeting in October with other coalition partners to discuss upcoming plans for implementation across the state.




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