...everyone, I'd like to call this meeting to order. I appreciate you being here this morning. First of all, I'd like to thank our pages for being here. We have Cassie Burke from Senator Tarte's office. Kennedy Terrill from Senator Tarte, Emily Rundel from Senator Tillman, Faith Coleman from Senator Barefoot and Katie Steg from Senator Berger. Thank you for being here today and how you're serving this committe. I'd also like to recognize the Sergeants-at-Arms, we have Ashley Mickens, Steve Wilson, Ed Kessler and Billy Fritcher. We do have two bills before us today. The first one we're going to be taking up is Senate Bill 236, where we'll be voting on that by, our plan is a quarter till, because we do have to move to another committee after this, but we also have Senate Bill 674, which we will have a few minutes at the end for discussion only, but we wanted to give time for that. We do have some time for public speaking. We'll have four people doing public speaking, two minutes a piece, but before that we are going to be discussion the bill just so you have an idea of what the schedule will look like for this meeting today. Now, what we have to do first is a motion to adopt a PCS for Senate Bill 236. We have a motion from Senator Tillman. All in favor of the motion, say aye. Opposed no. The ayes have it and the PCS is before you. Senator Hunt, you're recognized to explain the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Morning, everybody. Hope everybody is having a great morning so far. Senate Bill 236 would allow counties to be responsible for the construction, improvement, ownership and acquisition of school, public school property. The proposed committee substitute would turn the bill into a local bill that would apply to the counties listed. It would also make the following changes to clarify that the counties would be responsible for school construction, acquisition, but not responsible for furnishings and buses and things like that. It would also provide that local boards of education can present the needs for their school buildings concurrent with the submission of the school budget. The purpose of this is really to take advantage of the skill sets that the county commissions have and the school boards have. The idea really is to give the school boards an opportunity to spend the time they need on school education issues and to take advantage of the business acumen the county commissioners generally have to negotiate construction contracts, site acquisition and so on. There are other advantages, such as duplication of construction staffs at the school board level and the county commission level, there's no reason for taxpayers to be paying for two construction staffs. I'll be happy to try to answer any questions. Staff and I, between the two, can do it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, thank you. Senator Cook? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have an amendment and then also a question. Let me try my question first. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Before you go, do members have copies of the amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, they do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK. Thank you. Yes, go ahead with your question, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is Beaufort County included in this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, it is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, it is. OK. Thank you. The amendment I'm introducing simply allows for mobile units to be included, such as if there's some concern the commissioners and the local school board can resolve dispute using the mediation process. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any questions about this amendment? Questions or comments? Senator Tillman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would like for staff to have a moment to consider what this is doing and then see if they could respond to it. Senator Hunt, would that be OK with you? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are you talking about the amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure. Which amendment number are we talking about, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don't have it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It's AT...it says Senator blank on it, 68 version 1. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK. Got it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff, do you have a comment on the impact of this amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] In the PCS, there's a process provided...
…each year annually the school boards are supposed to provide adequate classroom space and they do that through the school budget process. If the county had assumed that responsibility, the PCS now says that the LEA would each year at the time that they submit their budget, would submit information on what adequate classroom space is needed to the county commissioners and then there’s a mediation process provided. There’s also a provision in that same statute that allows LEAs to buy mobile classrooms if they were to have a sudden influx of population and this would provide that same mediation process for when they had to determine if they needed to acquire mobile classrooms because they had reached a capacity issue in their space. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me make sure that I understand what you’re saying. This amendment is redundant? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No sir. The process is different. One is for the actual school building and then the mobile classrooms is when you have other sort of influx of peoples and you need to have short term housing and this just provides in both situations that there would be a way for them to be able to mediate if they had to work out the numbers and space situation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hunt do you have a comment on this amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well I’m in favor of the amendment, yeah. Just makes sense if the county commissioner takes ownership of school property that temporary classrooms would be included. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we have an amendment before us. All in favor of the amendment say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed no. The ayes have it and the amendment is now part of the PCS. Senator Curtis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have another amendment please. This amendment removes Iredell County from the bill at the request of the Iredell County commissioners. The Iredell County school board and the Mooresville City school board all wish Iredell County to be removed and Senator Brock is okay with this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any discussion on the amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d like to see that amendment. Let me take a peek at that. Senator Curtis, the amendment I’m looking at takes more than Iredell out of the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That was not what I asked bill drafting to do. I asked them to remove Iredell only. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair. Sounds like we better… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes [SPEAKER CHANGES] …get a new amendment on the table. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hunt, looking at staff here. This only removes one county because there’s only talking about removing that one line. It doesn’t change the other lines does it? So it does change that one county and I’m sorry I didn’t hear what your last comment was. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well do we need to get another amendment printed or can you just say that we’re just going to remove that one county? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s what the amendment does. It just removes that one county. There’s several lines of the bill that had the different counties listed and takes that one county out of that one line of the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just bear with me. Let me read it myself. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Cook, did you have question while Senator Hunt is reading this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, I just think I can maybe help clarify. The line 14 says this act shall apply only in the following counties, Beaufort, Dare, then on line 15 it goes on to include some other counties. This amendment that’s on the table then goes on to say Davie, Harnett, Iredell, Lee, Rockingham, Rowan and Wake, so that the only county that’s apparently being left…oops wrong one. So much for adding clarity. Alright, …
…the Guilford, Harnett, Lee,Rockingham,Rowan and Wake. So it’s pretty clear, at least from my point of view, that Beaufort County is included. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ten-four. I got it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you and Senator Hunt you have a comment on the amendment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have no problem with the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Any further comments or questions about the amendment? Hearing none, all in favor with the amendment say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed say no. The ayes have it. The PCS as amended is before us. Any questions or comments on, so you have Senator Hartsell and then Senator Robinson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay I’m sort of conflicted in this situation having at least one time being both a county attorney and the school board’s attorney at the same time. Also the local options situation here but I have one very specific question. Rowan County, which is not in my district, is in this bill. However there are two school systems in Rowan just like there are two school systems in Cabarrus because the Kannapolis system crosses the line and there is physically a school in Kannapolis that is located on the line and has portions of it in one country or the other. How does this bill affect that situation with regard to the schools physically located in Rowan County that are part of the…there are actually some other schools that are complaining and I’m just…because I have a problem… [SPEAKER CHANGES] I can answer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Can you tell me what’s going on here? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell, the first question I have is which LEA is that assigned to? You can only be assigned to one LEA. Which LEA is that school assigned to? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Kannapolis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hunt did you have a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah. I can explain it if I say something wrong, staff can correct me but basically if the school system is incorporated in two counties that is not included in this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay so let me just clarify. To the extent that Rowan is included in this bill, then Kannapolis would not be in this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff do you have a clarification on that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is not how we read the bill to be written. That it would affect those LEAs if it’s within the county and in the case that Senator Hartsell is discussing, we think that it would be subject to whichever school system owns the buildings for that school. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sorry Senator Hunt. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ve an amendment to run. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do the members have copies? [SPEAKER CHANGES] They have. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Please explain your amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It amends the same line that Senator Curtis did earlier and I guess that we’ll need to be technically changed because Iredell’s already been removed so, I’m not seeking Iredell back in. Maybe staff can help clarify how we do this to make sure we’re voting on a clean amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We’ll have staff talk about that. Tell me what your intent is. We can change that technically. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just remove Wake in the same way they removed Iredell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay so let me get with staff real quick. We got a question as that there is an amendment but since the bill’s already been amended to remove Iredell County can we just do a perfecting amendment, perfection to... [SPEAKER CHANGES] ..endorse then we’ll fix it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay so… [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just want it clear that my intent is not to add in back Iredell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay so we do have an amendment before us with the purpose as stated. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And the purpose is that Wade County has a triple A bond rating. We build more schools that any other county in the state, maybe Mecklenburg but I really don’t even think Mecklenburg is. In the last 12 years, we’ve built or done a major renovation in 104 schools. We do an excellent job. We win dozens of construction and design awards. Our costs are low. They saved $100 million dollars in savings from the last round of major construction. Last five years we purchased 16 parcels. Savings of six…
dollars below appraise value in that time. The county has a fraction of the assets. The school system maintains three times the number of assets, has three times the amount of construction work and progress than the county. This notion that the county is somehow better is wrong, that's basically how it is. And the people are opposed to this. 64% in a poll by Triangle Business Journal think that it's wrong for the county to own and manage and build the schools. They think that should be the job of the school board and it's fairly basic concept. Schools are instruments to further education. The location of the school, the size of the school, what programs are at the school, what facilities are at the school, these are all educational matters they are not construction matters and what the school does is further the educational ends of the children school system in such a way as to and they do it in a very cost effective way so the default should be for it to be with the school system and there should be a reason why you would take it away and there is no reason and for that reason I encourage you all to support this amendment to exclude Wake County from this legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hunt. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein just for the record the Wake County Commissions are strongly in favor of this and the Wake County school board and other school boards across mostly much ?? areas have approximately 9% of their people are business people. Now do you want 9% of your school board negotiating these complicated contracts for construction for site acquisition. At the same time, these metropolitan areas like Wake County have approximately 65% of their county commissioners are business people. Now who do you want negotiating these contracts? So I am strongly opposed to this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I will respond to his question of me. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein you may respond. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I don't know how you think the government works but the school board does not go and negotiate with landowners. What they do is they have a highly professional staff whose job it is to acquire the land, develop the land, construct the buildings, maintain and repair those structures. The schoolboard members actually don't build the buildings, they hire professionals to do that and what you want is competent management at a board level to provide supervision and what I have just demonstrated through the record over the last 10-15 years is they have done an exemplary job and the schoolboard is opposed to this. The county commission may be in favor of it but the schoolboard is opposed to it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hunt. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, I'm a business person. My company built about 4,000 multifamily housing units across the southeast and I don't know how to hammer a nail but I know that I make the decision about what's going on. If the schoolboard's making these business decisions they're not qualified to do, the county commission needs to do that. I vote against the amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further questions or comments on the amendment? Seeing none all in favor of the amendment say aye. All opposed say no. No's have it and the amendment is defeated. Senator Robinson you did - I saw your hand up earlier. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes I have an ?? chair by this table. I have heard from Guilford County school board and some are in the audience this morning and I think several of our delegation were visited on yesterday by one or two of the members one who talked extensively to me and the legislative chair and co-chairs both who they're democrats and republicans on that schoolboard I want to remind people and they done a very good job of determining the needs of Guilford County. They have used business persons in their collaborations and we have built new schools even recently have decided even in the face of budget cuts with a new school being built. And so it's a very collaborative system they've done an excellent job and they do know what the needs of the children are in terms of what schools should be built and have recently had to make some hard decisions of what schools needed to be repaired and that kind of thing. Renovated and maintained and have even not getting the kind of funds they need recently in the county budget have determined that
Have pulled/g in of the collaborations in the community to go ahead and to do that. And so my amendment asks is for Guilford County to be excluded. And of course you’d have to take our deal/g out of the since you voted for that. But I’d ask that you support that Guilford County has done a good job. As a matter of fact recently one of our schools was named and that’s, that’s the Early College at Guilford was named one of the top in the nation’s for achievements. It was because we have great school board. And they not only make sure academic progress is there but they also make sure that our kids have the kind of facilities and the kind of maintenance that is needed to promote a good quality of education. So I ask for support on this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thoughts or comments on the amendment. We’ve got Senator Wade. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I ask you to vote against this amendment. I’ve talked with county commissioners from Guilford. They certainly want the option of, of this, which this bill extends to them in order to cut costs on school construction. Neighboring areas to our area are doing it two to three times less than we’re building schools in Guilford County. And they would at least have this option. And I would appreciate you voting no in this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have [INAUDIBLE] we do have some members of the school board present. Will we have that opportunity? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Have we, we have had a list. So have they signed up on the list? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. I’m sure they have. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If they’ve signed up then they’ll be heard. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But they’ve come to voice their opposition to this. And they have done a good job of managing. I’d like for that to be done prior to moving ahead with amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think we can do it. Do we have? Will we have people hearing then this will be your slot. Do we have someone from the Guilford County school board who would like to use their two minutes now. Do we have Kristine/g Kuchner/g or Terry [UNKNOWN] ? Do, do, do we? Is Terry Runningjar/g from Guilford County? Then. I’m sorry. I’m sorry we don’t have a currently someone signed up from Guilford County. [INAUDIBLE] [SPEAKER CHANGES] We were told there could only be two speakers so they consolidate. Has that changed? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That was two speakers and I just named the two speakers. Kristine and Terry will be speaking. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh, they’re not here? [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right. So any. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [INAUDIBLE] is not from Guilford and neither is Kristine. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Those, those are two people we had signed up from [CROSSTALK] [SPEAKER CHANGES] are from Guilford. This is co-chair of the [INAUDIBLE] [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right. [CROSSTALK] [SPEAKER CHANGES] would you let her speak please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, we’ll let you speak for two minutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ll be brief. I want to make sure the other speakers are allowed to speak too. Good morning everyone. Rebecca Buffington/g member of the Guilford County Board of Education. I thank you for your opportunity to speak. Points of. Senator Robinson and Senator Wade both have very good points. That, and all of you do. There’s a lot of institutional knowledge on both boards, Board of Education and the County Commissioners. And we’ve taken advantage of that very well I feel like in Guilford County and have worked together and collaborate and Trudy’s/g point is they, they, they want these, Senator Wade’s point is that they want the option in that. They’ve been very involved in the initial bond issue and construction process in Guilford County. And we worked closely and we made it clear they want to continue that relationship. We’ve worked when we’re building schools. But they want nothing to do pass that. They don’t, they don’t want to make decisions about how we use the facilities and things. And so I think careful consideration of the wording of the bill is important. We’ve done a good job I feel of collaborating. But I want to remind you we’re the only elected officials focused exclusively on education. And we feel in the best position to make educational decisions that impact our students. It would threaten the independence of school boards, alter long settled practice in law, upset the balance of power on the local school board, county commissioners’ relations, solve no identified problems and actually create a host of new problems. Every school board in the state would be affected if county commissioners were given this sort of authority. Boards have good relationships within our county and when faced with
entirely different group of county commissioners in the future who desire to avail themselves the authority they have been granted we could see potential problems in the future. Facilities have an impact on educational programs [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Your time has expired. Thank you for your participation. Any further comments on this amendment? Senator Wade. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I ask you to please vote no on this amendment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I concur. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have a lot of business in front of us. I think we have discussed this, we have heard from the two parties. I would like to vote on this amendment at this time. All in favor say aye, all opposed say no. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The no's have it and the amendment fails. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant do you have a question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just wanted for the record and the public record to indicate that I was in error when I voted against Senator Stein's amendment. I got distracted so I voted on the wrong side and it probably won't affect the result but I definitely wanted the members of the public who are here to know that. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Duly noted, Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I heard that. I wondered what you were doing. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hartsell. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, I need to send forward an amendment, I think it has been distributed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes it has been distributed. Could you explain it please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] This amendment simply exempts the Cannapolis City School System which happens to be in two counties from the ?? end county application. I spoke with Senator Brock and he is fine with this and I would appreciate your adoption of it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Hunt do you have any comments? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I am not problem with it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let us vote on this amendment then, all in favor of the amendment, say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a question, if I may [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Stein, you have a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I am completely at peace with this amendment. My question to this bill sponsor is, surely we are concerned about the lack of business acumen of the Cannapolis School Board. Shouldn't, isn't it our imperative to require that the county do the building of construction that affects these schools, how can you support this amendment if [SPEAKER CHANGES]. Senator Stein, I am relying on the expertise of Senator Hartsell. He is familiar with that Board. I am just relying totally on what he said. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator Hunt. We did promise and I know people have come a long way to speak on this and I'm going to leave time for the public to speak so we are going to vote on this amendment at this time. All those in favor of this amendment, say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed say no. The ayes have it and the amendment is engrossed in PCS. At this time I would like to hear from the public on this bill. We do have four people. Let us move quickly. Let us start with Christine Kushner followed by Joe Bryan. If you could be on deck when the person finishes then we can just keep going, the person up and on deck. Thank you. Please identify yourself, your name and who you are with. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning Mr.Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for the opportunity to speak on Senate Bill 236. My name is Christine Kushner and I am vice-chair of the Wake County Board of Education. This legislation is truly a solution in search of a problem. The Wake County Board of Education, together with our professional staff, has effectively managed more than $2.2 billion worth of construction, completing 42 new schools and 62 major renovations since 2001. Together, working with the county commissioners, together we have saved more than $100 million dollars during that budget and Construction cycle. Currently the acquisition of land for new schools is a collaborative process. A collaborative process between the school system and the county. This system of checks and balances has worked for our community and the system of checks and balances has served the taxpayers very well. This system is done away with in Senate Bill 236. The greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce has withheld its support of this bill. Instead they favor a local agreement that would create real improves in the process of building new schools for our students and we agree with that approach. We do not need a state law for Wake County to address the matters that local officials, duly elected, local officials can solve together. I ask now that School Board members who have come to voice their opposition to this bill, please stand and I ask you that you vote no against this bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much, Ms. Kushner and followed by Joe Bryan to be followed by Terry ??. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning, my name is Joe Bryan, I am chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners and a past president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. We fully support this bill that Senator Hunt is bringing forth. There are major issues in terms of assets and liabilities not being linked with the county. There is the issue of duplication, there is the ability to have better joint use agreements with our twelve municipalities in our particular county
offer numerous examples where the school board weren't doing appraisals, they didn't have a checklist. They wanted to buy a property in Cary for eight million dollars that we eventually bought for four million dollars, and we are constantly having these struggles, and they've become a board of construction versus a board of education invoking all of the academic excellence that needs to occur in our classrooms. So, I would urge you to do this, to support this. When we had this grand public policy debate at the legislative conference for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, it passed there on two thirds area of most of the counties wanting to have this option. It is an option particularly in counties that are building a lot of schools - in Wake county five to seven schools - that will create added transparency and accountability to the public, and the ability to save some money. Thank you very much. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. We do have Terry Reneger, followed by our final speaker will be David Thompson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good morning, appreciate the opportunity to let me speak this morning. My name is Terry Reneger. I am a former school board member in Davie county, and I am a current county commissioner but I am here as a citizen this morning. The issue before us - bill 236 - there is... I'm taken by the fact that it got lost in the math with all these amendments, but less than 10% of the counties are in this bill at this point. There's a message there. The effect on this would be to usurp the checks and balances that have been inherent in the system since the Great Depression. The effect would be to chill discussion and input from educational experts as to what is needed to build a school. Davie county's a small county. We're 42,000 people. We build a school every once in a while. We don't have issues like the metropolitan areas when it comes to building schools. The notion that the school board does not have the business acumen, or doesn't have access to the business acumen to efficiently build a school in a cost effective manner is bogus in my opinion. At best, this is - again - an attempt to chill debate. At worst, this is just about control. The current county commissioners have the financial lever to do what they need to do as far as funding facilities, and this is redundant. But in conclusion this, for Davie county, is about not allowing the people to vote, quite frankly. If this bill is passed, local citizens - not only just Davie, but the people that's in this - would be deprived of the opportunity to participate in the democratic process, and we urge you to vote against bill 236. Thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you for your comments, and our final speaker will be David Thompson. Two minutes, please, and identify yourself please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm David Thompson, executive director of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. The number one adopted goal of our county commissioners across the State this year is restoration of lottery funds for school construction. The reason for this goal as high priority is that counties are responsible, and they take this responsibility very seriously for school construction funding across the State. Many counties rely on this funding along with property taxes to issue debt service payments that have been approved by the taxpayers that elected them. This local bill simply gives these counties the option to align the authority, and just as importantly the accountability - and I've warned Commissioner Bryan that you better be careful what you wish for, because you just may get it - the accountability to the taxpayers that elect them. It aligns the authority and the accountability to taxpayers and parents where it belongs, to the responsible party for school construction, and in this case, it's the board of county commissioners. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you for your time. I know Senator Rabin's had his hand up for a while. Did you have a question or a comment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] More of a comment. The speaker who said it's about control is exactly right. The way I look at this, it's quite simple the way I read the bill anyhow, that there's not a lot of change, that the collaboration goes on, it's just that the business part of it goes to the business world. Nothing is barring any educator from having full input just as they have now. I support the bill, and hope everyone in the room will. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I thank you for your comments. Any further questions, or comments? Seeing none, we do have a motion here for a favorable report, now what this will be is, this is going to be a motion for a favorable to the PCS as amended
With a favorable report to the new PCS, unfavorable to the original bill. All in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oppose say no. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The ayes have it and the PCS as amended is passed. Thank you.. we do have Senator Daniel, as we say for discussion only. He has a bill here before us. What we first need is a motion to adopt the PCS. So moot. All in favor of the motion say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oppose say no. The ayes have it and the PCS is before you. Senator Daniel you are recognized to explain the PCS. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. This bill does exactly what it says it does. It’s intended to prohibit costly local government litigation that’s something that Senator Brown and Senator Hise and I had discussed earlier in the session. In fact I think it sort arose out of a conversation that we had in this committee one day about the animosity and the cost that is incurred when a school boards and county commission decides to sue, when school boards decide to sue county commissions to try to achieve a greater funding level. So basically the PCS, the only difference is that the original bill sort of in my understanding struck the current statutory process in its entirety whereby school boards and county commissions can mediate and then proceed to litigation and I’ve had some discussions following the time the bill was filed with the School Board Association and they felt like the mediation process had some valued and was in fact utilized successfully in many cases. So the PCS puts, leaves the mediation process in place that’s currently in place but basically all it does is remove the statutory authority that has been given to school boards to sue county commissions when they don’t feel like they’ve been given enough money for their school year. However, what it doesn’t do is remove a school boards constitutional authority to sue if they feel like constitutionally they have a claim against the county for not providing an adequate education. That’s the gist of the bill. I’d be glad to hear any comments. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Do we have any questions or comments? Senator Bryant? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would just like the staff to tell me and I’m sorry that I’m not, I don’t already know these details. But the difference between this constitutional cause of action they have and what’s been struck on page 3? If staff could explain the difference, thank you. Or the sponsor, if the sponsor wants to. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ll defer to Staff, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ms. Staff, do you have an answer to that question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The language that’s been struck in the bill actually just removes the procedural framework, the statutory framework to bring a suit. So you would just bring a suit outside of how this statute would write. Excuse me and then the expedited process that’s in the statute currently so you could still bring a lawsuit but it just wouldn’t have the confines or the procedure set out in the statue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, Mr. Chair? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And what would the school board have to prove? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Staff? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Under a series of court cases that have been happening over the last few years, since the mid 90’s the lander decision and said that this state is responsible for providing a sound basic education and so if there were allegations that there was insufficient funds necessary, provided to provide a sound basic education, ultimately, that is the state responsibility that the state has delegated that portions of that to the county so that would be the basis for the lawsuit. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just a comment Mr. Chair, than you. I want to know that in face of this bill and the recent one that for some of our counties took the authority to construct and repair buildings that they felt was needed for our kids in our school boards. So have a good school board and as you heard the Speaker say, the collaboration has been a good one since we merged three systems a long time ago and I was on that Committee. We’ve had a good collaboration but now we moving a step further I think to create a division. Because what this means is and I don’t think our school board has ever sued our county commissions because even when they dint get what they needed they still worked with that and got outside resources. So what we do here at the state is we create legislations that raises issues for them to say, well you don’t have any money to sue them anymore and that’s never been the issue. At least with the.
I think of account has never been the issue is when a collaborative point that exempt hands about what I think we're creating legislation to create a problem enough and can theory is not an consultant Jeff question centered around the site Mr. I just relax out of the house for you and I think in most cases the SQL military commissions at work together to problems you have a case the lawyer that's not happening to me if you bring a lawsuit watching a data mapping it is you create a situation that is already a little difficult and made impossible because I guess it's why should we you got to turn each other in trying to back together to work together in the future really becomes more difficult now because a trust I is completely out and that was my also cited nobleness but ineffectively I think both parties understand intensive education you would think and I can work together more 30s issues will also but to me if he gets to appoint a board of are you about has to look at investors than you got the choice that would allow you to get think it just perpetuates gets worse and worse and I get better and that was not also final list will like UIQ Caesar salad told by Center weight and cock is restricted and met up the center ground up our agreement assignments of seeing some of that myself and Emma are stated on our laps the bill sponsor vessels in prior conversations we had a recession that escapes me now we have our Israeli army figures available to us how much money's been spent on litigation in the last on a file 10 years between school boards and carry commissioners was sure it it would add up to quite a pretty penny to convince our better educate our students can attend from Senate not all have the statistics I could probably get them Thursday the boards Association the only justice that I have a project share with you our statistics about the amount of times I asked 10 years at the mediation process is the news is also based on the hospital of Theseus left mediation process in the in the following would you just briefly give us a taste of our so-called working with committee will allow that second question is the 1997 out to counties use mediation process 1900 or three counties are contrary to counties if anyone is an economic; Wagner and Mark Moran union running on it was their County 2000 offered in Northampton 2001 Cumberland North Hampton Tameka 2002 governor counties that utilize mediation 2003 Union County 2004 Cabarrus Iredell and more thousand and five blatant Burke Halifax Scotland Des Moines 2006 Beaufort Madison tender 2007 Graham Pamlico union 2008 different person to thousand and nine Burke Halifax 2010 Halifax and was really only ones that I have a question on that list as necessary as mediation or litigation understanding from staff as a dessert cases were mediation which it was not necessarily litigation and we are a subset of ActiveX window litigation follow-ups are problem told me is that they don't have the statistics but they would have to get them through probably the school boards Association or did you have someone from sclerosis is your information regarding my distance nonsense capacity and then fight yourself an organization in North Carolina school boards Association and never actually met actual data in a rain out since the statute was in place and I am only aware for a fact finds that anyways had actually gone on to court may step them have either been resolved at the mediation battle is resolved and the work does scoreboard chase a person thank you very much this winter and we do have a meeting coming in after us I do to help him celebrate cook and clean committing after I decided to thank Sen. Daniel Arena secondhand from Guilford
And serve on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, and yes, we were threatened several times to be sued by the school board, and yes there was some litigation. And finally, it was dropped, so I didn't want you to think that Guilford hadn't been involved in that, and I appreciate you bringing this because I think it'll probably take some of that willingness to work together, will make them want to work together, since there's not the threat of we'll sue you if you don't do this, because I've certainly been a County Commissioner and experienced that. And I think this is the way to make them focus more on education of students and work together. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator Wade. We're gonna have Senator Cook, and then Senator Daniel have a final, a closing statement. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd just like to add that Beaufort county, I think you even mentioned there was some mediation in 2006. It also ended up in court and Beaufort County at the time was a tier one county. For those of you that don't know, that means it was pretty poor. And, and this litigation ended up being thousands of, hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's just such a monumental waste of money. I, I, I remember at the time thinking how aggravating this is. We need to foster cooperation, and I believe this bill will do that. There's no reason that the county commissioners and the school board can't get together and collaborate, but there has to be somebody who makes a final decision. And that's all this bill attempts to do. And I think it's a great bill and thanks for bringing it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you and Senator Daniel, you're recognized to make a final decision and then we'll conclude the meeting. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister Chairman. Thank you Senator Cook and Senator Wade and thank you your sentiments sir. Along the lines of what Senator Brown said, is that litigation really only has negative consequences, and the only positive consequence is that lawyers make a lot of money and it's not good for the citizens, it's not good for the students, but it is good for the lawyers, so. Thank you mister Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much. I appreciate your time today committee, and the meeting is adjourned.