Legislative Updates

NCSPA Legislative Update
Posted on April 10, 2019 by Digital Media Committee Chair

Attention all NC School Psychologists!

Please join us in Raleigh on May 2nd, 2019 for NCSPA’s first annual Legislative Day! Call your legislators TODAY to schedule your meetings!

RSVP by April 19th via this form:  RSVP to NCSPA Leg Day 2019

8:30 a.m. : Meet at the Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI) building for the State Board of Education Meeting where Leigh Kokenes (2019 NASP School Psychologist of the Year) and Rhonda Armistead (2019 NASP Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award) will be recognized. This meeting is open to the public.

8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. : Meet with your NCGA Senator and Representative

IMPORTANT: Make your own appointments with your legislators WEEKS in advance. Yes, that means please start now.

Find NC legislator contact info here: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation

Lunch is on your own! (Or, depending on RSVPs, perhaps we will meet somewhere together and debrief)

If you are interested in joining us in Raleigh:

  1. Please RSVP by April 19th RSVP to NCSPA Leg Day 2019. We will send you a logistics packet which will include FAQs.
  2. Please make an appointment to meet with your NC Senator and Representative for May 2nd ASAP. You can find contact information here: https://www.ncleg.gov/RnR/Representation
    1. If you plan on attending the SBOE meeting (8:30-10:00), we recommend setting your appointments between 8:00-8:30 or 10:00-12:00. It is about a 10 minute walk between any two places you will be. Expect these meetings to take about 15 minutes each.
    2. We recommend you copy legislators’ assistants on emails.
    3. Follow up with phone calls and emails until you are able to confirm an appointment.
    4. Let us know ASAP if you are having trouble getting in touch with your Representative or Senator.
    5. Remember: Your legislators represent you and want to hear from you.
  3. Know before you go:
    1. Read our legislation Senate Bill 382 and House Bill 482 School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment
    2. Thankfully, NCSPA has done your homework for you. Please see our Legislative Agenda, Infographic & More! We will also send a logistics packet which will include tips on how to effectively get messages across to legislators.

Any questions, feel free to contact Leigh Kokenes leighkokenes@gmail.com, Mary Whitehouse (maryhwhitehouse@gmail.com, or Melissa Mascari melissaflittlewood@gmail.com

NCSPA Legislative Update
Posted on March 27, 2019 by Digital Media Committee Chair

Contact your legislators today and encourage them to pass along our School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment bill! The NC Senate and House have just filed identical bills, entitled the School Psychologist Compensation and Recruitment bill (SB 382 and HB 482). It is a measure that includes two parts: Part I provides for a salary increase of 1,000 dollars per month for school psychologists working in NC public schools. Part II outlines the School Psychologist Recruitment and Retention Program to become part of DPI. The purpose of this program is, as the name suggests, to recruit and retain school psychologists in NC public schools by offering signing and retention bonuses in ways that are outlines in the bill. It also requires the creation of a new recruitment and retention coordinator position to be housed in DPI and to work under the direct supervision of the State Superintendent. The bill stipulates the amount of money required to be appropriated for both parts. This bill has the support of the State Superintendent, DPI, and bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

A huge "thank you" to Senators Deanna Ballard, Don Davis, and Chuck Edwards for sponsoring Senate Bill 382; and the same to Representatives Holly Grange, Craig Horn, Donny Lambeth, and Josh Dobson for sponsoring House Bill 482!

Next Steps:

1. Find both your NC House and Senate members in the General Assembly and ask them to pass HB 482 and SB 382 through their Education and Appropriations Committees quickly.

Sample email may include these words: Dear Rep/Senator XYZ - My name is X and I am your constituent and work in X school district. House Bill 482 and Senate Bill 382 are being introduced and I am asking for your support in voting YES on these bills. There are currently less than 800 school psychologists supporting the mental health needs of 1.6 million school children in NC. NC has around 75 vacancies that districts are unable to fill because we cannot compete with our neighboring states for these highly trained professional educators. These incentives bills will support us in filling these vacancies but more importantly, addressing the mental health needs of children in school. [Add more words as you see fit and that are of local relevance].

2. Contact your local PTA and ask for their support too, especially if they are willing to contact their legislators in support of these bills.

3. Let your superintendent and school board members know about these bills so that they can contact their legislators for support, too.

4. Have a family write a "Letter to the Editor" about what a difference School Psychologists have made in their children's lives and why we need this important legislation.

5. Contact one of the following NCSPA LPP members for support in doing this: leighkokenes@gmail.com and maryhwhitehouse@gmail.com

NCSPA Legislative Update
Posted on March 15, 2019 by Digital Media Committee Chair

The 2019 legislative session is in full swing and there are several bills related to education that moved through the House last week. Two especially noteworthy bills are House Bill 76 (School Safety Omnibus) and House Bill 75 (School Mental Health Screening Study). Here’s a little more about each:

As the name suggests, the School Safety Omnibus bill (HB 76) pulls together several measures related to school safety. Several of the components are related to the physical safety of school facilities (e.g., school crisis kits, schematic diagrams and emergency access to school buildings for local law enforcement, lockdown drills, school risk management plans, school building vulnerability assessments, etc.). The Center for Safer Schools and its powers and duties are outlined along with a list of agencies with which the Center will cooperate. Part V outlines training and reporting standards for School Resource Officers (SROs). Part III might be where you want to start reading if you’re short on time. That section outlines threat assessments and threat assessment teams. School psychologists are listed specifically as a required team member (where practicable). The original version of this bill was reviewed by members of the LPP (Legislative & Public Policy) Committee and some questions, concerns, and suggestions were passed on to our NCSPA Lobbyist. NCSPA was successful in securing favorable amendments to the bill.

The School Mental Health Screening Study bill (HB 75) directs DPI and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to conduct a study to recommend a mental health screening process to identify school children in NC who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Again, we were successful in amending the bill, and NCSPA is now a named entity in the first paragraph where DPI and DHHS are required to confer with us in the course of their study. The following elements are required in the proposed study:

  • Whether the state should require such a screening
  • Which mental health professionals should conduct the screening
  • What behaviors or mental health diagnoses the screen should be targeted to identify
  • The format the screening must take
  • Whether the screening will be uniform throughout the state or whether the agencies (DPI & DHHS) should create guidelines for each local school administrative unit
  • Creation of a policy to connect children identified as being at risk with appropriate mental health services
  • How to store and access the confidential health information generated by the screening
  • The age at which to initiate screening and whether it should be repeated at different ages
  • Whether parents will be able to opt out
  • Others deemed necessary

If you are interested in the prior versions of or amendments to either bill, go to www.ncleg.net and search by bill number (HB 76 or HB 75) in the search box on the top right section of the page. Both have passed the House and head over to the Senate. Stay tuned for more updates as we anticipate these things will move quickly through the legislative process.

Legislative Alert: HB 933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure
Posted on May 17, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair
Name of Legislative Issue/Topic: HB 933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure The House will go in session at 11:00 this morning. One bill that is proposed and will be presented on the floor is HB 933, which allows for school psychologists moving in from out of state AND who have NCSP designation to be licensed within NC based on that. Adding this option for school psychologists will help us to recruit highly qualified individuals from out of state to help us fill our vacancies in NC. Action steps: CONTACT your representative as soon as possible (preferably this morning) and ask that they vote in support of this bill.

Text of the bill can be found here.

Find out who represents you here.

You may wish to say something like the following:

Phone:   We are asking that you support HB 933 which grants licensure for out of state school psychologists with national certification to be licensed by DPI. We are asking for your support of this bill as it will help school districts in our state to recruit highly qualified school psychologists from out of state to help fill the numerous vacancies in NC. Email: Dear (Insert Legislator here), Thank you for your time and service for the people of North Carolina. At this time, there are over 70 vacancies for school psychologists in North Carolina. This drastically impacts our ability to provide comprehensive services to the students in our school buildings. We are asking that you support HB 933 which grants licensure for out of state school psychologists with national certification to be licensed by DPI quickly and efficiently. It does not cost the taxpayers of North Carolina any money. We are asking for your support of this bill as it will help school districts in our state to recruit highly qualified school psychologists from out of state to help fill the numerous vacancies in NC. Sincerely, (Your Name here)
NCSPA Advocacy Challenge!
Posted on April 26, 2018 by Digital Media Committee Chair

Here are specific advocacy actions that School Psychologists across NC have bravely done and now NCSPA needs you to be involved to push our advocacy even more as the NC General Assembly short session begins May 16. Choose 1-2 of these ideas and if you need help, reach out to fellow School Psychologists:

  • Meet with your House or Senate representatives in your community. They want to hear from you. You are their constituents and represent a vote for them.

  • Talk to superintendents in your district.

  • When you meet with these individuals, take a buddy (teacher, school psychologist, parent, administrator, neighbor, etc.).

  • Make a video or podcast to tell your story of how you serve your schools. This can be delivered via Twitter or Facebook or provided to your representative if you cannot get to their office in your community.

  • Talk to your PTA at your child’s school or the school you work at and get them to present our Infographic in their newsletter or bulletin.

  • Call your local newspaper and work with a reporter to tell your/our story.

  • Call your local radio station to provide information about the shortages. If they want to interview you and you’re nervous, take a friend and just do it.

  • Talk about how School Psychologists ‘team with and collaborate with’ others in school to support mental health for all students.

  • Remember, you don’t have to spend time thinking of what to say. Use the talking points along with the NCSPA Infographic, NCSPA 2018 Fact Sheet, and NCSPA Legislative Agenda, and the talking points which are all found on the NCSPA website.

View all updates >>

 

See previous “Lobbyist Loft” posts from recent monthly issues of the NCSPA Newsletter: