Raleigh, N.C. — The Senate approved legislation Wednesday that provides funding for two new state commissions and requires the Department of Public Instruction to help pay the state's legal fees to fight a State Board of Education lawsuit.
Senate Bill 14 passed 38-11 and headed to the House.
The only debate concerned funding for the Academic Standards Review Commission, which was created last year to rewrite the achievement goals for public school students after lawmakers decided to abandon the national Common Core standards. Under the bill, DPI would have to shift $275,000 in funding for positions that are currently vacant to the new commission.
"I hate for us to be spending and wasting money hiring experts to go back and ... rethink and redo something that's already been done collectively," said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, noting that Common Core was developed over several years with input from most states.
Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, responded that North Carolina isn't using Common Core anymore, so new academic standards need to be developed in a methodical fashion.
"We fought that battle, and you lost," Tillman told McKissick.
Senate Bill 14 also spells out how much the Department of Public Safety will get in fees charged to electric utilities from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to fund the state's Coal Ash Management Commission. Also, DPI must transfer $100,000 from its legal budget to the state Rules Review Commission to help pay its legal fees.
Last November, the State Board of Education sued the state and the Rules Review Commission, arguing that the board's powers under the state constitution should exempt its policy decisions from administrative review.