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Senate | July 10, 2013 | Committee Room | Education

Full MP3 Audio File

Call the meeting of the Education committee to order this morning. I want to thank our pages that are with us, Abbey Newsome from Raleigh, Senator Berger, Jeanie Nascent from Raleigh, Senator Nesbitt, Kaylynn Salone from Raleigh, Senator Berger, CG Red from Garner, Senator Apodaca, Melige Arms from Raleigh, Senator Berger, and Rob Arguwahl from Morrisville, Senator Stein, Rob Jarrell, Highpoint, Senator Woodard. Thank you all for being here, I hope you learn a lot this week. Our Sergeant at Arms, they're faithful, good, and always available, and some of the will eat barbeque with you, Billy Fischer, Steve Wilson, do you feel guilty, Steve? Ashley Mickens, Eddie Kesler, and Clark Rhiemer. Thank you all for the good job that you do. We have 1 bill on the calendar for today, and I need a motion for the PCS, oh, here we go. Senator Robinson moves the PCS, all in favor say aye, opposed? It passes. The PCS is before us. Representative Stone is with us to explain the bill, it's a local bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Good Morning Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen on the committee. House Bill 512 essentially puts the community college back in accordance with general statutes designed by the state of North Carolina. and just for a little more information, we started this bill in the House back in early April, and we presented it because we notice the County Board of Education had far more appointments than our partners as a multi-campus community partner, and we're trying to understand why Lee County had 4 educational appointments, and our other communities, Harnett and Chatham had no education appointments. So, essentially what this bill does is give Chatham, Harnett, more say in the process, which is designed in the general statutes, I can't say enough for the special committees chairman working with us on this bill so we can move forward in the right way, and I'll be open for questions at any time. [SPEAKER CHANGES]You've heard the explanation, do you have a question Senator Rucho? [SPEAKER CHANGES]A comment and a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Alright. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Is this another one of your local bills that we have to swallow hard on? [SPEAKER CHANGES]This is almost as hard as we have to swallow on the Senate Bills as they come our way. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Mr. Chairman, I move for a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Right, we'll take that motion and hold it for just a minute. [SPEAKER CHANGES]I see Senator Colonel Rabin has a question. Colonel Rabin. [SPEAKER CHANGES]I have no question, I just think it's a good idea we get back into conformance with what the law ought to be. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Very good. Representative Stone, i don't see all those people out here who that called me and maybe we've unruffled their feathers and got them all straightened out. [SPEAKER CHANGES]It's hard to deny when you've broke the law for 32 years, and you were contracted to 2005, and continue to break the law, I guess is, it's hard to show up and claim victory to that. but either way, we want to move forward and put Lee County back in accordance with the general statutes, and I appreciate your vote. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Okay, I have been handed a list of some people that want to speak forward against this bill, and we've got 2 on each side I believe that we'll hear from. Senator Jenkins, please. Back to the members. Mr. Chairman and Representative, I apologize, I had to step out of the room one minute, and I know that's not right. But if I understand this, all you're doing is restricting the number of commissioners that can be on the board to 1. Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES]That's not correct. What we're doing is the general statutes require that the Board of Education in a multi-county campus of community colleges each have 1 vote for a board election appointee to the trustees. And what's happened in the past is 1 county has had 4 appointments, and the other multi-campus community colleges had zero appointments. And the General statutes clearly states that each county gets 1 vote, and that hasn't happened in 33 years, I think it is. [SPEAKER CHANGES]The Board of Elections or Board of Commissions? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Board of Education. [SPEAKER CHANGES]While we're pondering that, Senator Davis. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you Mr. Chair. I think you've just answered the question I was heading. You said this was taking place for 33 years? What is bringing about the all of a sudden change now? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Well, it all goes back to, obviously, change. Everyone

takes a new, fresh look at things. And, we were trying to figure out, why Lee County had full board of appointments--of education appointments--and the surrounding counties had zero. We couldn't understand, and it was creating an unequal balance on the board, and it was giving all the authority to one community. And, so we had questions about it. And the deeper we looked, the more we found and it just--it got profound as we went on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Follow-up, Mr. Chair? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm just--help me if you don't mind--maybe help me understand--I mean--where's--what generated the review? And, is this something that the Board of Education actually has asked for and they support as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, keep in mind, what this basically does is put us back into the general standards--general statutes. This is the law. This is the law of the land--this is not Lee County law, this is state law that every community college in the state of North Carolina has looked at. Now, when I talk to the community college Board of Trustees chairman, he says he's fine with anything; but, as of this morning, he said he's very much in favor of following the law and apologized for them not understanding what the general statute law actually had in it. And, that they haven't followed it. Now, keep in mind, in 2005, they were contacted. We uncovered this part as we went through, looking at the appointment. They were told in 2005 they were not in compliance, and still refused to get in compliance. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, I do have--and that may shed a little more light on it--I have one person that has signed up to speak against it. And if you will, Tamara [??]Brogan, come to the mike, announce your name, and who you represent. And, you'll have two minutes. Sergeant-at-Arms will keep the time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Chairman. My name is Tamara Brogram. I'm a member of the Lee County Board of Education. Thank you, Chairman and members of the committee, for listening to me this morning. I just wanted to explain a little bit. Our board, to answer your question, Senator Davis, we did not ask for this and we were neither consulted about it as well. I just came on the board last year, and so the contact in 2005 I was not aware of; I'm a relatively new member to the Board of Education. But, we were not contacted when the work went into this bill, we knew nothing about it until it was filed. So it was a complete surprise to us that this bill was even filed. We did pass a resolution from our board on April 9, 2013 against this bill as it was written then, partially because we knew nothing about it and this was done behind--you know--without our knowledge, and in consultation. We also have a very close relationship with our community college in Lee County. We have many great programs that we have worked with the Community College on, and obviously with us both being on the same page in education--you know--we work with them very very closely. One of them is the Caterpillar Apprenticeship Program which we started a couple of years ago, which is very--probably one of the first ones in the state. And also, our Lee Early College, which we work with the community college very well. So, we're very concerned about how this might alter our ability to work with the community college in education. So that was one of our big concerns about it. Also--you know--originally the way the bill was written, it would give the county commissioners of Lee County eight seats, and Chatham and Harnett would only have two apiece. I didn't think that was very well-balanced. I'm much more for keeping this in the realm of education. I don't think our commissioners need to be making all the decisions on who are the Board of Trustees for community college--that's an education decision. So I feel that it should be the Boards of Education on all three counties that make that decision on who--who's going to be on that board. Because we are working with them so closely. And, we deal with education everyday--that's what we do. It's our job, and we're working with it day in day out. The commissioners have a lot to worry about on their plate for the counties, and I think it just makes more sense to have education be on--with--that, with all together. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Tamara. But, let me ask you one question, and I will ask Representative Stone to respond to that. You are representing the Lee County Board of Education or yourself personally? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, everybody knew I was coming up here today. We had our board meeting last night, and I wanted to come and speak. And, yes, because we had a resolution against the original bill. Now I just found out when I walked in here to --- [SPEAKER CHANGES] All I want to know, ma'am, is are you representing the entire Board of Education, or just yourself? That's all I want to know. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Both. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Both. Okay. And, Representative Stone, do you want to respond before we move on? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just want to quickly expound on one thing she had made a comment on, that they weren't notified. The reason we couldn't notify the school board or the community college in depth without looking deeper before is because currently the attorney for the school board is also the attorney for the community college, and so therefore we didn't feel like it was relevant to engage them in discussions with both of them having a [end of data]

…somewhat conflict of interest. So the community college attorney and the school board attorney being the same attorney, we thought it would be better to back off and look further into our investigations before we included them on any of this bringing it up to general statutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Thank you Tamra. I’m going back. I see a member hand, let’s go back to Senator Jenkins. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chair thank you. I just got a question for Stare. Is the current process comply with North Carolina general statute or not comply with the North Carolina general statute? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Jenkins, the current process used for the Central Carolina board does not comply with the general statutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Very pertinent question and that’s, as Representative Stone said that. So in order to straighten this thing out we have this bill before us now. I do have a couple of people that signed up to speak. Wait a minute. I have another member. Senator Davis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thanks Mr. Chair. Would it be okay to ask the board of education a question? I just have a very quick question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, if Tamra will come back we’ll take one question for her. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes Senator Davis? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thanks Mr. Chair. My question is if there is non-compliance in the resolution that was actually adopted by the board of education was there any discussions about a formidable resolution that would bring this area of non-compliance back in compliance so that the law of the general statute? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No there was no discussion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I do see one more member. Representative Bryant. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. This may be redundant. If it is, let me know. What is the reason that we are excluding the reappointment of any of the prior Lee County individuals. Are they tainted or somehow, you know, is there a problem with them? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s a fair question. Representative Stone? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure big question there Representative Senator Bryant. Well we felt like was on no count we know we have a bullying law that is probably not always followed so what we felt like to do since there is going to be an opportunity to reappoint that board that we would make sure that Lee County wouldn’t use its clout to demand that they just reappoint the one’s already there. We just thought that would be an insult to the current legislation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Excuse me. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just didn’t understand what you said we have what county law? I’m sorry Representative Stone. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The fact that we just didn’t want Lee County to bully the other two counties. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh okay. We just have one more follow-up though. Can I Mr. Chairman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up, one minute. [SPEAKER CHANGES] These new appointments will be made by the county commissioner? Will be made by… Who would these new appointments be made by that’s what I’m trying to get in my head. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We covered that earlier but let’s do it again. [SPEAKER CHANGES] In contrast to the bullying piece is what I’m trying to get… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. Thank you for your question. August the 1st there will be new appointments made by, jointly, the boards of education from Lee, Harnett and Chatham County, according to the general statutes of North Carolina law. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay follow-up. I just want to make a comment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Comment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I hear your concern about bullying but I don’t know all you all politics in your area but it’s just hard for me to believe they going to bully four boards who all have their own constituencies involved. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Bryant, let me ask you a question. Do you want him to follow the law? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, I want him to follow the law but I have a strong antenna for excluding people by group without a reason. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, this is a local bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] …excluding, but the law doesn’t exclude those prior appointees. That’s my only point. That’s going above and beyond the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] This is a local bill. This is a local bill and there’s a history behind it that we’re trying to correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes just one question Mr. Chair. Based on, and I’ve read this and didn’t initially have any problems with it but does this include exclusion of those whose terms are expiring? Those four people? Are they eligible if they are voted on by all three boards of education for reappointment? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is actually… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES] …three coming off this year. There will be another board of education appointment coming up. What the bill does is the three that’s currently on the board are not eligible for reappointment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] When their terms expire, they will not be eligible for reappointment on this next reappointment round. [SPEAKER CHANGES] This next… [SPEAKER CHANGES] On the next one. Senator Curtis. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d just like a clarification. If this is a clear violation of state law why even need to pass another law…

get the first law enforced. Don't we have a mechanism in place to ge the state law enforced? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sadly, this is the revenue that we have before us. I don't know of another way of dealing with it. Other than putting it in to the legal arena and I don't want to have anybody have to go spend tons of school children's money defending something we could fix here for nothing. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, may I comment on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Chairman ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] One of the reasons for the urgency as well is that appointment is coming up immediately and if we didn't rectify it now then they could still be using the out of conformance with the law before any other system could be put in place in order to put them in conformance. This right here has a degree of urgency because of the appointment coming up. Nearly, soon. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Going back to our guest today, we have two people I believe signed up. The commissioner. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? come forward, state your name, and who you represent. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Jim Walmack [sp], I'm sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Face it down. [SPEAKER CHANGES] How about that? Commissioner Jim Walmack from Lee county. On the board of commissioners. [SPEAKER CHANGES] [inaudible] It's not news to the Lee County or to anybody outside of Lee County that our former Representative is the school board attorney as well as the community college attorney and he knew this, he was notified of this back in 2005 when he was in office and representing this body. And what happened is that there's a selective noncompliance with certain laws. And he was practicing that and he's known and he's been able to advise these two boards, both community college and the local school board for many years that they were out of compliance and he knew that. And yet he allowed it to persist, he allowed this to continue. And when those sorts of things happen, obviously enforcement of the current law isn't adequate. So what has been done here is a clarification has been made in this bill that would allow us finally, once and for all, to get back in compliance with the law and to make it clear, crystal clear, how the selection process is supposed to work. So I think, you know, I think it's only appropriate that we comply with the law number one and number two that we allow those other boards of education in Chatham and Harnett County where those other campuses are to have a equal role in selecting the Board of Trustees who make very important planning decisions and guidance for our highly ranked Central Carolina Community College so that it can continue to thrive and prosper in the way that it should and serve all the communities that it serves. So I think it's a great bill. I preferred it the way it was in the first edition but actually I think this is actually a much superior to what we had in the past. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you commissioner. We have one other speaker chair commissioners for Lee County board of commissioners. If you would come forward Mr. Parks state your name if you're here and who you represent. You have two minutes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Green lights on, can you hear me OK? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] OK thank you for allowing us to come before you Senator Tillman and Senator Soucek. And committee. It's a pleasure to be able to come and talk to you. I support Mike's bill, he [SPEAKER CHANGES] For the record, your name and who you represent. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh, sorry Charlie Parks, Chairman of Lee County Commissioners. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Charlie. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We've been taking a look at all the laws and things that affect our county in doing some review. We're trying to correct some old age laws that are outdated or need to be changed because of change of the world itself. We have a new economic strategy that we're going to put into effect in September and we would like to have input from our counties that are surrounding us. We've already started an effort to have some dialogue with the different counties to help us with our economic strategy plan and we feel like that everybody should be represented. Again we'd like to have had the original bill where we had more say on the board because the college is one of the important things that we have that's going to help us with our economic strategy plan. And we feel like we need to have more input there. But this bill will help us to correct age old problem plus all of the efforts that we've made to have cooperation between our sister counties next to us. We will, they will help us through that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir, I've got one more question and I'm going to take the motion. I think Senator Davis you've been. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thanks Mr. Chair and Representative Stone in a way commend you for

Making sure that we are in compliance with our statutes. My only question is, going back to somewhat Senator Curtis presented is, if they were operating and out of compliance under the existing law. The solution I’m hearing is another law. What happens if they’re in compliance and ignored? Do we come back with another law? [Speaker change]: That’s a good question. Senator Curtis was on the same track. Senator Stone you may want to give your response to that. [Senator Stone]: I’d love to give my response. I had a communication this morning with the Chairman of The Board and I explained to him how important it was for use to set the standard when we look at the general statutes. I also remind him that we’re very short of looking further in [??] Community College. We don’t need to do that. We need to follow the letter of the law. He agreed 100 percent and assured me, August the first, that they would follow the general statutes. We don’t want to get into a tough mans game where we’re going to look at your funding or all that. Simply follow the general statutes. He also told me he wasn’t aware of any of the 2005 or any of the other communications between the State and Community College Board. Obviously the Community College Attorney may have not passed along. They were not aware of any of this. They were completely [caught off or cut off] and therefore he’s assured me that they will follow the letter of the law 100 percent. [Speaker change]: I don’t have any doubt about it than following it this time because we’re going to be watching it. Nobody was really paying a whole lot of attention until it was brought to our attention. It was allowed to go on for many years. Now the focus is going to be on them to see, number one, what they do right away with these new appointments. Senator Bryant, one final question. [Senator Bryant]: Yes. I just have the website up and I wondered if either Representative Stone or the gentleman, some of the local folks could tell me who are the three people who will not be able to be reappointed or four people? Who ever it is. What are the names of the four people who will not be able to be considered? [Speaker Change]: Senator Bryant, that question is irrelevant. This piece of legislation removes those from being reappointed. [Senator Bryant]: Mr. Chair, it’s relevant if it has race or gender or other kind of implications. It is relevant to the community. [Speaker Change]: No, ma’am. No, ma’am. That has nothing to do with it. Absolutely not pertinent. It is not relevant to this Bill. [Senator Bryant]: It could be relevant to the fairness of it Sir. [Speaker change]: I don’t know who they are and if somebody want to tell me their name if they’re White or Black. I don’t mind. I don’t think Stone knows and he lives there. [Senator Bryant]: I was just asking a simple question. [Speaker change]: Well let’s find out. Even though it’s not, has anything to do with this Bill. Nothing. Nada. [Senator Bryant]: What are their names sir? [Senator Stone]: I don’t have a clue who they are. [Senator Bryant]: Do the local folks have a, know who they are? [Speaker change]: Sure. If our lady from the school board wants to tell us the names and whether they’re White of Black, let’s hear it. [Senator Bryant]: Well I got, the, I can tell. I just need their names. That’s all I was asking. [Speaker change]: We just recently appointed somebody to Community College Board and that would be Norman Post, but he’s relatively new. I believe Jan Hayes was one of our appointees and she’s a woman and she’s been on there for a few years. I’m sorry off the top of my head, I cannot think of the third person. [Speaker change]: [whispering in the background] There’s no black. And there’s how many people involved? Eight? Four. [Speaker change]: This shows four people and they all apparently are White. Is that right? [Speaker change]: I think three White males and one White female. [Speaker change]: We can bring race up and try to make an issue. It absolutely is not. We don’t care. They’re being made to comply with the law. Senator Robinson. [Senator Robinson]: Yes. Just one question for the Bills sponsor. We’ve heard from Lee County. Have we heard from the other two counties at all? [Speaker change]: I will tell you that the other two counties will be in great delight. Since I’ve been here, both counties have came to me and said that they wanted more appointments on the Community College Board. As the more we look we try to figure out why the fairness. [His only comment?] was when you look around the State it’s not like that anywhere else. We’ve been looking for a contract or something that exited to allow them to do this. That’s why it took so long for this Bill to actually come forward, because research, State Community College Board, everyone has been looking for some sort of contract and there’s not one to exist at all. That’s why we went ahead with this Bill to correct the problem. [Speaker change]: Thank you Representative Stone. I will sum up with one little statement. It appears to me that you have a Community College and I served on a Board for 29 year and 7 months. Shared one for 7 years. If you got a multi-county where your Community Colleges serves and you don’t have people from those other Counties represented, folks that is an injustice to those people and we’re going to correct that. This legislation will do that. We will be checking to make darn sure that it is compliance. Senator [??] you had a motion way back for a favorable report. All in favor aye.

[Speaker changes.] ...?????? passes. Who you want to run that on the floor? [Speaker changes.] ??????? run it for Senator Rabin...Ron Rabin. [Speaker changes.] Colonel Rabin is gonna run that on the floor. [Speaker changes.] (Inaudible.) ran total 20 seconds!