NC Virtual Public School teachers may keep their jobs this fall if bill passes

North Carolina lawmakers have come up with a potential solution to halt the temporary layoff of 220 teachers at the state’s virtual public school.

A bill moved through a House committee on Monday with an amendment that would allow instructors with the North Carolina Virtual Public School to be exempt from the 12-month maximum limit for temporary appointments.

The school’s payroll is handled by Temporary Solutions, which requires teachers to take a 31-day break in service, which means they would have to take this fall semester off, The News & Observer previously reported.

Also, the amendment states that the Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education would develop a plan for contracting and payment of those instructors in compliance with the law starting with the 2020 spring semester. That plan is due by Oct. 15.

The bill, Senate Bill 295, has yet to be put on the House calendar, where it needs to pass and then go back to the Senate for approval as well. The House calendar is published for the next day after each day’s session.

Also on Monday, the Office of State Human Resources sent a letter to the Department of Public Instruction’s counsel offering help.

“While securing contracts for the 220 teachers in time for the start of the school year will be a challenge, we commit to recruiting assistance from other agencies to help achieve this goal,” wrote Lars Nance, general counsel for State Human Resources. Nance went on to say that they are concerned for the long-term success of the program.

“While this proposal will allow these teachers to continue teaching during the fall semester, we recommend that NCVPS and DPI establish a more permanent employment plan to ensure compliance with state law,” the letter says. Nance said they look forward to coming up with a long-term solution after solving the immediate problem.

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Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers North Carolina state government and politics at The News & Observer. She previously covered Durham for 13 years, and has received six North Carolina Press Association awards, including a 2018 award for investigative reporting.