New editions of the State Legislative Tracker and The Policy Tracker available now!

Durham Public Schools, North Carolina

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Durham Public Schools
Durham County, North Carolina
DPS logo.png
District Profile
Superintendent:Hugh Osteen
Graduation rate:82.0%[1]
Number of schools:56
Budget: $407.9 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Heidi Carter
Board members:7
Term length:4
Durham Public Schools is a school district in North Carolina. It is the seventh-largest school district in North Carolina, serving 33,086 students in 56 schools during the 2013-2014 school year with an operating budget of $407.7 million.[2][3]

About the district

Durham Public Schools is located in Durham County, North Carolina
Durham Public Schools is located in Durham County, North Carolina. Durham County is home to 279,641 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[4]


Durham County outperformed in comparison to the rest of North Carolina in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 44.7% of Durham County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 26.8% for North Carolina as a whole. The median household income in Durham County was $50,997 compared to $46,450 for the state of North Carolina. The poverty rate in Durham County was 18.0% compared to 16.8% for the entire state.[4]

Racial Demographics, 2012[4]
Race Durham County (%) North Carolina (%)
White 53.0 71.9
Black or African American 38.8 22.0
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.0 1.5
Asian 4.9 2.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.3 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 13.4 8.7

2013 Party Affiliation, Durham County[5]
Party Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 118,059 58.8
Republican 27,874 13.9
Libertarian 685 0.3
Other 571 .009
Unaffiliated 54,240 27.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[6] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.


The acting superintendent of Durham Public Schools is Hugh Osteen. Osteen assumed the role of interim superintendent after the former superintendent, Eric Becoats, resigned in December 2013.[7]

School board

The Durham school board is composed of seven members serving four-year terms.[8]

Durham School Board
Member District Term Ends
Minnie Forte-Brown District A 2016
Heidi Carter District B 2016
Leigh Bordley At-large 2016
Omega Parker District 1 2014
Fredrick A. Davis District 2 2014
Nancy Cox District 3 2014
Natalie Beyer District 4 2014

School board elections

See also: Durham Public Schools elections (2014)

Members of the Durham school board are elected to four-year terms. Each election is held biannually on the first Tuesday in May. Four seats were up for election in May 2014 and three seats are up for election in 2016.

Public participation in board meetings

The Durham school board maintains the following policy on public testimony during board meetings:


It is the policy of this Board to encourage comments from all points of view of public concern in the schools and to conduct meetings that are orderly, efficient and dignified.

Any citizen may submit a request for an item to be placed on the School Board’s agenda for consideration at its meetings. This request must be in writing and received at least ten business days prior to a scheduled School Board meeting. Copies of the request must be mailed to the Superintendent at her office or to the Board Chair or Vice Chair at their home addresses. To be included on the agenda, an item must be approved by at least two of these persons.

Citizens may sign up to speak on agenda items of the Board's action meetings. Citizens must sign up with the Board clerk prior to the consideration of the agenda item on which they wish to comment. Citizens may sign up for a maximum of 2 agenda items to be addressed. Citizens will address the Board in the order of items on the agenda. The Board Chair will grant 1 to 3 minutes per person per item, depending on the number of citizens wishing to address the Board. A citizen who has signed up to address the Board may yield his/her time to another speaker. A citizen may accept two yields per meeting. If a group of more than four (4) persons is signed up to present a concern, the group may choose one of its members to speak on the group's behalf. The presentation must not exceed six (6) minutes. Prior to the meeting, any citizen may request an item be pulled from the consent agenda by a Board member. Only Board members can pull consent agenda items. Discussion on all pulled consent agenda items will be at the end of the consent agenda or business agenda section of the meeting, at the discretion of the Board Chair. Citizens may address the Board about non-agenda items during the 30-minute period set aside for this purpose at the beginning of its regular action meeting. Citizens must sign up with the Board clerk prior to the beginning of the Board meeting. The Board Chair will grant 1 to 3 minutes to speak per person, depending on the number of citizens wishing to address the Board. A citizen who has signed up to address the Board about a non-agenda item may yield his/her time to another speaker as described above. Citizen participation in the non-agenda public comment will not count towards the speaking limit of two (2) agenda items per person per meeting. Citizens' comments from action meetings of the Board will be 1) accepted as opinion, or 2) referred to an administrator for investigation to be reported back to the citizen and Board to the extent permitted by law, or 3) referred to the Board Chair, Vice Chair and Superintendent for agenda planning, or 4) referred to a Board Committee.

When the Board Chair refers an issue of public concern to an administrator for investigation, the Superintendent or administrator will respond in one of three ways within 5 business days: 1) provide an answer to the citizen about their issue of concern, or 2) provide an estimated time frame that the administration feels will be necessary to investigate and provide an answer to the citizen, or 3) indicate that the administration will not be able to provide the answer with reasonable effort.

The policies and laws of the State of North Carolina, as well as the policies of the Board, provide that matters concerning the job competence and performance of individual school system employees are confidential. For this reason, and to ensure that Board meetings are conducted in an orderly and fair manner, the Board will not entertain public discussion about specifically named school system employees during the open session of Board meetings. The proper manner for raising concerns about a specific employee is to submit comments in writing to the Superintendent or to use the grievance procedures that have been established by the Board.

The Board recognizes that the Superintendent is in a different position than other employees. As the chief executive officer, the Superintendent must expect to be the focal point of comments and criticisms about the overall performance of the school system and its employees, and such comments will be allowed during the open session of Board meetings. However, the proper manner for raising claims of misconduct or impropriety by the Superintendent that could be the basis of disciplinary action is through the grievance procedures that have been established by the Board.[9]

—Durham Public Schools website, (2014)[10]


The table below displays the budget for Durham Public Schools:[11][12]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2013-2014 $269,161,574 66% $57,281,749 14% $80,934,290 19.8% $0 0% $414,500 0.1% $407,792,113
2014-2015 $263,297,594 64.5% $88,969,245 21.8% $30,663,034 7.5% $0 0% $25,003,048 6.1% $407,932,921
Averages: $266,229,584 65% $73,125,497 18% $55,798,662 14% $0 0% $12,708,774 3% $407,862,517

Teacher salaries

Durham Public Schools employed 2,300 teachers during the 2012-2013 school year.[3] Teacher salaries are based on years of service and educational achievement. A teacher with a Bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate courses. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries. All certified educators working in North Carolina school districts are required to be paid from the legislated salary schedule. This schedule is approved annually by the general assembly. While the state sets the minimum amounts, a district may approve additional funds to account for variables such as location, market conditions or school demographics. The following table details the salary schedule set forth by the state of North Carolina and Durham Public Schools:[13][14]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
BA, 0-10 years 38,812 45,513
BA, 11-20 years 47,170 54,192
BA, 21-30 years 54,914 62,013
BA, 31+ years 62,871 68,196
MA, 0-10 years 42,693 50,064
MA, 11-20 years 51,892 59,620
MA, 21-30 years 60,398 68,219
MA, 31+ years 69,158 75,020

Schools in Durham


The district served 33,086 students during the 2013-2014 school year. The district experienced a 1.0% increase in enrollment between 2007 and 2013. The following chart details enrollment in the district between 2007 and 2013:[15]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2007-2008 32,749
2008-2009 32,324 -1.2
2009-2010 32,551 0.7
2010-2011 32,566 0.04
2011-2012 32,671 0.3
2012-2013 32,484 -0.5
2013-2014 33,086 1.8

District schools

Durham Public Schools operates 56 schools listed below in alphabetical order:[16]

Durham Public Schools
School Name
Bethesda Elementary School
Brogden Middle School
Burton Magnet Elementary School
C.C. Spaulding Elementary School
Carrington Middle School
City of Medicine Academy (Magnet)
Club Boulevard Magnet Elementary School
Creekside Elementary School
Durham School of the Arts
E.K. Powe Elementary School
Easley Year-Round Magnet Elementary School
Eastway Elementary School
Eno Valley Elementary School
Fayetteville Street Elementary School
Forest View Elementary School
George Watts Montessori Magnet School
Githens Middle School
Glenn Elementary School
Hillandale Elementary School
Hillside High School (Magnet)
Hillside New Tech High School (Magnet)
Holt Elementary Magnet School
Holton Career & Resource Center
Hope Valley Elementary School
Hospital School
J.D. Clement Early College High School
Jordan High School
Lakeview School
Lakewood Elementary School
Lakewood Montessori Middle School
Little River Elementary School
Lowes Grove Magnet Middle School - STEM School of Technology
Lucas Middle School
Mangum Elementary School
Merrick-Moore Elementary School
Middle College High School at DTCC (Magnet)
Morehead Montessori Magnet School
Neal Magnet Middle School - STEM Academy of Engineering and Design
Northern High School
Oak Grove Elementary School
Parkwood Elementary School
Pearsontown Magnet Elementary School
Performance Learning Center
R. N. Harris Magnet Elementary School
Riverside High School
Rogers-Herr Year-Round Magnet Middle School
Sandy Ridge Magnet Elementary School
Shepard International Baccalaureate Magnet Middle School
Southern School of Energy and Sustainability (Magnet)
Southern School of Engineering
Southwest Elementary School
Spring Valley Elementary
The School for Creative Studies
W.G. Pearson Magnet Elementary School
W.G. Pearson Magnet Middle School
Y.E. Smith Elementary Museum School

Academic performance

Academic performance for the district is available via Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports. These reports are measurements defined by the United States federal No Child Left Behind Act that allow the United States Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results on standardized tests. During the 2010-2011 school year, eight out of 54 schools in the Durham school district met the AYP in North Carolina.[17]

District SAT scores, 2012[18]
Best possible score District average score State average score
SAT 1600 951 997
SAT 2400 1355 1469
District ACT scores, 2012[19]
Best possible score District average score State average score
36 17.7 18.2


Teacher tenure

In March 2014, the Durham school board voted unanimously to join a lawsuit challenging the state law ending teacher tenure. The law awards four-year contracts with annual $500 raises to the top 25% of teachers in their district. The teachers would have to voluntarily give up their tenure, before tenure ends for all teachers in 2018. The law was intended to promote competition and remove teachers with low student test scores. Under this law, the superintendent will recommend 25% of teachers in the district to the school board for four-year contracts beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The Durham school board joins the Wake County school board as the second board planning to sue the state over this legislation.[20]

Charter schools

Durham County's influx of charter schools has raised concerns for some the county's residents. The county is home to ten charter schools and will be adding another in August 2014. Six more Durham-based charters have applications pending with the state to open in 2015. Critics fear that the new charters will take students and funding away from traditional public schools. They also believe that charter schools educate a disproportionate number of middle-class children and lead to a concentration of poor and minority students in the district schools. Supporters have responded by emphasizing overall improvement in education quality in the district's charter schools.[21][22]

Superintendent resignation

In December 2013, Eric Becoats resigned as superintendent after receiving criticism for a number of issues throughout the year. In June 2013, school board chairwoman Heidi Carter reached out to the county commissioners because the school board thought it had only $4 million in unassigned funds, far less than the typical $16 million the board has normally kept in order to offset state budget cuts. In December 2013, an audit revealed the district had $15 million more in unassigned funds than the board originally reported. Becoats, who provided the board with the initial financial documents, could not explain how the mistake was made. In October 2013, records also revealed that Becoats spent $20,157.86 on his district-issued credit card from July 2012 to June 2013 for out-of-state conferences, dinners and lunches with colleagues, economy-class air travel, hotels, room service, limousines from the airport, meetings, workshop supplies, flowers for recognition of employee achievements and gifts to a host family in Mexico. Becoats’ credit card was one of four district-issued cards. There had been no official policy outlining the use of the cards, but the board cancelled his card in October 2013. In November 2013, they also decided to discontinue the other cards and tighten rules on travel reimbursement and spending. Becoats was also criticized in July 2013 for hiring a school activity bus and driver to take friends and family members to private events. He reimbursed the school system $726.80 and was reprimanded, but the contents of his reprimand were not released to the public.[23]

Contact information

DPS logo.png
Durham Public Schools

511 Cleveland St.
PO Box 30002
Durham, NC 27702

Phone: (919) 560-2000

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Durham Public Schools, "Durham Public Schools Graduation Rate Jumps 10 Points in Four Years; Reaches Historic High at 80 Percent," accessed March 26, 2014
  2. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed February 11, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Durham Public Schools, "DPS Quick Facts," accessed March 26, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 United States Census Bureau, "Durham County, North Carolina," accessed February 21, 2014
  5. Durham County, "Voter Registration by County," accessed February 21, 2014
  6. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  7. Justin Quesinberry, WNCN, "Durham Public Schools begin search for new superintendent," January 14, 2014
  8. Durham Public Schools, "Board of Education," accessed March 26, 2014
  9. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  10. Durham Public Schools, "District Policies," accessed March 26, 2014
  11. Durham Public Schools, "FY 2013-2014 Budget Page," accessed December 3, 2013
  12. Durham Public Schools, "2014-15 Budget Materials," accessed December 12, 2014
  13. Durham Public Schools, "Salary Schedule," accessed March 26, 2014
  14. Public Schools of North Carolina, "Salary Guides," accessed March 27, 2014
  15. Durham Public Schools, "Demographics/Enrollment Data," accessed March 26, 2014
  16. Durham Public Schools, "Schools," accessed March 26, 2014
  17. Public Schools of North Carolina, "Adequate Yearly Progress," accessed March 26, 2014
  18. Public Schools of North Carolina, "THE NORTH CAROLINA 2012 SAT REPORT," accessed March 26, 2014
  19. Public Schools of North Carolina, "ACT Results," accessed March 26, 2014
  20. Jonathan M. Alexander, News Observer, "Durham school board votes to join Guilford County lawsuit in teacher-tenure fight," March 5, 2014
  21. Ned Barnett, News Observer, "Charter schools press Durham’s district schools," February 1, 2014
  22. Jenna Zhang, The Chronicle, "Charter schools on rise in NC," February 6, 2014
  23. Jonathan M. Alexander, News Observer, "Durham schools chief Becoats resigns amid criticism," December 19, 2013