North Carolina school districts

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K-12 Education in North Carolina
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Education facts
State Superintendent: June Atkinson
Number of students: 1,507,864[1]
Number of teachers: 97,308
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.5
Number of school districts: 236
Number of schools: 2,577
Graduation rate: 80%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $8,312[3]
See also
North Carolina Department of EducationNorth Carolina school districtsList of school districts in North CarolinaNorth CarolinaSchool boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in North Carolina
Glossary of education terms

North Carolina is home to 236 school districts, 2,577 schools and 1,507,864 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education[5]
    • William Cobey, Chairman, At-Large Member
    • A.L. Collins, Vice Chairman, District 5
    • Dan Forest, Lieutenant Governor
    • Janet Cowell, State Treasurer
    • Rebecca Taylor, District 1
    • Reginald Kenan, District 2
    • Kevin Howell, District 3
    • Dr. Olivia Holmes Oxendine, District 4
    • John A. Tate, III, District 6
    • Gregory Alcorn, District 7
    • Wayne McDevitt, District 8
    • Marcella Savage, At-Large Member
    • Patricia Willoughby, At-Large Member


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and per-pupil spending.

Student enrollment, 2011-2012[6] Per-pupil spending, 2012-2013[7]
1.) Wake County 1.) Hyde County
2.) Charlotte-Mecklenburg 2.) Tyrrell County
3.) Guilford County 3.) Weldon City
4.) Cumberland County 4.) Jones County
5.) Winston-Salem/Forsyth County 5.) Asheville City
6.) Union County 6.) Pamlico County
7.) Durham 7.) Northampton County
8.) Johnston County 8.) Washington County
9.) Gaston County 9.) Dare County
10.) Cabarrus County 10.) Warren County


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in North Carolina as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[8]

Demographic Information for North Carolina's K-12 Public School System
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 22,098 1.47% 1.10%
Asian 38,019 2.52% 4.68%
African American 397,489 26.36% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 1,293 0.09% 0.42%
Hispanic 203,503 13.50% 24.37%
White 790,132 52.40% 51.21%
Two or More 55,330 3.67% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

State budget concerns

On June 15, 2014, the North Carolina Large District Superintendent Consortium, a group of leaders from the state's 10 largest school systems, held a news conference to discuss the state budget. Prior to the conference, both houses of the North Carolina State Legislature passed their versions of the 2015 state budget. The North Carolina State Senate proposed raising teacher pay by nearly $470 million, which would come to an average 11 percent raise. In order to get that raise, however, teachers would have to surrender tenure, and other education funding cuts would have to be made, including nearly half of the funding for teacher assistants. The North Carolina House of Representatives proposed raising teacher salaries by five percent without making them surrender tenure. The money for the raises would partly come from increased lottery proceeds from the North Carolina Education Lottery. The House plan also cut millions from the University of North Carolina system.[9][10]

At the news conference, members of the North Carolina Large District Superintendent Consortium thanked state lawmakers for their efforts to raise teacher pay but expressed concern over the proposed paths to fund the raises. They said schools would not be able to stand losing half of the state's teaching assistants and that lottery money could force schools to take money from one area to pay for another. Despite their concern over the proposed methods of finding money to increase teacher salaries, members of the superintendent consortium did say they were encouraged by the discussions state lawmakers were having, as teacher pay had not had a significant increase in over five years, which made it difficult to retain teachers as well as hire new ones.[11]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The North Carolina State Board of Education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction adopted these standards on June 3, 2010. The standards were fully implemented during the 2012-2013 school year.[12]

School board composition

School board members in North Carolina are generally elected by residents of the school district, although in certain cases school board members may be appointed. School board elections must be nonpartisan, and school boards must consist of five members serving four-year terms.[13]

District types

North Carolina has three types of school districts: county school districts, county school administrative units and city school administrative units. County school districts have elected school boards, and most county and city school administrative units have elected school boards as well. Some city administrative units, however, have school boards that are appointed by the city council.[14]

Term limits

North Carolina does not impose term limits on school board members.[13]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: North Carolina school board elections, 2015

A total of four North Carolina school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for 15 seats in 2015. All of the districts will hold their elections on November 3, 2015.

Here are several quick facts about North Carolina's school board elections in 2015:

The districts listed below served 183,553 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2015 North Carolina School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Burke County Public Schools 11/3/2015 3 7 13,504
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools 11/3/2015 4 7 12,092
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools 11/3/2015 3 9 141,728
Cleveland County Schools 11/3/2015 5 9 16,229

Path to the ballot

In order to be run for election to a school board in North Carolina, a candidate must by at least 21 years old. If the candidate is employed by the school district that he or she seeks to represent, the candidate must resign from that employment before taking office.[13][15] To get on the ballot, candidates must file with their local municipal elections office and pay a filing fee.[16]

Campaign finance

Candidates must file a Statement of Organization, a Certification of Treasurer, a Certification of Financial Account Information and periodic financial disclosure reports with their local municipal elections office. Candidates who do not intend on receiving or spending more than $1,000 on their campaigns can file a Certification of Threshold instead of the disclosure reports.[17]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Public Schools of North Carolina, "Facts and Figures 2012-13," accessed August 12, 2013
  5. North Carolina State Board of Education, "Board of Education," accessed June 13, 2014
  6. Public Schools of North Carolina, "Data & Reports - Student Accounting," accessed August 12, 2013
  7. Public Schools of North Carolina, "Statistical Profile - Table 24 - Per Pupil Expenditure Ranking," accessed August 12, 2013
  8. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  9. News Observer, "NC big school districts to speak on state budget," June 16, 2014
  10. Salisbury Post, "NC lawmakers, McCrory hone in on budget differences," June 18, 2014
  11. WRAL, "NC school districts encouraged but concerned about state budget," June 17, 2014
  12. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 North Carolina General Statutes, "Article 5: Local Boards of Education," accessed July 9, 2014
  14. United States Census Bureau, "North Carolina," accessed July 9, 2014
  15. North Carolina Constitution, "Article VI, Section 6," accessed July 10, 2014
  16. Randolph County Elections Department, "2014 Candidate Filing Schedule," accessed July 10, 2014
  17. Randolph County Elections Department, "Candidate Filing Information," accessed July 10, 2014