Public education in North Carolina

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:23, 9 April 2014 by Karen Danford (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
K-12 Education in North Carolina
Flag of North Carolina.png
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 EducationList of school districts in North CarolinaNorth CarolinaSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in North Carolina
Glossary of education terms
Note: The statistics on this page are mainly from government sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics. Figures given are the most recent as of June 2014, with school years noted in the text or footnotes.
The North Carolina public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. North Carolina has 115 school districts.

The North Carolina state constitution requires that the General Assembly provide "by taxation and otherwise for a general and uniform system of free public schools, which shall be maintained at least nine months in every year, and wherein equal opportunities shall be provided for all students."[4]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: North Carolina state budget
North Carolina's education costs are 38% of the state budget

Public schools accounted for 38% of the $20.981 billion general fund 2009-10 state budget. The university system equaled 14% and community colleges 5%. All together, education totaled $11.83 billion of the state's budget.[5] North Carolina faced a deficit between $800 million and $1.2 billion at the end of FY 2010. On April 20, 2010 Governor Bev Perdue introduced a $19 billion budget for FY2011, a reduction of $410 million for the second year of a biennial budget she signed into law last summer. The proposed budget includes reducing spending 5-7% for departments aside from education, and eliminating 600 jobs, most of which were vacant at the time the budget was proposed.[6]

Personnel salaries

According to state officials, in the 2008-2009 school year the average annual teacher salary was approximately $48,648. Compared to the 2007 average annual salary of $47,633, 2008 saw a $1,015 increase. Compared to the national teacher salary average, North Carolina fell $5,671 below the $54,319 average.[7]

School year Avg. teacher salary US Avg. teacher salary
2005-2006[8] $43,922 $49,109
2006-2007[9] $46,137 $50,816
2007-2008[10] $47,633 $52,308
2008-2009[7] $48,648 $54,319

Role of unions

The main unions related to the North Carolina school system are the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA) and AFT North Carolina, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. NCAE is the largest education association in the state. For the 2003 tax period NCAE had: $9.24 million in total revenue, $9.17 million in total expenses and $6.07 million in total assets.[11] AFT North Carolina had: $32,050 in total revenue, $23,354 in total expenses and $27,098 in total assets.[12]

List of local North Carolina school unions:[13]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education is responsible for supervising and administering the state's public school system and educational funds.[14] The board consists of the lieutenant governor, the treasurer and eleven members appointed by the governor. Eight of the appointed members represent the eight education districts, while three serve as at-large members. The superintendent serves as secretary and chief administrative officer.[15]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: North Carolina government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the North Carolina School Boards Association.


North Carolina became more transparent in 2009 after the launch of NC Open Book spending transparency. Prior to the launch of NC Open Book, the Office of the State Auditor established a searchable database that reports on private organizations receiving state funds. The database is available here.

On January 12, 2009 Gov. Beverly Perdue signed North Carolina Executive Order No. 4 (2009), which mandated the creation of a website to make available information about state grants and contracts. The site is managed by the Office of State Budget and Management and the Office of Information Technology Services.[16]

Academic performance

In the 2008-2009 school year North Carolina did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements. AYP is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools. The school system did, however, meet 73 of the 82 performance targets.[17]

Year Passed Reading/Math (%) Passed Science (%) Total Passed (%)
2005-2006[18] 61.2% - 71.8%
2006-2007[18] 63.9% - 66.4%
2007-2008[17] 50.9% 45.9% 68.4%
2008-2009[17] 63.9% 64.2% 71.4%

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[19] 2011 Education Spending[20] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[21] 2012 Education Spending[22] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[23] 2011 Avg. ACT score[24] 2012 Avg. ACT score[25] 2010 Graduation Rate[26] 2011 Graduation Rate[27]
North Carolina $80.5 billion $25.0 billion 31.0% $80.7 billion $25.2 billion 31.2% 21.9 21.9 21.9 68.6% 72.8%

School choice

The state has one of the highest degrees of participation for homeschooling, with 81,509 students, almost one in 20 children being taught at home.[28] School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: the state of North Carolina offers charter schools as a school choice option. Charter schools operate within a public school district and are open to eligible students within the district. In the 2007-2008 school year, a reported 30,400 students attended one of the state's charter schools. North Carolina has approximately 105 charter schools.[29]
  • Public school open enrollment: According to reports, North Carolina has not enacted an open enrollment policy.[30]
  • Online learning: The state of North Carolina offers a state-led online program - North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) - to students in grades 9-12. The state led program is reportedly the only online education program for students in the state. In the 2007-2008 school year the program reported more than 19,000 course enrollments. students in grade 9-12 more than 19,000 courses.[29]

External links


  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. North Carolina Constitution,"Article IX, Section 2," retrieved April 30, 2010
  5. North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management,"2009-2011 Summary of Budget Recommendations," retrieved April 30, 2010
  6. The News & Observer "Perdue proposes $19 billion budget" April 20, 2010
  7. 7.0 7.1 North Carolina Department of Education,"Facts and Figures 2009-2010," retrieved April 30, 2010
  8. North Carolina Department of Education,"Facts and Figures 2006-2007," retrieved April 30, 2010
  9. North Carolina Department of Education,"Facts and Figures 2007-2008," retrieved April 30, 2010
  10. North Carolina Department of Education,"Facts and Figures 2008-2009," retrieved April 30, 2010
  11. Center for Union Facts,"North Carolina Association of Educators," retrieved April 30, 2010
  12. Center for Union Facts,"AFT North Carolina," retrieved April 30, 2010
  13. Center for Union Facts,"North Carolina teachers unions," retrieved April 30, 2010
  14. North Carolina Department of Education,"State Board of Education," retrieved April 30, 2010
  15. North Carolina Department of Education,"About the State Board of Education," retrieved April 30, 2010
  16. About NC Open Book
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 North Carolina Department of Education,"North Carolina State Level Report Card," retrieved April 30, 2010
  18. 18.0 18.1 North Carolina Department of Education,"North Carolina State Level Report Card 2006-2007," retrieved April 30, 2010
  19. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  20. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  21. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  22. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  23. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  24. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  25. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  26. National Center for Education Statistics
  27. National Center for Education Statistics
  28. Watchdog, NC Homeschooling Group Discusses Parental Rights, Independence, Oct. 20, 2010
  29. 29.0 29.1 The Heritage Foundation,"North Carolina School Choice," retrieved April 30, 2010
  30. Education Commission of the States,"Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," retrieved April 30, 2010