- North Carolina public schools’ graduation rate was the highest ever at 86.5% in 2017
- 77% of public schools overall earned grades of C or better in the fourth year of the state’s A-F grading system
- An estimated 1,552,638 students attend NC public schools in 2017-18
- An estimated 1.451 million attend one of NC’s 2,461 traditional public schools; estimated 101,689 attend one of the 176 charter schools
- Increase of ~9,000 students from last year, an increase of ~ 118,000 since 2006-07
- Enrollments in NC Virtual Public School, the nation’s second-largest state-supported virtual school, are approximately 58,000
- NC ranked 39th in the U.S. for 2017
- NC is spending $9,528 per student compared to the national average of $11,934
- Between 2008-09 and 2017-2018:
- Per-pupil spending went from $8867 ($10,483 in today’s dollars) to $9,528
- NC public schools have added more than 90,000 students, including many more English language learners and students living in poverty. According to the latest figures, almost half of North Carolina’s children live in poor or low-income households and 22% live in poverty (ncchild.org). The official poverty level for a family of two adults and two children is $24,339.
- Textbook funds reduced from $76 (inflation adjusted) to $47 per pupil
- Classroom supplies funding reduced from $66 (inflation adjusted) to $30 per pupil
- Little investment was made to expand school resources with the most recent budget adjustments. Allotments for teaching assistants, textbooks, At-Risk student services and more are still below 2008-2009 levels when adjusted for inflation.
- NC has more National Board Certified teachers than any other state
- NC teacher salaries 37th in the U.S, 6th out of 12 southern states
- Average NC teacher salary was $50,861 in 2017-2018, about $9,600 less than national average of $60,483
- NC teachers earn just 65.4 cents on the dollar compared with other college graduates-the 3rd widest pay gap in the nation (U.S. is 77 cents on dollar)
- In 2017-19 budget, teachers given stated average raises of 3.3% in the first year, and 9.6% (over 2016-17) in the second, though there appears to be inadequate funding included to actually reach those totals
- No salary increase for earning a Master’s degree after 2013
- NC Teaching Fellows Program for STEM/Special Ed teachers created in 2017-19 budget – less generous than previous program
- 25% decline in enrollment in teaching programs in UNC system since 2010
- In some areas of the state, the attrition rates for LEAs is as high as 30%
- Approximately 8,000 fewer teacher assistants than 2008-09
- On February 8, legislative majority leaders introduced HB90, allowing a phase in plan for smaller class sizes in grades K-3 until 2021-22 instead of the previous, rigid mandate for the 2018-19 school year. HB 90 passed in March 2018
- House Bill 90 includes a plan to eliminate the Pre-K waiting list by adding funding for approximately 3,000 additional Pre-K seats over the next two years. This funding will expand NC Pre-K funding by about $26 million in FY 2019-20, growing to $36 million in FY 20-21. This replaces the nearly 6,000 slots cut since 2011.
- In addition, legislators included in the bill a new allotment for enhancement teachers that grows to about $246 million by FY 2021-22
- No limits on class sizes for grades 4–12
- HB 90 expands the eligibility criteria for the Personal Education Savings Accounts (PESAs) voucher program, granting eligibility to grade 2-12 students who had not previously been enrolled in a public school.
- Allows Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill, majority white suburbs of Charlotte, to create their own charter schools. Further, they will be permitted to restrict access to local residents.
- In the recently passed budget amendments, a related provision, Section 38.8, authorizes cities in North Carolina to use local property taxes to fund any public school located within their localities. It appears to address a deficiency in HB 514.
- This could include charters, lab schools, and any other publicly funded entity.
- This concerning provision drastically alters the way schools could be funded and contribute to segregation.
- Charter schools allowed to expand one grade level annually without approval
- Only 50% of charter school teachers have to be certified
- Contribute to racial isolation. Several studies have found charters drive segregation as white, affluent students leave traditional public schools.
- 173 schools in operation in 2017-18
- Rules for evaluating charters relaxed in 2016, making it harder for State Board of Education to close underperforming charters
- The two online charters given new relaxed rules for student retention despite both receiving D performance grades and not meeting growth goals
- 2018-2019 Budget Adjustment bill grants the virtual charter schools pilot an extension for another 4 years even though both virtual schools are low-performing.
A-F School Performance Grades
- 505 schools were identified as low-performing in 2016-17
- Schools receiving Ds and Fs fell last year to 22.6% of all schools
- 80% of grade based on student test scores, 20% on student growth
- High poverty schools receive majority of Ds and Fs
- Among all schools last year that received a D or F, 93% had enrollments with at least 50 percent of students from low-income families
- Among schools that received at least a B, 72.5% had enrollments with less than 50 percent of students from low-income families
- Grades were used to pick Southside Ashpole Elementary for Innovative School District takeover. Will be used for other schools moving forward.
- Voucher funding increased by $20M to $44.8M for 2017-18
- More than 90% of voucher monies in 2017 went to religious schools
- 2017-19 Biennium Budget created a new voucher program, called Personal Education Savings Accounts, for students with disabilities beginning in 2018-19 school year.
- 2017-19 biennium budget made voucher funding part of the base budget going forward and adds $10 million more annually until yearly funding is $145 million in 2027-28
- 2018-2019 Budget adjustments added an additional $13 million. $10 million to Opportunity Scholarships and $3 million to Disabilities Grant.
- Expanded eligibility from HB 90 will lead to the need to increase the funding for this program
Last revised July 15, 2018