What has happened to school funding in NC?

What has happened to school funding in NC?
Posted on 10/30/2014
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Have you noticed there are more students in your child’s classroom now than there were just a few years ago? Do you wonder why your child doesn’t bring home textbooks from school anymore? The reason is because North Carolina’s Legislature has slashed funding for basic classroom needs during the last five years.


Since 2009, overall funding for public education has grown by $60 million. However, student enrollment has risen by nearly 44,000 students during that time. That means funding actually has decreased by $130 for every public school child in North Carolina. In KCS, we have lost nearly $1.5 million in state funding since 2009, but we have grown by almost 300 students.


NC legislators have eliminated funding for 2,400 teachers while enrollment has increased by more than 43,000 students. Lawmakers have removed all funding for professional development and stopped all funding for mentoring new teachers. They also have slashed 100% of the funding for technology even as students are required to take tests online. The legislature has cut textbook funding by 78%, classroom supplies by more than half, and teacher assistants by 23%. The tables below show the cuts from the state as well as the impact they have had on Kannapolis City Schools:



Since 2009



$ Amount Cut

% Change

Classroom Teachers

Loss of 2,471 positions



Teacher Assistants








Instructional Supplies




Instructional Support (counselors, librarians, etc.)

Loss of 641.4 positions



Improving Student Accountability




Professional Development




School Technology




Mentor Teachers




Literacy Coaches




Central office administration




Custodians, clerical, etc.




Assistant Principals

Loss of 357.4 positions







Total education revenue cuts in NC since 2009: -$646,713,971

Total enrollment increase in NC since 2009: 43,739 students




Since 2009

*Between 2009 and 2014, enrollment in KCS has increased by 286 students*


State funding in 2008-2009

State funding in 2014-2015

$ Change

Classroom Teachers

245.5 classroom teachers funded

247.71 classroom teachers funded

Gain of 2.21 teachers to serve 286 additional students

Teacher Assistants








Instructional Supplies




Instructional Support (counselors, librarians, etc.)

26 positions

24.95 positions

-1.05 positions

Improving Student Accountability




Professional Development




Mentor Teachers




Central office administration




Non-instructional support (Custodians, bus drivers, clerical, etc.)




Assistant Principals

16 positions

15.10 positions

-0.9 positions





Total state revenue cuts in KCS since 2009: $1,428,635.00

Total enrollment increase in KCS since 2009: 286 students


Education budgets are likely to shrink even further because of recent changes made by the North Carolina Legislature. As part of the budget bill that was passed in 2014, the legislature will no longer build funding for additional students into their continuing budgets. Instead, starting in 2015, school systems will only receive funding for the number of students they served during the previous school year. Any money to serve additional students will have to be approved separately by lawmakers as part of their expansion budget. In previous years, expansion budgets have rarely been funded. That means there is a good chance that school systems with growing enrollments might not be funded for additional students. In addition, final budgets often are not passed by the legislature until August—or even later. As a result, it is possible that even if school systems do receive funding for additional students, they will not get the money until after classes have started. If that is the case, districts will not be able to hire teachers until well into the school year. That will result in larger class sizes, mid-year disruptions to students, and fewer available resources for all students and staff. Education leaders in NC consider this funding adjustment by the legislature to be the most significant and harmful change in education funding in North Carolina since the 1930s. 


North Carolina ranks 48th in the nation in per pupil funding. It likely will fall even further behind other states if the trends outlined above do not change. Since 2009, North Carolina public schools have faced higher accountability and rising enrollments combined with dramatically reduced funding. They have been asked to do more with less. North Carolina public schools are every child’s chance and every community’s future, and they must be funded appropriately. Our children and our economy depend upon it. 

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