Falling Behind in NC

Falling Behind in North Carolina: Public Education

As the Budget and Tax Center has written elsewhere, the legislative targets sent to each subcommittee on appropriations represent the single largest year-to-year decline in nearly 30 years.  This week we have seen the impacts of these targets line item-by-line item.

But what do these cuts mean for the state’s ability to meet the needs of North Carolina’s growing and changing population?

Addressing this shortfall with cuts alone and no consideration of revenue will fail to support North Carolina’s nascent economic recovery.  The resulting shortfall of services will translate into very real challenges for North Carolina families and communities.  It will also reduce the state’s ability to meet key long-term promises, like educating our children for the jobs of the future and ensuring health and economic opportunity for all North Carolina communities.

Below are some details from the latest House Budget recommendations that contrast the decline in state appropriations since the Great Recession with the growth in the affected population.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  North Carolina policymakers can eliminate tax breaks and raise reform-minded revenue to close the budget gap, meeting the demand for services across the state.  North Carolinians should call for more responsible, bolder leadership.

Sources: NC DPI, Data Reports & Statistics, Facts and Figures; NC Office of State Budget and Management, Post-Legislative Reports; House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, FY2011-13 Subcommittee Recommendations

Total State public school spending would take a nosedive from pre-recession levels under the House education budget proposal, even as more and more children enter North Carolina  classrooms each year.

The House proposal would cut $628.8 million in absolute dollars (not adjusted for inflation) from FY08 levels.





  1. Nonanonymous

    April 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

    What you’re failing to understand is the golden goose has been taxed to death. Household income is falling. When times were good, the state was more than happy to double spending over ten years. You have to look at spending since the end of WWII, adjusted for inflation and population growth to even begin to start comparing numbers, instead of just pulling them out of thin air. Come on, pulse, the time for slanting numbers to suit your agenda is over. So is the socialist revolution.

  2. frances

    April 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

    With all the funding for education, over thirty percent of our students do not graduate. Over 40% of students who enter the community college must enroll in remediation. Our educational system is contributing to an even larger class of poor. We need to talk about how to reform this system.

  3. gregflynn

    April 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Your fish gets bigger every time you tell a story Frances. The 2010 4 Year Cohort graduation rate for NC is 74.2%. It has risen 4 points in the last 2 years.
    The data shows that targeted resources for students who are economically disadvantaged, have disabilities, or have limited English proficiency would help raise the rates further.

    66.3% Economically Disadvantaged
    79.1% Not Economically Disadvantaged
    48.3% Limited English Proficient
    75.0% Not Limited English Proficient
    57.5% Student with Disability
    76.0% Not Student with Disability
    74.2% Total

  4. frances

    April 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Was the change in how the number was derived? For example, if a student is not enrolled at the beginning of the school year, they are not a drop-out even though they were enrolled as a student at that school last year. What is they say about stats, lies and damn lies??????????

  5. gregflynn

    April 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Smooth move NonA. Shrink 30 years to 10 and stretch them out to 60 when it suits. The TABOR population/inflation canard has been declared a dead duck. The inflation rates for government services like education and healthcare don’t correspond with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and population increases have been greater in categories served by government like the young and the old. Having said that, in 1950 the NC population was about 4 million compared with 9.5 million in 2010. A $100 in 1950 would be over $900 today based on CPI alone. In the past 10 years the NC population has increased 18.5% while CPI has risen 28.5%.

    If free public education is socialist then our State Constitution has made it so. It was the bankruptcy of counties that led the State to take the lead on schools and roads 80 years ago. I don’t see the GOP cutting funds for congested roads on the basis of some failure of socialism.

  6. gregflynn

    April 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Here you go: 4-YEAR COHORT GRADUATION RATE CALCULATION. It’s a 4 year rate for 9th graders. I’m not aware of any 8th grade middle school drop-outs smart enough to sneak into high school 9th grade mid-year to mess with the stats.

    The rate for the state will be calculated as follows:

    Students who have graduated with a diploma by the end of the prior school year

    ————————————— Divided by —————————————

    Students in the state in the 9th grade in 2005-06*
    Plus students who transferred into the state in the grade appropriate to the cohort**
    Minus students who transferred out of the state and students who are deceased***

    * Only includes those students who are in the 9th grade for the first time.

    ** Students who were in 8th grade in 2004-05 and transfer in as a 9th grader in 2005-06 or 10th grader in 2006-07 or 11th grader in 2007-08 or 12th grader in 2008-09.

    *** Students who transfer out are those who have not been reported as having dropped out and the school has received a request for student records from an educational institution, public or private in North Carolina or another state.


    Dropout students count as non-graduates unless they later enroll in another school and graduate on time as their initial cohort. The United States Department of Education (USED) does not allow states to include students who receive a GED to count as a high school graduate for these calculations.

    The state rate is not the average of the LEA or school rates.

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