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House budget (almost) minds the gap for K-12 education funding – temporarily

The House budget [1] passed late last night patches over part of the funding cliff facing North Carolina’s public schools next year, but only temporarily. The majority of the House budget’s $248 million increase in public school funding is one-time money, meaning that while the state’s public schools would dodge yet another round of damaging cuts in the upcoming school year [2], they would have to brace for yet another state budget fight in the following year, FY2013-14, when they will face yet another yawning budget gap – this time in the vicinity of $688 million. BTC looked closely at the House’s K-12 public education budget in the context of historic and pre-Great Recession state investment in public education and found that it would still fall far short of average annual state investment in public education over the last 40 years.

[3]

On average over the last 40 years, state spending on K-12 public education has averaged 2.6 percent of state personal income. More precisely, that means lawmakers have typically committed $25.90 in state revenues to funding public schools for every $1,000 earned by North Carolinians. Under the just-passed House budget, lawmakers would commit only $20.80 per $1,000 in North Carolina personal income to the state’s public schools – an amount almost 20 percent lower than the state’s historic commitment to public education.