The Governor’s proposed budget for K-12 public schools reflects the reality of North Carolina’s constrained revenue landscape, which is a result of costly tax cuts in recent years. Beyond state funding provided for teacher pay raises, little progress is made to boost investments in other areas of the public schools budget. Overall, spending for public schools in this proposal is 6.1 percent above spending under the state budget for the current fiscal year. Excluding the additional state funding for pay raises, spending for public schools under the Governor’s budget is 2.7 percent above pre-recession spending.
Here are five notable spending priorities in the Governor’s budget.
- The bulk of new spending in the Governor’s public schools budget is for teacher pay raises. The average includes a new salary schedule that provides teachers an average 5 percent pay raise in each year of the biennial budget. The total annual cost of these two pay raises once fully in place is $542 million.
- Enrollment growth is funded. Full funding to account for enrollment growth in public schools is no longer a guarantee, as this funding is no longer included in the base budget. The Governor’s budget provides $29.3 million in state funding for enrollment growth. Enrollment growth is not fully funded with General Fund dollars, however. The Governor’s budget includes $2.5 million of revenue from the Civil Penalties and Forfeiture account to help fund enrollment growth in public schools.