Education Funding

Wake County bus driver Auh-murel Wright has worked for the school district 10 years, and sill makes less than a "living wage."
Jess Clark / WUNC

In the parking lot at East Cary Middle School, bus driver Auh-murel Wright walks down the aisle of her bus between rows of empty seats, checking the alarms and the emergency exits. She does this before each trip to make sure her ride is safe. And she knows the exact minute she can expect the first students to climb aboard—2:13 p.m.

Mugshot photos of Leah Hendershot and Anca Stefan
Leah Hendershot/Anca Stefan

Earlier this month, 14 public school teachers were arrested outside of Gov. Pat McCrory's office after they linked arms and blocked a downtown Raleigh intersection. The demonstration was a response to what the teachers say is a lack of funding for North Carolina's public schools.

In the days since the protest, teachers have posted their mugshots to social media along with their reasons for demonstrating. One teacher wrote, "I've taught World and U.S. history without a textbook for the past four years." Those posts have gone viral.

Teacher, school, hallway
Jess Clark / WUNC

Lawmakers in the state House have renewed efforts to direct more money from school districts to charter schools.

Perils And Promise, Rural Education, Vance Public Schools
Leoneda Inge

Rural areas of North Carolina are not seeing the benefits of the economic recovery that are apparent in places like the Triangle, Triad or Charlotte.

The same is true for rural school districts. Their dropout rates are significantly higher than their urban counterparts, and their surrounding communities have higher rates of unemployment. 

WUNC recently examined one rural district, Vance County Schools, to understand how it is preparing students for higher education and the changing workforce. 

June Atkinson is the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Jeff Tiberii

State Superintendent June Atkinson is asking lawmakers to consider a 10 percent raise for teachers across the board. Atkinson delivered her proposals to a group of lawmakers Wednesday.

Flickr via Cynthia Ahrens / Flickr

Lawmakers pushed a bill through the Senate that would divert more money from school districts to charter schools.

Under current law, school districts have pots of funding they don’t have to share with charter schools. These pots include supplemental property tax revenues, as well as federal funding for providing school lunches and transportation, which most charters don’t provide.

teacher in a blur with classroom
Bart Everson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Many school districts in North Carolina are looking for ways to fund some of their teacher positions after changes in the state budget.  

Under the spending plan passed last week, school officials are no longer allowed to use money set aside for teacher assistants to pay for teachers.

UNC-Chapel Hill

In 1972, Frances Campbell was a mother of two, simply looking for a part-time job in Chapel Hill, when she stumbled upon what would be a groundbreaking study on early childhood education.

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill asked her to examine the benefits of early education on children from poor families. They called it the Abecedarian Project.

(Read a 1974 booklet that describes the project here.)

The North Carolina General Assembly is back to work in Raleigh and lawmakers are filing dozens of bills.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

    

As the midterm elections get closer, education is a prominent topic in North Carolina’s congressional races. 

NC Teacher Project
Dave DeWitt

During lunchtime, school counselor Kim Hall takes a break from her desk and roams the hallways of Providence Grove High School.

On her five-minute walk, she encourages a senior to apply to UNC, consoles a student dealing with a scratchy throat and reminds a young teenager to see a teacher.

“We try to make sure that we’re accessible to students during their free times,” Hall says.

Hall has been a school counselor for 29 years. She says she tries to make more time for students as her clerical duties have grown over the years.

(Left) An Image of the original Orange County Training School, Circa 1916. (Right) The new Northside Elementary School
Rootsweb.ancestry.com, Chapel Hill, Carborro Schools

The site of an early 1900s training school for African Americans is now one of the most technologically advanced, energy efficient buildings in the state.

Northside Elementary School, in Chapel Hill, has been awarded Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council. It's one of only 40 schools in the country to achieve such status.

Governor Pat McCrory gathered with school leaders and legislators on Wednesday to show their support for a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay.
Reema Khrais

State House Republicans are teaming up with Governor Pat McCrory to help speed up slow budget talks. Legislators are supposed to make adjustments to the two-year state budget by July 1, but progress has been sluggish.

Representatives say they want to at least pass a scaled-down spending plan that focuses on teacher pay. It would give teachers an average five-percent raise without relying on funds from the lottery. 

School bus
Dave DeWitt

North Carolina ranks eighth in the nation in the percentage of state funding schools receive, according to officials.

The state’s public schools receive 58% of their revenues from the state government, compared to nation’s average of 44%. The remaining profits come from local and federal sources, though most states receive about 50-50 from state and local levels.