Ask & Answer | What about school funding and budget flexibility during coronavirus?

Readers are asking about school funding and budget flexibility.

Charles Perusse, the state budget director with the Office of State Budget and Management, issued this memo on Tuesday, March 24.

According to the memo, “Using his authority under G.S. 166A-19.40, Governor Cooper directed the Office of State Budget and Management to repurpose existing funding streams, as well as authorize the realignment of funds within the State Public School Fund.”

The funding and flexibility can be used, according to the memo, for unanticipated needs related to coronavirus, including remote learning, school nutrition, cleaning and sanitizing schools and buses, protective equipment, and child care.

A press release issued by Gov. Cooper at 4:31 p.m. adds:

“The State Board of Education (SBE) and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will establish a new $50 million flexible allotment for public school units to address COVID-19-related expenses. This allotment is comprised of unused funds from the current and previous school years as well as the State Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund.

Governor Cooper worked with Superintendent Mark Johnson and the State Board of Education to create financial flexibility for school systems because of the wide range of needs across the state. The Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group collaborated with Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and Independent Public Schools to develop plans to directly help students and their families.”

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Ask & Answer Coronavirus The Editor's Notes