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Latest Highlights of the Public School Budget report released

Did public school enrollment in North Carolina increase or decrease this year? How much funding is the state providing for education? Did teachers and principals actually receive a raise?

The answers to these questions and more may be found in the 2018 Highlights of the Public School Budget report released last week by the Department of Public Instruction. The full report is available below.

Enrollment in North Carolina’s public schools increased by 9,120 students this year to a total of 1,552,638. Enrollment in traditional public schools (non-charter, regional, or lab schools), however, actually fell for the second year in a row. Enrollment in traditional public schools peaked in 2015-2016 at 1,459,852 and has declined to 1,450,949 this year.

Enrollment in charter schools, on the other hand, continues to grow. Charter school enrollment increased from 89,228 in 2016-2017 to 101,689 this year accompanied by the opening of eight new charter schools. Growth in charter school enrollment accounts for the overall growth in public school enrollment for the past two years.

Mirroring the decline in enrollment in traditional public schools, the number of teachers in traditional public schools also fell from 94,304 teachers last year to 94,117 teachers this year, a decline of 187 teachers.

Total state and federal funding for public schools increased this year. State general fund appropriations for public schools increased from $8.64 billion last year to $8.93 billion this year. Federal grants, including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Perkins Act, increased from $1.387 billion in 2016-17 to $1.413 billion in 2017-18. Taken together, state and federal funding per child increased by $203.13 this year to $6,064.52 per child.

With average teacher compensation at $51,214 this year, North Carolina is now ranked 5th (out of 12) for teacher pay in the Southeast. North Carolina still lags behind the national average teacher pay of $58,950. Average superintendent, principal, and teacher salaries all increased this year.

View detailed breakdowns enrollment, funding, and compensation in the full report below.


Molly Osborne Urquhart

Molly Osborne is the vice president and director of operations for EducationNC.