I had attended a forum on ‘the economics of education’ which was held at NCCU in Durham on Tuesday, 2/3/15. 4 school district superintendents talked about their schools, funding and the state of public education in their districts and around the state.
The main message for me is ‘Our children and our teachers deserve better’.
The disparity in per pupil spending is ASTOUNDING!! Ranging from $4100 per pupil spending in Chapel Hill (last year) to $328 per pupil in Wayne County. Seriously.
The state budget cuts hurt poorer districts much much harder – causing loss of teachers and teacher assistants.
One of the superintendents had covered more of the state recently. He started in Wake County as a teacher and ended up as Superintendent in Wake – so many of my friends in Wake County will recognize his name – Dr. Del Burns.
Since he left Wake County, Dr. Del Burns has led school districts as interim superintendent in Alamance, Edgecomb and Orange counties. He clearly illustrated that it matters where you live – there are huge equity issues in education in NC.
Orange County has the highest per pupil spending – $4100 last year.
Durham County spending about $3300
Wake County has over $2000 per pupil.
Alamance/Burlington spends $1200 per pupil
Edgecomb County spending about $900 per pupil, and had to cut TAs and Teachers in response to state budget cuts.
Wayne County only has $328 per pupil, and doesn’t have local money supplementing schools at all – depending totally on the state budget.
Superintendents also brought up the background problem of deteriorating facilities with much less being spent on maintenance, much less repairs.
I’ll write more on this later..
But basically – every person in NC is affected by the quality of the schools in NC. Whether you have children or not. Whether your children are in public or private school. These children are our children, and what they do with themselves and their lives affects all of us – directly and indirectly.
Public education is so important!
Thanks to the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties and NCCU’s School of Education for organizing this education forum, which featured school district superintendents from Durham, Orange, and Chatham counties as well as for Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.
Read Alex Granados’ report on the educational forum at https://www.ednc.org/2015/02/04/impact-budget-cuts-public-schools/
Granados is the legislative reporter for EducationNC. He is also a Raleigh native, and product of North Carolina’s public education system.