How NC Funding Of Schools Differs From Most States

Feb 5, 2014

North Carolina's public schools receive 58% of their funding from the state government.
Credit 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.

“North Carolina’s funding of public education is very different than other states,” said Rebecca Troutman, NCACC Intergovernmental Relations Director, to a legislative committee this week. “So, this General Assembly provides a great deal of money for public education for the public schools.”

Some critics, however, say that those numbers can be misleading. Marge Foreman, a research specialist with the NC Association of Educators, says they don’t take into account the state’s per-pupil spending.

“Other states may have a smaller percentage of their state dollar, but the dollar amount is larger than our total dollar amount,” she says.

She says North Carolina's education budget is still smaller than other states that fund smaller percentages to its public schools. 

Foreman points to North Carolina’s ranking in per-pupil expenditures, which is 46th in the nation.

North Carolina schools have long received most of its financial backing from the state, since it assumed public education funding in the 1930s to help standardize educational opportunities.

The state government is generally charged with funding school operations, which include personnel, while NC counties handle building and maintaining school facilities.