• 63°

Everyone’s an expert, state education superintendent says

By Jeanie Groh

jeanie.groh@salisburypost.com

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson joined the Rowan County Democratic Party Thursday evening to talk about how public education is funded.

“I always do my best to speak to any groups that want to hear about public education,” Atkinson said, adding, “public education is critical to all North Carolinians.”

Atkinson said that everyone is an expert on education.

“We all can go back to our own experiences,” she said, but added that few people understand the finances that go into running the state’s schools.

Under the state Constitution, the General Assembly is responsible for making sure there is “adequate funding for public education,” Atkinson said.

“It is the responsibility of the state – the general assembly – to provide money,” she added.

“There are three buckets of money for public education in North Carolina,” she said. “The biggest bucket is from the General Assembly.”

Local, or county, funding accounts for 25.2 percent of funding for North Carolina public schools, and 11.7 percent of funding comes from the federal government. The General Assembly provides 62.1 percent – roughly $8 billion – of funding for North Carolina public schools.

“That seems like a lot of money until you break it down per student,” she said.

Although North Carolina has spent more money on public education recently than in the past, they actually spent less per student.

North Carolina has roughly 1.5 million public school students, and Atkinson said the state gained 14,000 students last year, and is expected to gain 17,000 next year.

Atkinson said it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much money is allotted to each student.

“How much per student depends on the student,” she said, adding that students that are low-income or classified as Exceptional Children receive more funding than others.

Atkinson went on to explain how the money received by the state is categorized.

State funding is organized into three different pots: positions; categorical allotments, such as Exceptional Children, career and technical education; or transportation.

Atkinson said there’s still a lot of uncertainty concerning the state’s budget, particularly concerning public education, for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

There’s a $343 million difference between funding for education in the Senate’s proposed budget and the House’s proposed budget.

The House’s proposition includes funding for teacher assistants, more money for textbooks and funding for connectivity. The Senate’s budget proposes eliminating teacher assistant positions to reduce class sizes.

Comments

Crime

More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training

Nation/World

US backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines

News

As demand drops, Cooper visits vaccine clinic to urge usage

News

NC lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

News

N.C. bill banning Down syndrome abortions nears floor vote

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 301st death from COVID-19

Coronavirus

N.C. lawmakers advance bill barring mandatory COVID-19 shots

Local

Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

Local

Mocksville to dissolve police department

Crime

Blotter: May 5

Local

Salisbury’s McElroy named top city, county communications professional in state

Local

Locals condemn use of force during 2019 traffic stop of Georgia woman