BTC BRIEF: Time to Step Up - With Federal Recovery Funds Gone, State Lawmakers Must Recommit to Funding Public Education with General Fund Appropriations

By Brenna Burch
Public Policy Analyst, Budget & Tax Center
April 2012


  • Funding for public education has always been a shared responsibility of state, federal and local governments with the majority of investment carried by states.
  • Starting in FY2012‐13, North Carolina will have spent almost all federal recovery funds supporting public education through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and no further federal recovery funding for public schools will be available.
  • Federal funds for public education were intentionally used to supplant state General Fund appropriations from FY2008‐09 through FY2011‐12 in order to reduce the impact of the business cycle on the classroom and educational experience.
  • Analysis of North Carolina ARRA expenditure data for K‐12 education from FY2008‐09 to FY2011‐12 shows that 92 percent of these federal funds for public education – a total of $1.47 billion – was used to pay public school salaries and benefits for thousands of teachers and other classroom personnel.
  • Starting in FY2012‐13, with temporary federal funds gone, state government will need to re‐assume primary responsibility for funding public education in order to fairly and adequately serve a growing K‐12 student population.

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