RALEIGH (June 20, 2024) – Earlier this week, the North Carolina House of Representatives released its proposed budget adjustments for FY 2024-2025. While the proposal offers important investments to shore up our childcare system and improve state employee compensation, it does not meet the mark on public education. As the Governor’s proposal demonstrates, our state can do more for the K-12 education system while also supporting policies that strengthen local economies, center the needs of communities of color, and provide opportunities for people with low incomes.


The NC Justice Center appreciates the recognition by House budget writers of the critical role that access to affordable, quality childcare plays in both workforce participation and child development. The House proposal addresses the looming drop off in federal funding with $135 million, which will help ensure the financial viability of nearly one-third of childcare centers across the state that are at risk of closure. However, the amount included in the House budget is short of what is needed to avoid childcare center closures and escalating costs for families.

As negotiations continue, we encourage House and Senate leaders to act quickly and boldly on this issue by fully funding the $180 million needed to prevent the most dire scenarios of closures impacting thousands of North Carolina families, especially given the implications for working-class households with low incomes.


Although the House budget proposal offers modest pay increases for teachers, it will not position North Carolina to meet its constitutional obligation to provide all 1.5 million students with access to schools that provide meaningful educational opportunities.

The Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan and the Governor’s budget have provided legislators with a roadmap for bringing the adequacy and equity of our public schools to minimally acceptable levels. Yet these research-based, community-supported policies have been ignored in favor of school privatization schemes that benefit the wealthy at the expense of middle- and working-class North Carolinians.

The House proposal’s modest pay increases for teachers falls far short of what is needed to address our state’s record levels of teacher vacancies. Teachers are the most important factor in ensuring that students receive the educational opportunities to which they are constitutionally entitled. Our research has shown how legislative policies have created shortages that disproportionately affect the state’s most vulnerable students. This budget’s failure to include substantial pay raises and improvements to teacher working conditions would accelerate these opportunity gaps.

Instead of meeting these critical needs for the vast majority of North Carolina’s children, the House budget uses available funding to double down on school privatization schemes that are proven failures. The budget’s hundreds of millions in voucher spending would largely benefit wealthy North Carolinians who have already enrolled their children in private schools. Research has shown that with vouchers, middle- and working-class families are still unable to afford elite private schools and instead will be consigned to unregulated, low-quality operators with poor academic records.

Budget Process

As was the case last year, lawmakers pursued an opaque, rushed process to move their proposal forward. Instead of carving out adequate time for review and vetting, the House introduced a bill—hundreds of pages long—on Monday evening. They held a few perfunctory hearings and scheduled a floor vote on Wednesday. When it comes to a document as consequential as the state budget, North Carolinians deserve a product created with intentional, diligent, and careful review.

As budget negotiations move forward, we call on our legislators to embrace openness and transparency and to center the needs of households with low incomes and communities of color.