North Carolina dedicates a smaller share of its state economy to public schools than any other state in the country. Public school spending in North Carolina accounts for just 2.7 percent of our state economy. In the average state, school spending accounts for 3.4 percent of the state economy. If North Carolina made the school funding effort of the average state, school funding would increase by $4.3 billion.1

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What N.C. needs right now

  • 23: Number of years that N.C. courts, under the Leandro case, have found that state leaders are failing to provide all children the education they are owed under our state constitution.2
  • 50th: N.C.’s school funding effort ­— the share of our economy spent on public schools — ranks dead last among all states.3
  • 35%: Share of economically disadvantaged high school juniors achieving the minimum ACT score necessary to gain attendance to UNC schools, compared to 68% of their higher-income peers.4

What it takes to fund these N.C. needs

  • $3.7 billion: Increase in state spending necessary to provide all children with a sound basic education 5
  • $427 million: Court-recommended increase this year to put N.C. on an eight-year path toward providing all children with a sound basic education.6

What N.C. is actually spending

  • $0: Amount of recurring funding the General Assembly put towards the court-recommended plan to comply with Leandro.7

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  1. Author’s calculations
  2. In 1997, the North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Burley Mitchell, stating, “[w]e conclude that Article I, Section 15 and Article IX, Section 2 of the North Carolina Constitution combine to guarantee every child of this state an opportunity to receive a sound basic education in our public schools.”
  3. Author’s calculations