To the editor:
Traditional public schools in North Carolina have three major funding streams including federal, state and local county funds. In the 2019-2020 school year, the N.C. Dept. of Public …
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To the editor:
Traditional public schools in North Carolina have three major funding streams including federal, state and local county funds. In the 2019-2020 school year, the N.C. Dept. of Public Instruction stated 58 percent came from the state, 9 percent from the federal government and 33 percent from local county funds.
Given there is much current discussion about local taxation and the proposed county sales tax increase of .25 percent, I hope the following will help people to make an informed decision on ways to support local public schools.
In 2020, the importance of local county funding in public education is imperative in N.C., as we rank 39th in the nation for per-pupil spending. N.C. ranks 37th in the nation in teacher pay and, adjusted for inflation, teacher salaries are still down 9.4 percent since 2009. With a teacher shortage nationwide, including North Carolina, recruiting and retaining teachers is urgent, and our local supplemental pay is crucial. North Carolina, in particular, loses teachers to other states and some teachers leave the profession altogether. In Chatham County specifically, there is a potential to lose teachers across county lines in search of pay increases.
Across the state, Chatham holds one of the top positions for teacher supplemental pay, but regionally, our average supplement is still below surrounding districts which can encourage teacher attrition. In the 2019-2020 school year, teacher average local supplements (which vary dependent on teacher experience) were:
• Wake County Schools - $8,569
• Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools - $8,466
• Durham County Schools - $7,487
• Orange County Schools - $6,522
• Chatham County Schools - $6,481
Attracting and retaining quality staff is essential for an effective education, student success and supports our local community’s health and vibrancy as a place to live and work.
Until the state of N.C. significantly increases per-pupil spending, local taxpayer dollars help ensure our schools are sufficiently funded to continue academic success in the Chatham County Schools.