by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
About a week ago, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI) updated a one-page document titled Trends: Growing Student Population, Fewer Dollars. The publication was developed in 2012 by an advisor to Governor Bev Perdue and was later posted on the N.C. DPI website, as I explain here. Now that Bev Perdue has moved on, it appears that education agency staff are updating the data and graph.
N.C. DPI has estimated that the state per-student funding for the 2014-15 school year is $5,687 per student, a $201 increase from the 2013-14 funding level. Keep in mind that this is not the “official” per-pupil expenditure figure because agency analysts use end-of-the-year data from state, local, and federal sources to calculate that marginally important statistic.
If you follow the pink bars, you will see a steady increase in state per-student funding starting in 2011-12. Whether it is appropriate to include federal stimulus funds (green and blue bars) is up for debate. What is not debatable is that state legislature increased funding by around $500 per student since 2011.
Oh, and DPI should probably change the name of the document.