North Carolina continues to lag behind the national average in funding for public schools.
The state ranks 39th in the country for average teacher salary and for per-student spending, according to a recent report from the National Education Association, a public teacher advocacy group.
Last school year, the state's public school teachers earned almost $10,000 less than the national average, and education spending per student was $2,300 less than the national average, the report finds. While the report projects a slight increase in teacher pay for this school year, that estimate still places the state at 37th in the country.
Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, links the decline in education spending to the General Assembly's implementation of a flat tax rate and its reduction in the corporate income tax rate in 2013. The non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds the state would have about $3 billion more in yearly revenue if the tax system from 2013 was still in place.
“Instead of prioritizing corporate boardrooms, our elected leaders should be making critical investments in our classrooms,” said Jewell, in a release.
The state teachers' union is planning an Advocacy Day in Raleigh on May 16 to call for more funding for public education.
“Our students deserve public schools that have the resources they need to be successful and educators who are respected like the professionals they are,” Jewell said.