What NC Is Spending For Public Schools – 2008-2009 Versus 2019-2020

In October of 2019,  Rob Schofield published a piece on NC Policy Watch explaining the negative effects of the budget that Sen. Phil Berger and others in the NCGA were at that time pushing.

The second dealt with public education.

#2 – Further undermining the state’s desperately underfunded public schools – As veteran education policy analyst Kris Nordstrom explained in July, there are myriad ways to illustrate the damage the state lawmakers are doing to North Carolina’s once-proud and now-threadbare public education system, but here are three that tell you about all you need to know:

  • Overall, the conference budget would have left total school funding 2.9 percent below pre-Recession levels when adjusted for enrollment growth and inflation. This figure underestimates the actual budget pressures faced by North Carolina’s public schools, as schools’ largest cost drivers – salary and benefit costs – have increased faster than traditional measures of inflation.
  • Of the 24 biggest allotments in FY 08-09, 20 of them remain below their pre-Recession levels (see tables here and here).
  • North Carolina would continue to spend significantly less per pupil than South Carolina.

The tables referred to in the second bullet point were as follows (credit to Kris Nordstrom):

While the second table does not have a dollar amount attached to the figures, what it showed was that not as many classroom teachers, support personnel, and administrators were being financed in 2019-2020 as they were a little over ten years ago.

Just for clarification, the US Inflation Calculator states that from 2008 to 2019, we have experienced a cumulative inflation of %19.3.


And NC also has a public university system that it supports.

In 2008-2009, this was the cost of attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill per semester.


$2698.38 for resident students. That would translate to…



But this is what it is now.



And don’t forget, NC had a really big state budget surplus according to Phil and Tim before the pandemic hit.