A Study of Cost Adequacy, Distribution, and Alignment of Funding for North Carolina’s K–12 Public Education System
This finance and resource allocation study focused on an examination of three major components of an effective resource allocation system in North Carolina cited in the Leandro rulings as areas of need that should be addressed by the state:
- Equitable distribution of funding across school districts
- Alignment of funding to student needs
- Adequacy of education funding
Each of these components must work in congruence with one another in order to progress toward the standard set by the Supreme Court of North Carolina (the Court) in the Leandro rulings. That is, one component alone is insufficient to either achieve the standard of the rulings or to remain consistent with the research and evidence on this topic.
Study recommendations include:
- Increase cost effectiveness of the North Carolina funding system so that public education investment prioritizes higher-need students and provides appropriate flexibility to address local needs
- Modify the school finance system to ensure future stability in funding for public education, including predictable, anticipated funding levels that acknowledge external cost factors
- Increase the overall investment in North Carolina’s public schools first by identifying a small number of foundational, high-impact investments, then by continuing the investments over time marked by checkpoints for progress
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