New governor

Cooper should increase state's per-pupil spending

The Forest Fire staff

As the Governor Roy Cooper enters his new position serving North Carolina, there are countless issues the state electorate is hoping will be addressed.

One of the issues less talked about in North Carolina needing drastic improvement is one that impacts us daily. education.

NC’s per-pupil funding, the total amount of money the state designates for education divided by the number of students, has been falling behind the national average since 2008 when the recession hit.

While funding was at $6,300 in the 2007-08 school year, currently we stand at $5,616 (adjusted for taxes) in 2016, according to the Public Schools First NC Organization.

Data from 2014 reveals NC’s per-pupil expenditure is in stark contrast with the national average, which was $11,355, according to a 2016 article from Politifact.

In the National Education Association’s annual rankings, we are 44th in per-pupil spending, behind Georgia and Alabama and placing us in the bottom both nationally and regionally.

Our state’s minimal education funds are a grave disservice to the students whose textbooks, transportation, driver’s education, lunches and additional instructional and non-instructional costs the per pupil funding is supposed to pay for.

Cooper has stated previously he plans to increase per pupil spending and place a higher value on the education in NC’s public schools.

A higher per pupil funding amount would increase the opportunities made available to students and the quality of our education.

As Cooper begins his term as governor, we hope to see his promises fulfilled.

We want to see a per-pupil funding amount that nears the national average and elevates our education to a higher level. This is not asking for much when it comes to our ranking as 44th in the country.

Regarding the future of our state, there is no section of our state budget that should receive as much consideration as education.

So to Cooper and the NC state legislature, the state of NC Education awaits. We await the long overdue improvements that will ultimately make our state a regional and national leader, not an embarrassing bottom-tier state.