Public Education Steering Committee

Public Education

2020-2021 Public Education Legislative Goals

PE-1: Seek additional revenue sources, including a statewide bond referendum and expanded lottery proceeds, and changes to the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund, to equitably address statewide public school and community college capital challenges. Revisions to the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund that will allow more equitable access to counties to take advantage of the funds include: 

  • Allowing Needs-Based Public School Capital Funds to be used for renovations and improvements in addition to new construction. 
  • Reducing or eliminating local match requirements for Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties. 
  • Eliminate the five-year prohibition of receiving funds from the Public School Building Capital Fund if a county receives a grant from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund by repealing G.S. 115C-546.2(f). 

PE-2: Support legislation providing for funding to help counties implement school security measures. 

PE-3: Support legislation that promotes career and college readiness by increasing funding for apprenticeship & internship programs, workforce development programs, and funding to allow youth to obtain an associate degree from a community college or trade certificate at no additional cost to the student. 

PE-4: Support legislation providing flexibility to align K-12 and community college calendars.

PE-5: Support legislation to provide exceptions to the K-3 class size mandate including but not limited to lack of school facility space and availability of qualified teachers. 

PE-6: Seek legislation to repeal the statutory authority under N.C.G.S. 115C-431(c) that allows a local school board to file suit against a county board of commissioners over appropriations to the local board of education’s capital outlay fund. 

PE-7: Support legislation to create a blue-ribbon panel of experts to study, develop and implement critical mediation programs to help NC students recover from the education slide resulting from the COVID related transition to virtual learning.

Resources from April 2022 Steering Committee Meeting

View Guiding Principles

Committee Schedule

View the steering committee meeting schedule

2021 NCACC County Map Book

NCACC Public Education Services Committee Guiding Principles

As adopted by NCACC Membership on January 2021

  • The Association supports efforts to clarify State and county responsibility through legislation that recognizes the following:
    • the impact of changing technologies on basic educational needs and the job market of the future;
    • the impact of any changes on the facility needs of local school systems;
    • the need for county commissioners to have the authority to make sure funds appropriated for school facility needs are used accordingly;
    • the challenges faced by counties in balancing changes in school populations with insufficient county revenues.
  • Taxing authority for local public education should be vested exclusively with boards of county commissioners.
  • The State should define and support an adequate sound basic education in all local school systems and should appropriate adequate operating revenue to fully fund its education initiatives.
  • Effective classroom technologies and innovations provide greater choice, improve education, and should be available to all public schools and community colleges.
  • North Carolina’s community colleges are critical components of the state’s integrated efforts to prepare youth and adults for constructive participation in a constantly changing economy.

Committee Chair

Karen Howard
Chatham County

County Funding of Public Schools

Basic of County Funding of Public Schools

  • North Carolina has a unique governing and financing structure for public education. This white paper describes the different roles that counties have in funding public schools
  • Article from 1958 to the Committee for the Study of Public School Finance regarding counties’ ability to meet public school capital demands and supplement current expense (PDF)
  • Visual of the N.C. Public School Partnership timeline.
  • CountyQuarterly Article on Senator Brown from Spring 2017 Issue.
  • CountyQuarterly Article on School Funding from Winter 2017 Issue.

PowerPoint Presentation on Public School Capital Funding
To view this presentation, click here.

Public School Fund Balances

Unlike local governments that levy property tax, such as counties, local school systems do not need to keep a large fund balance because they receive their funding from both the state and county in monthly increments. Data from the Local Government Commission and NC DPI show the fund balance held by each school district last year (need updated link).

Video replay of the The N.C. Public School Partnership Workshop from 2016 NCACC Annual Conference

How School Funding Agreements Impact the County-School Board Partnership

Gordon Wilder, NCACC Public Education Steering Committee Chair explains how Boards of County Commissioners and Boards of Education use agreements (or formulas) to determine annual school system funding, providing consistency and a foundation for discussions.

NCACC’s Pursuit to End Litigation Over County Appropriations for School Capital

by Paige Worsham, NCACC Associate General Counsel
CountyQuarterly, August 2019

Steering Committee membership

Steering Committee membership is open to all county commissioners, as well as county staff who specialize in committee-related fields. If you would like to join a Steering Committee, please complete this sign-up form and join us for a meeting.