Monday numbers: Two days ahead of pivotal Leandro court hearing, a look at the state of NC education funding

By: - August 29, 2022 6:00 am
Image: Adobe Stock

Well, that’s a wrap on the Summer of 2022.

Students and teachers on the traditional calendar head back to school this week. And whether children are attending a public school, a charter school, or heading off to college, parents have spent the last few months getting ready for this moment, hoping the year ahead will be an enriching one.

At the same time, advocates of a sound basic education are fervently hoping this week brings a resolution in the long-running school funding lawsuit known as Leandro.  That landmark case returns to the state Supreme Court on Wednesday.

With so much on the line,  today we take a by-the-numbers look at our education system.

K-12 students:

1.4 million — Number of public school students in North Carolina returning to class this week

130,000 — Number attending charter schools

126,000 — Number attending charter schools in 2020-2021

160,528 — Number learning in a homeschooling setting (2021-22 school year)

14,408 — Estimated enrollment of home schoolers in Wake County, which has the largest enrollment of homeschoolers in the state

20,377 — Number of students who received vouchers to enroll in more than 500 nonpublic schools last year

$56 million — Increase NC lawmakers included in the state budget for the Opportunity Scholarship (voucher) Program.

51 — Percentage of eligible North Carolina 4-year-olds enrolled in the public NC Pre-K program (Source:

75 — Percentage of eligible 4-year-olds in each county enrolled in NC Pre-K in North Carolina by 2030, according to the state’s goal

76% — More than three-quarters of students still attend traditional public schools

$9,958 — North Carolina’s per-pupil spending places the state at 43rd in the nation. (Source:

$11,532 — South Carolina’s per-pupil K-12 spending (Ibid)

$10,954 — Average per-pupil spending in the South (Ibid)

$865 — Average amount per U.S. household planned for back-to-school spending this year

In higher education:

 — Number of students enrolled in the UNC system (2021 system enrollment report)

500,000+ — Enrollment in North Carolina’s Community College System, a network of 58 public community colleges

2 million — Number of adults with a post-secondary degree or high-quality credential by 2030, according to the state’s goal (Source:

1.2 million — Number of North Carolinians ages 25-44 who hold an associate’s degree or higher

Our teaching workforce:

23,418 — Number of North Carolina teachers who have earned National Board Certification, the highest credential in the teaching profession

23% — Percentage of all teachers in the state holding the National Board Certification

$54,150 — Average annual teacher salary in North Carolina

24.5% — The “pay penalty” — the compensation disparity — between North Carolina teachers and other comparable college-educated workers

11,297 — Number of teacher and staff vacancies superintendents reported earlier this month just ahead of the new school year

1,342 — Number of bus driver vacancies across the state as of Aug. 19

2013 — Year that North Carolina lawmakers removed salary increases for educators with advanced degrees

11 — Number of days since a subcommittee of the state Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission voted 9-3 to ask the State Board of Education to seek reinstatement “master’s pay” in hopes of improving teacher retention

$526 — Average amount  North Carolina teachers spend of their own money to buy classroom supplies for their students

2 — Number of days remaining before the Leandro school funding case returns to the NC Supreme Court — education advocates will hold a press conference and prayer vigil at 9 a.m. ahead of Wednesday’s court hearing, at 2 E. Morgan St., Raleigh

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.