RALEIGH, N.C. — The Latest on the first meeting of a North Carolina legislative panel examining how to overhaul school funding formulas (all times local):
Members of a new North Carolina legislative task force on public school funding sound like they agree that lawmakers must simplify the current methods for how money from the state gets distributed.
But some House and Senate task force members differed Wednesday on how much freedom local school districts should receive while spending billions of state dollars annually. Others warned the spending overhaul still leaves rural and poor counties trailing their urban counterparts in providing money for teacher salary supplements.
Task force co-chairman Rep. Craig Horn of Union County says reforming the distribution of state funds is going to be a heavy lift for the panel, which is supposed to have a recommendation to the full General Assembly by next fall. Horn already says more time may be needed.
North Carolina’s complicated formulas that send billions of dollars annually to the public schools are supposed to get overhauled by a special committee now starting up.
House and Senate members on the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform meet for the first time Wednesday. The panel’s creation follows a report last November by the General Assembly’s government watchdog agency.
That office determined that how the state pays teachers favors the wealthiest districts and changes were needed on sending money to poor districts, for children with disabilities and for those speaking English as a second language.
The task force by next October is supposed to develop a new model based on per-pupil spending while providing monetary premiums for specific needs. Any changes would still need full General Assembly approval.