It’s now been nearly a quarter-century since the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Leandro lawsuit that state leaders were violating the constitutional rights of thousands of schoolchildren – particularly in the state’s poorest counties – by failing to provide them with access to a sound basic education.
In June of this year, after years of studies, reports, motions, directives and countless delays, North Carolina Superior Court Judge David Lee ordered the state to comply with the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan, a detailed set of spending and policy reforms necessary to provide students in North Carolina’s public schools, at long last, with the education to which they are entitled under the state constitution.
Unfortunately, while the Cooper administration has been extremely cooperative and sought to make the plan a reality in budget negotiations with the Republican leadership of the General Assembly, to date, no such agreement has been achieved. What’s more, legislative leaders continue to assert that the court lacks the constitutional authority to force them to act.
At the time of his June order, Judge Lee gave the state until today – October 18 – to comply with the order to fully fund public schools and this morning at 10:00 a.m. in Room 10C of the Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, Judge Lee will preside over a hearing to get an update and consider next steps. Click here to learn how you can watch the proceedings, which are open to the public.
Today’s Monday Numbers takes a closer look at some of the numerous delays that have been part of the Leandro litigation as well as some of the many challenges in our public schools that the Leandro plan would address, what the plan would cost, and how that differs from the budget proposals advanced by Republican lawmakers.
The time spent:
24 – number of years since the state Supreme Court determined that each North Carolina school child should have the opportunity to received a sound basic education
2 – number of years since the national education research firm WestEd produced “Sound Basic Education for All: An Action Plan for North Carolina”
134 – number of days since Judge David Lee ordered the state of North Carolina to comply with the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan based on the WestEd report
7 – number of years the plan would take to implement
110 – number of days in the 2022 state fiscal year that have passed without enactment of a state budget
3-plus – number of years since North Carolina has enacted a new comprehensive state budget
$626,155,601 – cost of the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan for Fiscal Year 2021-‘22
17% – share of that total the proposed Senate budget would fund
48% – share the proposed House budget would fund
$998,005,601 – cost in FY 2022-‘23
13% – share of that total the proposed Senate budget would fund
32% – share the proposed House budget would fund
$2.5 billion – amount the proposed House budget leaves unspent in FY 2022-‘23
$13,597 – national average in per pupil spending for 2019-2020
$10,632 – amount spent in North Carolina
6% – amount North Carolina per pupil spending has decline over the last decade
1 per school – national recommended ratio for school nurses
1: 2,724 – highest ratio of students per school nurse found in North Carolina in 2019
1: 250 students – national recommended ratio for school counselors
1: 367 students – North Carolina’s ratio
1: 250 students – nationally recommended ratio for school social workers
1: 1,427 students – North Carolina’s ratio
1: 500-700 students – nationally recommended ratio for school psychologists
1: 2,083 students – North Carolina’s ratio