Public Education is a priority for the Orange County Board of Commissioners. The board has a funding target that 48.1 percent of general fund revenues be dedicated to education.The FY19-20 adopted budget exceeds that target at 49.4% of revenues.
North Carolina’s school finance system was created more than eighty years ago. The state is responsible for instructional expenses (including personnel) while county governments pay for capital expenses (buildings and maintenance).
In recent years, state funding for public education has been reduced. According to Public Schools First NC, state government per-pupil spending went from $8,867 per student in 2007-08 ($10,483 in today’s dollars) to $9,528 in 2017-18. Adjusted for today's dollars, that is a decline of $955 per student.
As a result, Orange County's contribution to public schools current expense needs has increased. The 2019-20 budget includes an increase of $187.25 per student. These supplemental funds pay for additional personnel such as teacher's assistants, salary supplements for teachers and school administrators to help the schools attract and retain experienced and qualified teachers, and other needs requested by the schools.
The Public School Forum of North Carolina compiles county expenditure data each year. In 2016-17, the last available year, Orange County ranked No. 1 in the state for local per pupil spending.
Orange County Per Pupil Local Funding
|Per Pupil Spending||Increase||Percent of GF Revenue|