ADM may impact RC schools

Published 11:22 am Monday, December 12, 2016

Part 2 of a series

RALEIGH – A few weeks ago, the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald reported on how one new education study will affect a local county if its findings are adopted by the state. The same study’s findings would also affect all local counties if another portion of that study is also implemented.

Bertie County, with an Average Daily Membership (ADM) of 2,453 as of Fiscal Year (FY) 2015-2016 according to data from the North Carolina Board of Education, stands to lose the most funding of counties in the Roanoke-Chowan area if Finding #4 is put into place of the report released to the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) by its Program Evaluation Division (PED) last week.

However, Bertie, Hertford, Northampton and Gates counties would all potentially be affected if Finding #7 of the same report is adopted by the NCGA in some capacity. That particular item found that funding for central office administration has been decoupled from changes in student membership, creating an imbalance in the distribution of funds.

The allocation in question given to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) by the state uses calculations based on ADMs from FY 2001-2002, and has not been updated to reflect a steady decline in ADMs in the Roanoke-Chowan area over the last 14 years. 

Bertie County had an ADM of 3,613 in FY 2001-2002 – well over 1,000 more students than the current 2,453 ADM for FY 2015-2016. Because of that, Bertie County Schools stands to lose the funding to have as many and varied central office personnel, as funding will be cut to reflect the now-lower ADM.

Hertford County Public School’s ADM for FY 2001-2002 was 3,919, and by FY 2015-2016 it had gone down to 3,008. Gates County stood at 2,030 in FY 01-02 and had decreased to 1,657 in FY ‘15-16. Northampton Public Schools had an ADM of 3,600 in FY 01-02, and was down to 1,992 by FY ‘15-16.

Seven out of 37 allotment-specific funding lines were flagged by the study within the state’s budget to fund NC K-12 public schools as being not adequately used or overused.

No action will be taken until after the NCGA re-convenes in January. Local schools wouldn’t see any changes in funding allocations until at least the next fiscal year after that, as per normal state law change guidelines.

North Carolina is one of only six other states in the nation to operate using a resource-allocation model for funding K-12 education. The others are Washington, Idaho, Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia and Delaware.

The study that raised this and other questions was conducted at the direction of the NCGA’s Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee in order to examine North Carolina’s system for allotting resources to the LEAs. Seven of the current 37 different allotments were flagged by the study as needing changes in order for the education delivery system to be effective and equal statewide.

State funding for the K-12 public education system represents the single largest portion of North Carolina’s General Fund budget, with $8.4 billion going toward public schools in Fiscal Year 2014-2015.