Carolina Journal Video

JLF’s Terry Stoops rebuts claim that N.C. class-size reduction is ‘unfunded mandate’

Dr. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, discusses a claim that North Carolina’s General Assembly did not provide funding for a mandated class-size reduction in kindergarten through third grade. Stoops offered these comments during an interview with Donna Martinez for Carolina Journal Radio.



  • kirtl

    This should be rather easy to settle. How much money has been set aside by the legislature for class size reduction? Surely, there is a line item that clearly spells this out. Look it up. Report it. Then ask schools where the money went. If it isn’t clearly spelled out, and the legislature has trouble showing this money with clarity, then the legislature really can’t ask school systems for a clear accounting of the money.

    • Kristopher Nordstrom

      It is easy to settle. In FY 13-14, districts had to maintain a district-wide K-3 class size ratio of 1:21. Based on the number of students we have in grades K-3 this year, it would require about 6,600 additional teachers to meet next year’s class size requirement. Since FY 13-14, the GA has only provided about 1,850 additional teachers, leaving the funding for next year short by about 4,750 teachers.

      As for where the money went, that information is on DPI’s website. Last year, only 4 districts transferred any money out of their teacher allotment. In total 99.972 percent of teacher money was spent on teachers. On top of that, EVERY district hires more teachers than they receive via the classroom teacher allotment. Districts are already using local, federal, and other state funds to hire additional teachers. In total, districts hire 47% more teachers than they get via the classroom teacher allotment.

    • Kristopher Nordstrom

      Further, Stoops, Berger and Moore are the only folks claiming that the class-size mandate is funded. On the opposite side of those three are people with deep knowledge of school finance and budgeting: me (9-year fiscal analyst), Philip Price (former CFO of DPI), the current DPI finance staff, 115 school district finance officers, and 115 school district superintendents. Either Stoops thinks he understands budgeting better than all of us, or he thinks we all have entered into a grand conspiracy to pretend that the class size requirements are unfunded. It’s absurd.

  • kirtl

    You may, like me, not like Progressive Pulse, but you should go over there and read Kristopher Nordstrom’s piece explaining this issue. Since I see no one on the conservative side trying to explain it, or defend themselves, I have to assume progressives are correct this time and conservatives are wrong. The absence of an explanation from Conservatives makes them look ignorant at best, and sinister at worst.