Bill restores decade of funding cuts for classroom supplies
RALEIGH, N.C. — WakeEd Partnership, a business-backed nonprofit organization committed to supporting teachers and students in Wake County Public Schools, today called on the North Carolina General Assembly to pass the School Supplies Act of 2023 (HB510), a bill introduced last week by Rep. Julie von Haefen, that would restore classroom supply funding to 2008 levels.
In the 2008-2009 school year, the total state appropriation for classroom supplies was 87.4 million dollars to support 1.47 million students or roughly $60 per student. This school year, the state appropriation was $47.4 million for 1.55 million students – $40 million LESS for 72,000 more students or only about $30 per student. Adjusted for inflation this school year’s classroom supply budget is only 40% of the funding the state provided 13 years ago. HB510 would allocate an additional $82.3 million in recurring funding to bring the total annual allocation to $129,779,582 to equal the 2008 allocation, adjusted for inflation.
The primary sponsors of HB510 (The School Supplies Act of 2023) are Rep. Julie von Haefen, Rep. Rosa Gill, Rep. Terence Everitt, and Rep. Cynthia Ball. Co-sponsors are Rep. John Autry, Rep. Mark Belk, Rep. Gloristine Brown, Rep, Terry Brown, Jr., Rep. Allen Buansi, Rep. Becky Carney, Rep. Sarah Crawford, Rep. Carla Cunningham, Rep. Pricey Harrison, Rep. Zack Hawkins, Rep. Frances Jackson, Rep. Joe John, Rep. Carolyn Logan, Rep. Marvin Lucas, Rep. Nasif Majeed, Rep. Marcia Morey, Rep. Renee Price and Rep. Amos Quick. HB510 passed 1st reading on March 30 and was referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
Before the pandemic, North Carolina teachers reported spending on average $526 each year out of their pocket. This year WakeEd Partnership surveyed Wake County teachers and they reported spending more than $900 a year. “Teachers should not have to pay for paper, pencils, and glue so they can do their jobs, and they shouldn’t have to rely on programs like Tools4Schools either,” said Rep. Julie von Haefen. “It is wrong for our state to expect our teachers to supplement school funding from their own inadequate wages. This bill will relieve some of the strain on our teachers and ensure our children have the supplies they need for quality education.”
“The lack of adequate funding for school supplies is just one of the many areas where the General Assembly is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to provide a sound, basic education for all NC students,” said Keith Poston, President, WakeEd Partnership. “That’s why we opened Tools4Schools last year, a free classroom supply store for Wake County Public School teachers. Teachers should not have to buy classroom and student supplies out of their own pockets.”
“State budget officials are forecasting a 3.5 billion dollar revenue surplus just for this year so North Carolina can easily afford this new expenditure of less than 2% of the surplus and invest in our children’s education and adequately fund public schools,” added Poston. “While we can help with dry-erase boards and Ticonderoga pencils at our teacher store, we can’t stock Teacher Assistants, School Counselors, Nurses, or adequate pay for teachers.”
WakeEd Partnership opened Tools4Schools in January 2022 with the help of the community and generous donors. In its first year, WakeEd gave away more than $230,000 in new school supplies. Learn more at https://www.wakeed.org/tools4schools/
About WakeEd Partnership
Celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023, WakeEd Partnership (WakeEd) is a leading independent nonprofit backed by business and community leaders to support the teachers, students, and families of Wake County Public Schools. Since 1983, WakeEd has been committed to improving public education and advocating for excellent educational opportunities for all students. For more information, please visit www.wakeed.org.