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Leandro Report Released, Recommends Greater Investment In Education

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager

“[T]he state is further away from meeting its constitutional obligation to provide every child with the opportunity for a sound basic education than it was when the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued the Leandro decision more than 20 years ago.”

As asserted in the long-awaited Leandro report released on Tuesday, the state still has plenty of work to do in ensuring that all children in North Carolina have the right to a sound basic education. The report, which was prepared by independent education consultant WestEd, notes, “Although there have been many efforts on the part of the state and districts to improve students’ achievement, the challenges of providing every student with a sound basic education has increased, along with the number of at-risk students.” The 287-page report includes findings and recommendations for eight various focus areas, as well as a state investment overview and proposed action plan. Click here to access a helpful chart shared by EdNC compiling the findings and recommendations for each core focus area.

The report concludes with a focus on funding, noting “how districts are allowed to invest funds is as critical as how much funding is provided.” The report not only recommends the state invest an additional $6.86 billion (approximately $4,710 per student) in education funding over the next eight years, but also emphasizes “the importance of funding flexibility for school leaders to determine the most effective allocation of resources at the local level.”

The recently-released report is the product of over two decades of litigation and research to determine how the state should uphold its constitutional mandate to provide its students with the “right to the privilege of education.” In 1997, the NC Supreme Court held in Leandro v. State that this “right to education” is defined as “a right to a sound basic education.” In a series of cases that followed, the state further examined educational opportunity, culminating in 2017, when both sides in the Leandro case filed a joint motion calling for an independent consultant to make recommendations.

Elizabeth Yelverton