What’s Happening with Leandro and How Its Funding Will Impact Your Community

In June 2021, the North Carolina Superior Court ordered the state to comply with the Comprehensive Remedial Plan submitted for Leandro v. State. The eight-year plan includes a detailed roadmap of fiscal, programmatic, and strategic steps necessary to meet the state’s constitutional obligation to ensure all North Carolina children have access to a sound, basic education. We know this is not the current reality and it needs to be addressed. 

To date, the state legislature has yet to supply full funding for the Leandro Plan in its budget proposals for 2021-22. At a court hearing on October 18th, covered here by Education NC, Judge Lee ordered that the parties in the Leandro case must now decide on a penalty for non-compliance by the North Carolina General Assembly. The deadline for this is November 8th. Learn more about what the plaintiffs in the case suggested on November 1st. (Updated 11/11: Judge orders $1.7 billion for next two years of Leandro plan).

Full funding and implementation of the Leandro Plan would support important early learning and education strategies and actions to ensure every child in North Carolina has a strong foundation for success, starting from birth, along with other areas. Research has shown that investments in early childhood offer the highest return on investment of any age group.1  Learn more about the Leandro Plan’s actions and goals for early education on our blog and Every Child NC’s issues page.

Statewide education coalition Every Child NC is advocating that lawmakers fully fund the Leandro Plan in the state budget, upholding that it is affordable, equitable, and necessary to ensure the constitutional rights of North Carolina’s children. The community-led coalition includes organizations, parents, teachers, and students.

To support local advocacy efforts, Every Child NC has developed two Leandro Impact Analysis Tools to show how funding of the Leandro Plan would impact early learning and K-12 education in North Carolina counties and school districts.

County-Level Early Education Impact Tool

The County-Level Early Education Impact Tool shows the estimated county-level impact, including funding changes and program metrics, from increased investment in three major elements of the Leandro Plan for early education serving children from birth through age five:

  • NC Pre-K
  • Smart Start
  • NC Infant-Toddler Program (Early Intervention)

District-Level K-12 Education Budget Tool

The District-Level K-12 Education Budget Tool shows how resolution of the Leandro case will benefit school districts. The plan proposes several changes to the state’s school finance system that will substantially increase each district’s state funding. This includes funding to support critical areas such as:

  • Classroom teachers and teacher’s assistants
  • Instructional and non-instructional support
  • Supports for children with disabilities and English Language Learners
  • Transportation
  • Textbooks, classroom supplies, and materials
  • Professional development and marketing
  • Low wealth and small counties

The tool can be used to estimate how state funding will change in each district upon implementation of the Leandro Plan. Advocates and policymakers can use these estimates to encourage their legislators to fund the plan and to begin local planning on how their district will deploy these new resources to meet the needs of their community.

To learn more about Every Child NC and how you can be involved in leading with Leandro, visit their website. The NC Early Childhood Foundation is an Every Child NC partner.


1. Heckman Equation: https://heckmanequation.org/