North Carolina Governor’s School has received a restoration of $800,000 recurring funding from the North Carolina General Assembly which will allow the school to remain open at both its Salem and Meredith College campuses through 2013 and later years.
The development is the culmination of a three month legislative outreach campaign by students, alumni and supporters of the School. The advocacy followed a $700,000 fundraising effort after the School’s budget appropriation was dropped by the State during 2011. This fundraising allowed the School to open at both campuses on June 17, for a slightly reduced duration five week session that will cater for 550 students (down from 600).
“Governor’s School is a testament to our legacy of educational excellence,” said Roice Fulton, chair of the Foundation’s advocacy effort. “We’re very grateful that the legislature has reaffirmed the value of Governor’s School to students and families across the state.”
The news was greeted with enthusiasms by students at Salem College when Lucy Milner, director of the West campus at Salem, shared the result with her 275 students. Students at the Meredith Campus were equally delighted on hearing of the reprieve from director Michael McElreath.
“We are grateful, relieved, exuberant,” wrote Milner in an email.
The advocacy campaign drew support from citizens across the state and beyond. Over 3,000 people visited the Foundation’s campaign website, saveNCGS.org, and downloaded a packet containing information on how to reach out to their legislators. On May 22nd, the Foundation held its “Day at the Capitol” event, spending the day at the General Assembly meeting with legislators to share testimonials and appeal directly for restoration of the program.
The North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation plans to continue its work to support the School and focus on enabling all qualified students to attend. The School now has a $500 per student tuition fee, introduced following budget cuts in 2010 which has resulting in dwindling attendance from financially disadvantaged students. Student numbers were reduced from 800 to 600. The budget for the school in 2008 was $1.3 million and $850,000 in 2009.
“We hope that the State will consider eliminating that tuition in future years,” Fulton said. However, he stated that the Foundation will continue to raise money for scholarships in the interim. During its 2012 fundraising campaign, the Foundation raised over $40,000 in scholarship funds to help offset the cost of attendance.