Audit of employee associations raises questions

N.C. Association of Educators membership number sees unusual increase

NCAE protests for more funding at the N.C. legislative building in 2020. Photo via A.P. Dillon, North State Journal

RALEIGH — The N.C. State Auditor’s office has released its annual report of state employee association memberships.

The membership counts of employees’ associations was recorded as of Dec. 31, 2021. According to the report the employees’ associations are “responsible for these membership counts.”

The audit report included data on employees associations as follows:

  • State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) – 44,906
  • North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) – 26,204
  • Southern States Police Benevolent Association (SSPBA) – 11,167
  • Teamsters Local 391 6,968 NC Public Service Workers Union (UE Local 150) – 5,734
  • North Carolina Classroom Teacher’s Association (NCCTA) – 3,803
  • Correctional Peace Officers Foundation (CPOF) – 2,899
  • Professional Educators of NC (PENC) – 2,159
  • NC Troopers Association (NCTA) – 1,109
  • Teamsters Local 71 – 32
  • School Bus Driver Association – 27

The membership total reported for the NCAE raises questions about its veracity.

The state auditor’s current report says the NCAE’s membership is 26,204, but during 2019-20, the NCAE had a membership total of 17,154. That’s a 52.75% increase in membership between the auditor’s report and the previous year.

The NCAE, in fact, has refused to turn over its membership numbers to the state auditor for a number of years.

In last year’s audit report of employee association memberships, the state auditor was unable to report a total membership as the NCAE refused to furnish the information. The state auditor’s report was forced to report what data they could find, which turned out to be 5,996 payroll deductions for NCAE dues.

However, the NCAE’s membership appears to have rebounded through a pandemic and after a decade of declining numbers  – but that total may be a sleight of hand by the group.

One possible answer is the NCAE has padded its membership in recent years by including not just active classroom teachers, but also pre-retired, or retired, and aspiring educators per their website.

Additionally, the NCAE website also has a “community ally” membership option for $25. Those memberships can be obtained by family members of public school employees, business owners, community supporters of education, and former public school educators.

North State Journal asked the state auditor’s office for the source or methodology behind the NCAE’s drastic increase but were told “The N.C. Office of the State Auditor’s workpapers and supportive materials related to audits and investigations are confidential pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 147-64.6(d).”

Multiple email requests to the NCAE for a breakdown of the 26,204 members reported by the state auditor have gone answered.

About A.P. Dillon 1130 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_