Raleigh: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Wake County Public School System is a comprehensive system with 134 schools serving the entire county. The system is the 2nd largest in the state and the 27th largest in the nation. Since 1981 students have had the option of either attending their neighborhood school or a network of 50 magnet schools, including year-round schools, schools with gifted and talented programs, and schools with other programs, including Montessori, creative arts, extended day, and accelerated studies. Special programs are available for physically and mentally handicapped children. Project Enlightenment targets preschool youngsters who may need some extra assistance. In 2003, voters approved a bond referendum for $450 million to fund the building of 13 new schools, one pre-K center, renovations at 16 schools, and minor repairs at 61 schools.

The following is a summary of data regarding Raleigh's public schools as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 114,092 (2004–2005)

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 84

junior high/middle schools: 28

senior high schools: 17

other: 5 special/optional schools

Student/teacher ratio: 23:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $28,725

maximum: $65,566

Funding per pupil: $5,634

Private school education in Raleigh thrives under many forms, with more than 60 schools in the metropolitan area including church-related schools, preschools, college preparatory schools, a school whose entire curriculum is taught in French, and special institutions for the learning disabled. Nearby Durham is home to the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, a statewide, public, residential high school for juniors and seniors with special interest and talent in the sciences and mathematics. North Carolina is also a leader in home schooling.

Public Schools Information: Wake County Public School System, 3600 Wake Forest Road, PO Box 28041, Raleigh, NC 27611; telephone (919)850-1600

Colleges and Universities

Higher education plays an important role throughout the Raleigh area, which boasts 12 colleges and universities. North Carolina State University (NCSU), with nearly 30,000 students, is the state's largest university. The most popular programs are engineering and humanities/social sciences. Faculty at North Carolina State set a new record in 2003 and 2004 by earning $208 million in external support for research and sponsored programs. In addition, faculty took the initiative to develop and submit proposals for an additional $96.5 million in funding. Meredith College is a Baptist-affiliated women's liberal arts college that offers its more than 2,000 students more than 40 undergraduate programs and four master's programs. The oldest historically African American university in the South, Shaw University enrolls more than 2,500 students. Peace College, a women's college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, offers its 630 students more than 30 two-year associate degree programs as well as 5 B.S. degree programs. St. Augustine's College was founded by the Episcopal Church after the Civil War to educate freed slaves. Today, the school offers four-year curricula to the 1,600 students in its predominantly African American student body. Wake Technical Community College provides vocational programs and two-year associate degree programs in such areas as business computer programming, automatic robotics technology, criminal justice, hotel and restaurant management, and early childhood education to its nearly 50,000 curriculum and continuing education students.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Wake County Public Library operates 18 branches within Wake County. The library has 1.4 million volumes, 52,430 audio materials, 39,248 video materials, and 1,850 serial subscriptions. Special Collections include the Mollie Houston Lee Collection on African American subjects and the North Carolina History Collection. The library system at North Carolina State University's 5 facilities numbers 2.2 million books and more than 18,000 periodicals.

Research Triangle Park near Raleigh-Durham is one of the country's leading centers for high technology research. Its 7,000-acre campus is the largest planned research facility in the world. North Carolina State University is world-renowned for its research in biotechnology, chemical engineering, polymer science, electrical engineering, genetics, and microelectronics. There are many other college-related and independent research facilities throughout the area.

Public Library Information: Wake County Department of the Public Library, 4020 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 27610-2900; telephone (919)250-1200.