In the UNC School of the Arts, North Carolinians have a rare resource - a public fine arts school that routinely produces talented musicians, actors and the like.
North Carolina is just one of three states with such an institution, New York and Massachusetts being the other two. And while it's hard to argue with the talent created by the school, this question remains: Should such a school, which costs more per student than any other public campus in the state and caters to a small population, be supported by tax dollars?
That's the crux of a question tackled in a new report from the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. In it, author Max Borders questions whether a school that enrolls just 1,161, including 289 high schoolers who go for free, should be a public initiative.
In an accompanying column, the Pope Center's George Leef writes that the school's original purpose when created in 1965 - to help the state "escape the stereotype of being a 'cultural wasteland', " hasn't quite happened.
Put another way: What is the public benefit for North Carolina?
Click here to read the report.