Does School Choice lower the amount of money going to Public Schools?

Bill HaleyUncategorized

The per child expenditure is the most important measure of how much funding a school has. Virginia Beach has about twice the population as Chesapeake, Virginia. Thus, they have twice the student population and twice the budget. A school of 500 students receives roughly the same $6 million regardless of what city, or roughly $12,000 per child. Virginia Beach has roughly twice the schools as Chesapeake.

Therefore, they have twice the buses, teachers, administration, books, cafeterias, gyms, stadiums, and so on. The tax base is twice as big so that the tax rates are similar as well. The big point this blog is trying to make is that if school choice plans take away 10% of the students, the public-school system needs 10% less of everything, thus 10% less in the budget.

Currently those outside the public-school system pay the tax and do not receive the government benefit of a taxpayer funded education. The important point is that those outside public schools SHOULD EITHER be out of the tax base, or receive the benefit of a government funded education at the same dollar level as those in the public-school system in the form of a voucher, or better-yet, an education spending account.

It is wrong for the 90% of students in public schools to receive funding from 100% of taxpayers, while the 10% out of the system receive ZERO funding, while supplying 10% of the education tax base. It is outrageous for those 90% receiving the benefit to complain when the 10% either wants to be exempt from the education tax base OR receive a voucher or other education funding. There are some that don’t want their funding to drop a dime from their $12,000 level when others are receiving ZERO.

Many will complain about fixed costs of a school and worry that enough students and the money that comes with each child will be there to properly fund that school. That complaint is always there, regardless of school choice. Even without school choice, individual Public schools have constant challenges with student enrollment increasing and decreasing. Some schools are overcrowded and others are underutilized. School administration deal with those issues all the time.

The very fixed lines around school districts, or lines around certain schools create some of those problems. Private schools also deal with these problems. Market forces force private schools to deal with those problems by being very dynamic. The structure and nature of government obstructs the dynamic changes needed to deal with changing enrollment populations effectively.

Many growing cities have constant challenges with overcrowding and major spending on new schools. School choice could relieve some of those issues. However, if public schools do see significant enrollment decreases because of choices made by parents, they have many choices. First, they could rent or sell classrooms or whole schools to the growing private school system. The overall (public and private schools) enrollment will stay roughly the same as without school choice.

The same with libraries, gyms, cafeterias, buses, fields, sports, and theaters, among others. The public schools must learn to be very dynamic. Parents have a desire for the greatest academic and overall education for their children. Many options enhance the chances of all children receiving higher quality and better outcomes.