Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why do vouchers cost public schools money?

My neighbor and I were carpooling home the other day and talking about vouchers. He was surprised, I think, that vouchers will cost public schools money. I knew that they would (from the voter's guide) but couldn't explain why.

I re-read the voter's guide and here's why.

When a student's parents choose to send that student to private school on a voucher, some of that student's oreo stack (ie dollars) remain in the public school. But some go to the private school. Sure. We've seen the ads we know this.

The catch is that the oreo stack only stays in the public school for 5 years. After 5 years, the oreos just go back into the general fund, or something. Maybe they get dunked in milk?

5 years is a long time in school years for a child. But, in the end, the money still goes away.

1 comment:

Bradley said...

So... you're arguing that public schools lose money because they aren't getting paid to educate a student they haven't seen in five years? Are you saying that isn't fair?

Today, do school districts collect any money for students who attend private schools? If the answer is "no" as I suspect, then schools do better under vouchers than they would otherwise in your scenario.

More importantly, I expect that the growth in student population will more than make up for the students lost to private schools. Aren't schools allocated money based on how many students they have? If their student population keeps growing (even if that growth is slowed by voucher usage), won't their funding stay the same or go up?