The title of this post may seem counterintuitive to the many people who have heard over the years the steady drumbeat that charter schools and vouchers are essentially “stealing” public school dollars.
However, the Milton Friedman Foundation has a nice little report that debunks this notion. Check out this section,
“The United States’ average spending per student was $12,450 in 2008-09. I estimate that 36 percent of these costs can be considered fixed costs in the short run. The remaining 64 percent, or $7,967 per student, are found to be variable costs, or costs that change with student enrollment. The implication of this finding is that a school choice program where less than $7,967 per student is redirected from a child’s former public school to another school of his or her parents’ choosing would actually improve the fiscal health of the average public school district. And, it would provide more resources for students who remain in public schools.”
By the way, in Ohio, vouchers and charter schools don’t get local levy dollars. The only thing that goes with a student is that student’s portion of the state funding. That means that the district is often spending more per capita on the students remaining even after factoring in those that choose alternatives.