Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Vouchers are Not Cheaper" Follow-Up

I recently posted a blog taking about how a "vouchers for all" plan would being exorbitantly expensive. I only spoke hypothetically, using the population of one pretend private school within a school district's boundaries to explain my claim. Well, now it is time to work with real numbers. I will use Florida figures to explain this. 

  • How much does Florida spend per pupil? Florida spends an average of $6,357 per student. Florida media outlets report a $6,000 figure while national media outlets report an $8,000 figure. Perhaps the national figures add capital funding, federal money, or local supplements into the mix. To be on the financially conservative side, I will stick with the lower figure of $6,357. 
  • How many of Florida's students are in private schools? There are 339,582 students enrolled in Florida private schools. I am not sure if this figure includes the 24,000 students who are already in Florida's voucher program for disabled students called the McKay Scholarship Program
  • How many of Florida's students are being homeschooled? There are more than 60,000 students being homeschooled in Florida. 

So, if we were to enact a full-scale voucher program in Florida, we would have to give all current private school and homeschool students vouchers first, since the state does not currently allocate money for them. At the current per-pupil rate of $6,357, Florida taxpayers would be liable for an additional $2,540,142,774 in education spending! That's $2.5 billion

Starting such a program today would be daunting financially in addition to the possible controversies that could arise from spending state money on private schools. In a perfect ed former's world, all students would receive a voucher from the state to send to the school of their choice. However, I believe that the astronomical costs of launching such a system is why politicians only limit such programs to students with disabilities and/or low-income parents. They are aware of the costs associated with this and are settling for a lighter version of the program. 

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