Are You Making a Viable Choice?

When you are choosing between schools, you rarely think about the idea of saving money. Rather, you focus on choosing the right programs with the right educational opportunities. Yet, your choice can greatly impact costs of the nation’s educational system. So, the question becomes, are you making a viable choice?

Impact of School Choice

The presence of vouchers and scholarship tax credits has brought in complaints from opponents of school choice that these methods are siphoning money away from public schools. However, this assumption may be wrong because the costs are automatically assumed to be fixed costs instead of variable ones. If the impact of school choice was on the fixed costs of schools, then there would be no effect on the overall cost of education.

Jeff Spalding, the director of Fiscal Policy at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, has made a study that links school choice with variable costs. The study examined 10 schools offering school voucher programs nationwide which actually led to cumulative savings to states of around $1.7 billion in the span of two decades.

Further findings of the studies revealed the following:

  • Vouchers and scholarship programs reduced expenditures in all 10 programs studied by an estimated $4.5 billion. The figures have also factored in assumptions that have not been considered by critics before. This includes student’s eligibility to qualify in spite of already being enrolled in a private school.
  • Costs for the rolled out programs reached $2.8 billion. The expenses were shouldered by the states although costs are apparently much lower than savings made. Considering all things, the programs managed to produce the total stated $1.7 billion savings.
  • The net savings a state makes on voucher programs must factor in what is called a “complicating” factor which is student eligibility. The vouchers offered to students already enrolled in a private school entail costs incurred. However, no corresponding savings for the public school system is recorded. 

With the growing disparity in the demographics of the population, there is a need for education systems to become more effective and efficient financially. The increasing population of the elderly in the next few decades would strain state budgets as more money would be spent on health care and retirement benefits. Because of this, schools will have to compete with hospitals and health care homes for the budget and other resources.

The school choice programs aims to answer this growing crisis in the educational sector by rolling out its large scale school choice programs. So your decision in choosing between schools can have a marginal impact on state costs. In fact, the K-12 education has increased by almost thrice in the last 40 years. Many people have not really considered the huge impact school choice has. So given a chance to help the state save on costs with your decision in choosing primary education, would you make a viable choice for the benefit of the state? Or would your decision still be based on other considerations that do not consider state costs?

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