Friday, March 1, 2013

The Truth About Per Pupil Spending

One of the arguments the "Public School Status Quo" folks continue to make is that public schools educate children for far less.  Recently, Round Rock ISD trustee Glenn Colby claimed that public schools are educating children for "$7,000 to $8,000 a student."  I don't know if Mr. Colby is intentionally misleading the public or is just ignorant, but public schools spend far more than $8,000 per student.

The reason folks think that public schools spend so much less is because of the way the spending is reported.  For some enigmatic reason, reported public school per pupil spending does not include 1) capital expenditures (building & construction,) debt service, or employee benefits.  When we include these costs, Round Rock ISD's reported per pupil expenditure of $7,995 rises to $12,339 and in some districts may be more than $18,000.  (To view the Texas Education Agency's AEIS Reports for your district, click here.)

Any private corporation that failed to account for ALL of the costs of doing business would soon be bankrupt, but for some reason public schools are allowed to operate in a fantasy world and grossly underreport costs.  However, if we compare 'apples to apples,' the real cost of a public school education is the same or much more than private schools.  In fact, a recent Cato Institute study showed that public schools spend 93% more than the median private school

Perhaps someone ought to explain to Mr. Colby that private schools determine fees based on all expenses required to operate in the real world.  If he could understand that, then he might realize that his education monopoly isn't such a great bargain after all.  

1 comment:

Alan C said...

God bless all the homeschoolers out there, who educate their children on vastly smaller budgets than either public or private schools. And at great personal sacrifice, for they pay out of pocket, forego a second income, and operate without property taxes or fed dollars.