School choice could save the state millions

greenville_news

A guest editorial from the opinion page of November 28th’s Greenville News:

Like an awkwardly timed pre-Thanksgiving “Christmas sale,” it starts earlier every year.

Advertisement A small army of handsomely paid public officials and lobbyists begin their slow and steady drumbeat of political rhetoric.

Taking up the unassailable banner of “our children,” they argue for ever-greater spending on public schools. From newspaper opinion pages to the back halls of the Statehouse, they use public money and offices to lobby for even more of the taxpayers’ money.

And each year it has worked. Total spending by local school districts has grown more than 60 percent from 2000 to 2006. This school year, over $11,480 in combined local, state and federal money was spent for each and every child in South Carolina’s public schools.

But next year will be different. It has to be.

The state is already over $100 million behind its revenue projections for just this quarter. With a dramatic and worsening drop in government revenue, there is only one way that state and local lawmakers can sustain — not to mention increase — the enormous per-student spending of South Carolina’s public schools: school choice.

The math is simple.

The districts spend an average of $11,480 per child. A $2,500 state tax credit or scholarship for families transferring to private schools would mean a big cost savings to the state and a huge financial windfall to the districts.

Half of all state spending (and all the local and federal money) is allocated in block grants and large-scale programs. When individual children enter or exit the public school, the total dollars don’t fluctuate. More parents exercising choice would lead to more money per child in the public schools even if state lawmakers froze total state spending at last year’s level.

On the other hand, without some form of school choice, lawmakers can expect to see a sharp and expensive increase in public school enrollment next year as parents with tight family budgets withdraw their children from private schools.

For years, parents in South Carolina have been clamoring for school choice. Low-income and minority parents want something like the HOPE scholarships that grants them access to better classrooms. People of faith want recognition that sending their children to private schools saves taxpayers thousands of dollars per child. Parents of children with special needs want more of a voice in developing a student-specific educational plan for their children. Taxpayer watchdogs simply want competition to streamline a government school monopoly they characterize as wasteful and monolithic.

These arguments are all powerful and heartfelt but in the past certain lawmakers have put the lobbying of bureaucrats before the interests of their constituents.

This year the numbers speak for themselves. School choice will save South Carolina’s public schools millions of dollars, which is ultimately why state lawmakers will adopt it.

Randy Page is president of South Carolinians for Responsible Government.

Advertisements

24 responses to “School choice could save the state millions

  1. Arch Wakefield

    Somehow we must overcome the strangle-hold of the teacher’s unions on the SC school systems. Our children – and our taxpayers deserve it!

  2. Arch Wakefield

    We need school choice thru vouchers.

  3. Pingback: OUTRAGE in McClellanville « The Voice for School Choice

  4. Pingback: Rock Hill: Public Money for School Politics « The Voice for School Choice

  5. Pingback: Senator Lourie learns: School Choice saves public schools money (VIDEO) « The Voice for School Choice

  6. Pingback: Senator Vincent Sheheen talks about School Choice « The Voice for School Choice

  7. Pingback: Thomas White is Smarter than You « The Voice for School Choice

  8. Pingback: School Boards anxious about School Choice (VIDEO) « The Voice for School Choice

  9. Pingback: “Lost Credibility”: Herald Journal Condemns District 7’s Wasteful Spending « The Voice for School Choice

  10. Pingback: Obama slammed on School Choice « The Voice for School Choice

  11. Pingback: South Carolina Education Opportunity Act (S.520) « The Voice for School Choice

  12. Pingback: Sen. Ryberg on South Carolina public schools (VIDEO) « The Voice for School Choice

  13. Pingback: Public School funding plan for South Carolina « The Voice for School Choice

  14. Pingback: Sunshine on Public Schools in South Carolina « The Voice for School Choice

  15. Pingback: Parents are the worst people to bring up children?! « The Voice for School Choice

  16. Pingback: School Choice could save South Carolina $400 million « The Voice for School Choice

  17. Pingback: School Choice introduced in SC House « The Voice for School Choice

  18. Pingback: Senators: School Choice a cash-windfall for public schools « The Voice for School Choice

  19. Pingback: Why Bureaucrats hate School Choice « The Voice for School Choice

  20. Pingback: Parents and papers push for School Choice in SC « The Voice for School Choice

  21. Pingback: School Choice moves to full committee in SC Senate « The Voice for School Choice

  22. Pingback: FL Beancounters: School Choice saves taxpayers money « The Voice for School Choice

  23. Pingback: Chronic illiteracy plagues SC Public Schools « The Voice for School Choice

  24. Pingback: South Carolina public school funding 2009-2010 « The Voice for School Choice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s