Friday, April 3, 2009

Fiscal crunch? School choice can help

"There is no fiscal reason to eliminate any school choice options currently
available to students and families. On the contrary, an expansion of those
options would very likely yield savings to state and local taxpayers." That's the recommendation of Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West of Harvard's Kennedy School and Eric A. Hanushek of the Hoover Institution in a report prepared last month for the Florida State Board of Education (Sustaining Progress in Times of Fiscal Crisis). The authors write:
The choice alternatives available to Florida's parents appear to reduce rather than add to overall state education costs. Per pupil funding for charter schools is less than at district schools, and charter schools have demonstrated the ability to construct new facilities at a lower cost than traditional districts; courses taken online at Florida Virtual School cost the taxpayer less than similar courses provided by district schools; the McKay scholarship appears to have had salutary effects on public school performance; and those who make use of the corporate tax credit scholarship save the state any per pupil expenditures exceeding their scholarship, which is worth up to $3,950.

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