Voucher advocates like to make the point that voucher repeal actually costs the State money. I like their point because it’s a two-fer. First, it demonstrates their dishonesty. They know they’re presenting a partial picture, but it’s still a good debating point if they’re speaking to a legislator with a short attention span. And, secondly, it highlights advocates’ fundamental proposal: replace our local public schools with whatever unaccountable private schools happen to be around.
To make this point, they isolate the State budget. For every child who leaves a public school with a $2,.500 voucher, the State keeps $4,200 that would have gone to the school district to help pay for that child’s education. So of course it’s cheaper for the State. (It would be even cheaper if we could get the kids to move away instead of having to give them $2,500 vouchers to entice them to leave.)
Actually, though, when you look at the math at the end of the voucher repeal bill (HB 370), repeal is a great deal for the State and our communities. In the first 3 years, the State gets to keep over $16 million that would have been given away in tax credits that fund bad schools. The State then adds $400,000 to that and sends it all to the school districts to improve local education without raising property taxes.
So by spending a mere $400,000, voucher repeal enables the State to send our communities almost $17 million. Now that’s leverage! How much better a deal could we ask for?