Monday, October 16, 2006

Cato Policy Report: How School Choice Can Help States Reduce Education Costs

AFPVA has had a busy summer as well, so we also apologize for the light blogging for the past few months. As we hit the road this summer on our Taxpayer Trust Tour to highlight out-of-control state spending, one of the issues that was raised over and over again by AFP members was a concern about K-12 education spending.

Education reform has been a topic of much discussion here on the Cost Cutting Caucus blog (examples here and here), and earlier this month, the Cato Institute released a new policy analysis by David Salisbury, which examines the fiscal benefits that can be gained by implementing school choice programs.

Historically, elementary and secondary education has been the largest item in state budgets. During the past three decades, state spending on public education has grown both in terms of revenues spent per pupil and as a percentage of total personal income. Spending on K–12 education is expected to continue to rise during the next few years, mainly because of the increased number of teachers and other school personnel that will be needed to meet increased enrollment.

In view of the large share of state budgets devoted to public education and the cost increases expected in the future, it is appropriate to ask how state policymakers might reduce the rate of growth of local and state spending on education. One of the most promising means for doing so is school choice. To demonstrate the potential impact of school choice on state budgets, this paper draws from legislative and independent evaluations of the fiscal effects of such programs in the states that have enacted or are contemplating enacting them.

-- David Salisbury, “Saving Money and Improving Education: How School Choice Can Help States Reduce Education Costs” (executive summary)



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