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Education myth no. 2: Education choice programs defund public schools

Education myth no. 2: Education choice programs defund public schools

Kaitlyn Shepherd
January 12, 2022

These excerpts were taken from “Myth-Educated: Debunking common education choice misconceptions in Idaho.” Read our full analysis online at: https://idahofreedom.org/research/myth-educated/.  

Fact: Giving families money to spend on their children’s education through a choice program does not defund public schools or irreparably harm the remaining students. In fact, forcing families to subsidize public schools their children do not attend takes money from families. 

“Public schools receive funding from federal, state, and local governments. Under education choice programs, public schools continue to receive all local and federal funding despite any loss of students. . . . This means that when a student leaves a public school through a choice program, the school continues to receive the federal and local funding associated with that student, even though the school is no longer educating the student.

Not only would Idaho public schools retain federal and local funding, but they would also likely retain a large portion of the average per-student state spending. . . . Idaho’s education funding formula is complex, and the state does not allocate a set amount of money per student. However, the average per-student spending in Idaho is approximately $9,480 per student. Even if an ESA program allocated only 10% of this funding, public schools would retain 90% of state education funding. This means that schools would retain thousands of dollars per departing student, even though they no longer have an obligation to educate these students.

In reality, forcing families to support public schools that their children do not attend takes money from families. All families are required to pay state and local taxes, and some of this tax revenue goes to support local district schools. Families must continue to pay these taxes even if their children do not attend their assigned district school. In the absence of an education choice program, families may incur double education costs, once to support district schools through taxes, and once to cover the costs of their child’s alternative school.”

Read the full report here.

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