Idaho's Weekly Journal of Local & National Commentary Week 2815


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by Free Market Duck

Education Taxes

   In 2003, I downloaded over 156 pages of the official Idaho public education expenditures for fiscal year 2001- 2002 and conducted my own audit.

   What did I find out?

   Education costs ranged from $9,500 per student in the Boise school district to $44,000 per student in the Avery school district -- higher than Harvard's $37,000 per year.  Avery school district is spending $572,000 for each child for an Idaho K-12 education.   Hey, send your kid to Harvard, MIT, or Stanford for 13 years.  It's cheaper.

   And that's not counting the cost per student for school real estate.  Total Idaho public school real estate is valued at $65 to $70 BILLION.

   School property value is $2 million per student in Blaine school district, $5.8 million per student in Avery district, $1.3 million per student in McCall-Donnelly district.

   But let's be fair.  Let's say each school building lasts 20 years with no additional maintenance costs.  That's still $100,000 in real estate costs per student every year for 20 years for Blaine school district, $290,000 per year for Avery district, and $60,000 per year for McCall-Donnelly district.  That's in addition to the basic cost per student per year for teaching and admin.  The total cost is $113,222 per student per year for Blaine district, $334,000 per student per year for Avery district, and $69,131 per student per year for McCall-Donnelly district.

   Not adding in the real estate costs or values for public education when comparing per student costs to private student costs is an unfair comparison.  When somebody says it costs $4,000 per student per year to attend Adam Smith Private School, they include the cost for property.  Do this for public education and you will see how much it REALLY costs per student for public education.

   Are there cheaper, more efficient alternatives than spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per student per year for a questionable ISAT-driven, Leave No Child Behind public education?

   How about $1,295 per student, including computer, and logging onto the Internet from home?  Bennett's K12 Inc. is one choice for private education.  There are other free market choices.  (I don't recommend Bennett's K12 Inc -- or any other system -- for charter schools since charter schools are still public schools.)

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