We’ve already addressed some of the false arguments that are raised in the school choice debate: academic accountability, services for special needs students, impact on the public school budget, and the benefits to those not living in failing school districts. Today, let’s look at another false argument that is often thrown about but never sticks. Opponents of parental choice say that vouchers, in the final calculation, will be essentially useless because the amount of the voucher will not be enough to cover non-public schools.
In reality, that is not true. The voucher amount will differ based on state subsidy for the respective school district. Let’s take Harrisburg as an example. This year, the state subsidy to Harrisburg School District is $8,084 per student. Parents could be given a voucher for that full amount or for a portion of that amount, depending on their income (click here to read the specifics of the voucher program). The average tuition at the elementary schools of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is $3,100 and the average high school tuition is about $4,500. And so, you can see that clearly the voucher would cover full tuition at either the elementary or high schools of the Diocese of Harrisburg.
For those who are concerned about the cost of the program, remember that the difference between the state subsidy and the tuition charged would be returned to the state- thus creating a potential savings of thousands of dollars per student. Further, property taxes will remain with the school, so the state is paying less money per student AND the retaining the property tax income.