In response to the 10/21/14 post, “The Money Follows the Student... A Really Bad Idea for Taxpayers,” an Old School LYS Assistant Superintendent writes:
You didn't even scratch the surface with your post. Every educator needs to send the post to 10 people they know outside of the profession and to their elected representatives. Send that out to everyone. Let the “School Choice” movement be exposed for what it truly is, another subsidy for the affluent.
For those who doubt what a bad idea vouchers and “School Choice” is for taxpayers, I’ll share a snippet of an editorial written by Republican State Board of Education Member, Thomas Ratliff.
In the current education debate over private school vouchers, we often hear the statement, “Let the money follow the child” but we never hear about WHOSE money is following that child.
Today, when a parent takes their child to a private school, the parents pay the school’s tuition. The parents’ money follows the child. Also, many public schools allow students from other districts to “transfer” and attend their school, so the state’s money (and tests, accountability, transparency, Common Core prohibition, etc.) follows the child based on the state’s funding formulas. Under a voucher, or a “taxpayer savings grant” proposal, the money following the child is not quite as simple.
The average cost of educating a child in a Texas public school is $8,500 per year, So, the question is, which taxpayers in Texas pay enough local property or state sales tax, or a combination thereof, to fully fund their child’s education without the aid of their fellow Texans or Texas businesses?
A Texas family must either own a home valued between $800,000 and $850,000 or spend between $100,000 and $150,000 in sales taxable transactions every year, or some combination of the two, to pay enough local property taxes to their school district and/or enough sales taxes to the State of Texas to fully fund their child’s education at a public school. These amounts are PER CHILD. For a family that has more than one child in public school we need to multiply these figures times the number of children.
As you can see, very few families fully fund their child’s public education. So, when we talk about the “money following the child” in this debate, we are really talking about money from taxpayers across the state following somebody else’s child or children. This is really no different for a “taxpayer savings grant” which allows a business to defer taxes it must pay to the State of Texas if that business contributes money for the purpose of funding scholarships for private school vouchers. These are tax dollars that are owed to the state and should be treated with the same accountability and transparency as every tax dollar given to and spent by the government.
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