Nonpublic schools save the government considerable money each year by providing the same product as public schools – a quality secular education – at almost no cost to the taxpayer. But how much money do the nonpublic schools save the government?
The Center for Communal Research is proud to cooperate with Teach Coalition to provide a conservative answer to this question using the most stringent of economic models for estimating variable costs for public schools. By looking only at “variable costs” we exclude fixed costs such as administration, food service, and building maintenance expenses which – one could argue – the public schools had to spend anyway.
Applying this model to publicly available state and federal spending and enrollment data, we found that:
- The state’s public schools spent at least $16,177 in variable expenditures per pupil.
- Nonpublic schools enrolled 151,216 K-12 students, about 10% of the statewide total.
- In the 2018-2019 alone, nonpublic schools save their local school districts at least $2.7 billion in variable costs. That is $3.5 million per nonpublic school, or $10.7 million per school district.
- In the long run, if nonpublic schools were to shut down en masse, the cost to school districts will be significantly higher than this estimate suggests. Districts would inevitably invest more in fixed building, management, and administration costs to accommodate a larger permanent student body.
Read the report:OU-Taxpayers-Saving-Report-0622