We’re used to people freaking out whenever states consider creating private educational choice programs. The common refrain goes, “But it will drain money from our already underfunded public schools. It will break our budgets!” There are a lot of problems with the ethos and the pathos of that response worth digging into another day, but on its face, the data doesn’t back it up.
How much do states actually spend on private school choice programs, and how much is that in the context of total public education spending? This post breaks it down for you and ranks the states from highest spending share to lowest.
(For added context, see the national chart in this year’s edition of The ABCs of School Choice (also visible below), and for a refresher on how the calculations are made, see the inaugural spending share post from 2017.)
1. Florida (1)
ESA, Voucher (2), Tax-Credit Scholarships (2) | $1,146.0 million | 3.66% of Florida’s combined program and public K–12 current expenditures |3.25% of Florida’s combined program and public K–12 total expenditures
2. Wisconsin (3)
Vouchers (4) | $378.3 million | 3.49% of Wisconsin’s combined program and public K–12 current expenditures | 2.89% of Wisconsin’s combined program and public K–12 total expenditures