During the legislative session last year, expansion of school choice was a topic that was brought up during the General Assembly. However, it didn't get a lot of traction largely because the price tag for implementation was far too expensive, particularly in light of the strain it would place on the state budget. The estimated price tag for expansion: a whopping $260,000,000. That's because students who currently attend non-public schools do not receive the per pupil funding that is based on a blend of property taxes and state aid. The basic premise of the plan would have been to allow students who attend non-public schools to receive a voucher or educational savings account equal or close to the amount of dollars received by the public school student. So to suddenly include non-public students in the formula would have been a very tough hill to climb from a budgetary standpoint.
From a state budgetary standpoint it is revenue neutral. From the standpoint of the public school, it is revenue negative. So how revenue negative would it actually be? Well, it depends on how many students we are talking about.
Based on the governor's recommendation of a 1.5% increase to the state cost per pupil for next year, 22 students at Hudson would generate $152,658. By the same token, that 1.5% would generate $56,281 in budget growth. So if this scenario were to play out here, we would be net negative in new revenue approximately $100,000. We would also be in a position where it wouldn't be possible to reduce a teaching position, or in the case of a $100,000 loss in revenue, two teaching positions. While indicating that it is important to give parents a choice, Governor Reynolds also stated in the Des Moines Register Thursday that it's important we have a strong public school system. Creating a system that siphons off revenue from public schools certainly won't do anything to strengthen our public school system.