The real cost of public schooling

Public schools don’t report all spending, writes Alan Bonsteel in the Orange County Register. Reportedly, California spends $6,887 per K-12 student.

It leaves off about $2,000 in big-ticket items, including interest on school bonds, federal aid to education and teacher retirement. California’s real annual per-student spending this year will be about $9,200, or $276,000 per year for a typical classroom of 30.

. . . we are told that “cutbacks” following the 1978 passage of Prop. 13 were responsible for the decline of California’s public schools. In fact, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education, per-student spending in California grew 25.8 percent in constant, inflation-adjusted dollars in the 20 years following Prop. 13.

Nationally, per-pupil spending was $8,032 in 1999-2000, the most recent year available.

California charter schools make do with 70 percent of the funding for conventional public schools, writes Bonsteel, who heads California Parents for Educational Choice. In some states, charters get even less.

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