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The Fiscal Consequences of Private School Vouchers

Report documents explosive growth in voucher spending in seven states and its impact on public education

This report – The Fiscal Consequences of Private School Vouchers – by Samuel E. Abrams and Steven J. Koutsavlis documents the massive increase in public spending on voucher programs in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin from 2008 to 2019.

In each state, voucher spending more than doubled. Georgia had an 883% increase. Nearly all the states were diverting hundreds of millions of dollars annually to voucher programs by 2019.

At the same time, the portion of state gross domestic product allocated to K-12 public education in these states decreased, even though public school enrollment generally increased.

The report released by Public Funds Public Schools, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center and Education Law Center, is especially timely. Legislation recently proposed in Florida, Arkansas, and nearly 30 other states across the country would drain billions more of public tax dollars to pay for private education vouchers, often regardless of family wealth and despite research showing vouchers harm student achievement, lack accountability, invite corruption and waste, fail to protect students with disabilities, promote discrimination and exacerbate segregation.

For a state-by-state analysis of school funding, see Education Law Center’s Making the Grade 2022: How Fair Is School Funding in Your State? For an examination of why Southern states must prioritize fair public school spending, see Inequity in School Funding Report from ELC and the SPLC.

Photo credit: iStock

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