Thursday, October 25, 2007

DNews: Vouchers "weak to moderate help"

In a copyrighted story in today's Deseret Morning News, vouchers are called a "weak to moderate help" towards fully paying for private school tuition.

Even if voters approve giving $3,000 a year per child in state vouchers to help non-wealthy families pay private school tuition, families would still need another $4,800 or so per child to afford typical annual tuition in Utah.

That suggests that vouchers — the center of this year's biggest election battle — might give many needy families only weak-to-moderate help toward truly affording typical private school tuition. However, vouchers could cover all tuition costs at a few schools at the cheaper end of the spectrum.

That is according to calculations and research by the Deseret Morning News. The figures are similar to state tuition averages calculated by the anti-voucher Utahns for Public Schools.

The DNews nemuber is $7,824. For schools willing to take vouchers now, that number is $7,777. The Numbers that Utahns for Public Schools are using is around $8000.

The Numbers that Parents for Cookies in Education says that number is $4,500. Why is the number so low?

Well, as I have pointed out in that past (see here and here), they eliminated schools with tuition over $10,000.

According to the DNews article, that story has changed.

Leah Barker, spokesperson for PCE, said their calculations only take into account private schools with grades K-8, not K-12.

"We feel that there aren't a lot of private high schools in Utah... and it's most important for children to get a solid foundation and that is going to happen in the beginning years," she said. "We use the K-8 formula because that is where this is going to matter the most ... then (students) could transition to any number of programs in a public high school and their needs would be met just fine."

I don't buy that. It sounds like another bait-and-switch. And really, can you trust what they say?

It goes back to what Shaun said: You can't take what they say with a salt lick.

Also of not from the article:

many private schools could not accommodate many more students if they wanted to take advantage of vouchers to enroll.

For example, the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Salt Lake, the largest private school system in the state with 5,407 students in 14 schools, estimates it has capacity to add only 317 more elementary/middle school students and 373 high school students.

Current capacity at its schools ranges from a high of 101 percent (at both the St. John the Baptist elementary and middle schools in Draper) to a low of 68 percent (at St. Olaf school in Bountiful,) according to data provided by the diocese.


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