Supply Response to School Choice

Some people writing about education reform and school choice worry about how to supply good schools for kids to choose even if there’s a decent market in education.

Of course, the supply side is just a factor of how free the educational system is. Free enough money, children, and schools and the rest will follow.

It’s already happening in response to Georgia’s new special-needs voucher program:

Johnson led the push for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program, which state lawmakers narrowly passed in 2007.

The program uses taxpayer money to provide vouchers so special education students who attend public schools can go to private schools instead. Modeled after a similar voucher program in Florida, it is designed to give families more schooling options.

Johnson said last week that he expects more private schools to open and existing campuses to expand to meet demand.

Some of the new schools may come from out of state, like the Center Academy opening in Smyrna.

The Florida-based company runs 13 private schools for students with disabilities and is opening its first school in Georgia. The company plans to open six more schools in metro Atlanta the next five to 10 years, said Steven Hicks, vice president of operations.

Hicks and others say Center Academy is the first private school to come to Georgia because of the voucher program.

“I assume others will follow,” Hicks said. “There is a demand for more private schools.”