October 28, 2008 11:40AM

School Choice Can Fix Fairfax County School District Budget

The Washington Post reports today that the bad economy is forcing budget cuts for the Fairfax County school district. The cuts could include “no cost‐​of‐​living raise for teachers, an increase in class size and elimination of such services as busing to centers for gifted and talented students.”

Consider the fact that Fairfax spends around $16,000 on every student (when you add the goodies they leave out), I’d say it’s about time for a more efficient use of funds.

But if the school district really wants to save big bucks for taxpayers and not even have to increase class size or freeze teacher pay, there’s a sure‐​fire way: education tax credits.

The median tuition at a private school only runs around $4,500. If Virginia allowed tax credits for education, they could save more than $10,000 or every student who switched from public to private school.

A recent Cato fiscal analysis showed that 5 different states could each save billions with a robust education tax credit program.

Maybe Virginia policymakers should turn their attention from haphazard emergency budget cuts to a system of school choice that brings a massive and systemic increase in efficiency and improves education at the same time.