U of A Researchers Find Eliminating Louisiana Voucher Program Would be Costly

A white paper released today, April 19, by a pair of researchers at the University of Arkansas examines the effect that eliminating the Louisiana Scholarship Program would have on education expenditures in the state.

Julie Trivitt, a clinical assistant professor of economics, and Corey DeAngelis, a doctoral student in education policy, conduct research with Patrick Wolf, holder of the Twenty-First Century Chair in School Choice. Wolf directs the School Choice Demonstration Project based in the College of Education and Health Professions at the U of A.

Trivitt and DeAngelis said Louisiana lawmakers have proposed eliminating the school voucher program as a way of saving money. By using Louisiana's education funding formulas, they determined the overall effect of removing the program will be to increase state education expenditures.

"It is true that the state would avoid $41.6 million of spending if the voucher program is eliminated," they said. "However, each current voucher student who returns to a public school increases the local district's necessary education expenditures without increasing the local tax revenue for schools, obligating the state to provide increased funding to the district."

Additional funding would be needed unless at least 13.5 percent of current voucher users stay in private schools and pay tuition out of pocket or through other private means. Trivitt and DeAngelis said this is unlikely because most of the students using the vouchers come from low-income families.

The full paper can be read at the School Choice Demonstration Project website.

Contacts

Heidi Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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