Stephen Dyer, a former state legislator in Ohio, keeps track of school choice in his state, which has been a costly disaster for students and taxpayers.

He writes in this post that charters and vouchers are actually more expensive than public schools.

I’ve helped document for years how Ohio’s charter schools and voucher program doesn’t lead to better educational outcomes, while it harms the educational opportunities for the 90% of Ohio students who are educated in local public school districts and leads to greater racial segregation.

However, the pro-privatization folks seemed to always have this in their quiver: At least charters and vouchers are cheaper for Ohio’ taxpayers.

Here’s how the Fordham Institute put it

Even after a massive overhaul of the school funding system, Ohio charter schools are still shortchanged, receiving about 75 cents on the dollar compared to their traditional public school counterparts.

So I decided to check out their claim. And it appears that the state’s charter and voucher programs cost about 5-10% more than it would to just have all those students return to their resident public school district.

That’s right. It’s cheaper for Ohio taxpayers to keep all those charter and voucher students in local public schools. And they’ll do better academically. And we’ll have a more integrated public school system. And kids in public schools won’t have to do with fewer opportunities so privately run educational options can receive public subsidies.

Other than that…

So, let’s see. Students in charter schools and in voucher schools do worse academically than their peers in public schools. And it costs more to fund three school sectors.

Ohio spent more than $1.5 billion on charters and vouchers this year and the cost continues to rise.

So, if you’re keeping score at home, these programs do the following:

  • provide inferior overall student performance
  • limit public school students’ educational opportunities
  • worsen school segregation 
  • cost taxpayers significantly more money than the students would need to be educated their local public school districts. 

Now why is it that Ohio lawmakers keep pouring money into these programs again?