School & District Management Report Roundup

Private Schools

August 25, 2009 1 min read

Spending at private schools is far more varied than among public schools, with variation across the nonpublic sector most closely associated with the schools’ affiliation, a new report concludes.

Furthermore, a ranking of various types of private and religious schools by average spending correlates closely with the relative rankings of their average standardized test scores, says the report by Bruce D. Baker, an associate professor and school finance expert at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. The spending differences also reflect differences in teacher salaries, pupil-to-teacher ratios, and teacher undergraduate preparation.

The report finds that, on average, independent private schools spend $15,000 per pupil, Hebrew schools more than $12,000, and Roman Catholic schools $7,743, based on data from the 2006-07 academic year. U.S. Christian schools identified with one of two major associations, the Association of Christian Schools International and the American Association of Christian Schools, spend $5,727 on average.

The report sees implications for publicly funded voucher programs, noting that current voucher policies are financed at levels that cover the costs at only a select number of private schools, essentially pricing out independent (non-religious) schools and Hebrew schools.

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A version of this article appeared in the August 26, 2009 edition of Education Week

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