Thursday, October 25, 2007

PCE's fuzzy numbers

From: Voucher funds limited
$3,000 could cover less than half of typical tuition
By Lee Davidson and Tiffany Erickson

Even if voters approve giving $3,000 a year per child in state vouchers to help non-wealthy families pay private school tuition, families would still need another $4,800 or so per child to afford typical annual tuition in Utah.

That suggests that vouchers — the center of this year's biggest election battle — might give many needy families only weak-to-moderate help toward truly affording typical private school tuition. However, vouchers could cover all tuition costs at a few schools at the cheaper end of the spectrum.

That is according to calculations and research by the Deseret Morning News. The figures are similar to state tuition averages calculated by the anti-voucher Utahns for Public Schools.



Anonymous said...

$4,800 is not a lot of money and it would really bridge the gap to help middle class families afford private schools.

Vouchers are the pro-active that enable choice in education for all.

Anonymous said...

$4,800 is not alot of money?

Let's see here, three kids x $4,800 = $14,400. To qualify for the $3,000 you need to not exceed what, $30,000 a year?

$30,000 - $14,400 = $15,600

I guess the better question is which kid to educate.

Paul Mero said...

To the second anonymous...why not a family with ten children or 20 children just to jack up the numbers?

The real question is what does it mean for one child? And the $3000 voucher is a sacrifice but affordable for one child...even two.

When all is said and done, the voucher subsidy (for any number of children) is still less expensive for taxpayers than the subsidy for PUBLIC school children.


John said...

PTM needs to lay off the opium.

Once again he has proved that this flawed law will only benefit those who can afford it already, or those who are willing to leave one or two children in the dust.

Paul Mero said...

If your points mean anything (and they don't except you arrogantly project your views on to those of low-income parents with struggling students) simply means the voucher amount is too low. So we'll be sure to raise it to another level next year. Thanks for the idea.


Anonymous said...

Who is arrogant Paul? I'm one of those parents and I agree with John.

Anonymous said...

"I guess the better question is which kid to educate"

my kid

Cameron said...

Isn't that "average" cost skewed upwards by a few very expensive schools? I've read that a true mean would be much closer to the average voucher amount.

gododgers said...

Mr. Mero

Am I to conclude from your comment that the cost of public education is a subsidy to my children? Funny, I thought I paid taxes for that education and that a free public education was a RIGHT as an American for all. Actually though, Mr. Mero my kids went to and graduated from Waterford, and besides those hefty tuitions, my wife and I pay a lot of taxes but not for a second would we ever feel that our choice should be subsidized with a voucher and I don't know a single Waterford parent that doesn't feel the same way--- WE had a choice--all Utah parents have a choice. Vouchers are not about choice, they are about having your personal choice paid for by someone else--I call that entitlement and as a conservative Republican, how can you live with yourself wanting to beg from the public trough?

gododgers said...


You should read the lead article in today's D-News. It points out critical information about the costs of our private school and concludes that even with the most expensive ones eliminated, the costs are really about $7700--not the "average" that PCE keeps misstating. Better yet, go to several privates schools websites your self and see what they charge and be sure to add in all the mandatory fees on top of the tuition that PCE wants to ignore.

Marlin said...

Gododgers, Correct me if I 'm wrong, but can't Waterford choose not to participate in the voucher program?

gododgers said...


Sure, any school can choose not to but I don't know if waterford has made that decision nor even would--as far as I know they have not been a part of this movement--the voucher amount is meaningless to them their tuition is so high but it is an excellent school--You get what you pay for but our public schools can be just as good and many are.

Paul Mero said...

I am glad you can afford to pay for your own child's education...and that you pay taxes for the education of your neighbor's children. In fact, my wife and I do the same...we have home schooled for 20 years.

The public subsidy point is a result of most Utah families with their children in public school do not pay enough state tax to cover the cost of educating those children in public school. The difference, in fact, is hundreds of millions of dollars.

And I don't think Waterford has chosen to participate in the voucehr program (I know Challenger has not).

Best, PTM

Jeremy said...

Gododgers said:

"Vouchers are not about choice, they are about having your personal choice paid for by someone else--I call that entitlement and as a conservative Republican, how can you live with yourself wanting to beg from the public trough?"

This is a very good question. Be sure to let us know Gododgers if you can find one of those "conservative" voucher supporters willing to answer it and explain why they think it is ok to plunder tax money to pay for this personal choice.

gododgers said...

Mr. Mero

So, are you saying that your opinion is that Utah's parents should be paying more taxes because they are not paying enough to educate their kids ? Maybe that is why Utah is ranked 51st in the amount of funding they give to education yet so many of us are so puffed up with self-pride about how we support "strong family values" etc, etc. I feel that the best way to judge a person's committment to anything is to look at what they are willing to sacrifice and pay for and using that as a measure, I think we are failing miserably and our kids and the future will surely bear that out--given time. But, let's pay for an entitlement for people and give them a voucher rather than really invest our time and political efforts in improving our schools. So if we are not paying enough for education, which we aren't, then maybe one solution is to quit having so many kids that we then expect someone else to pay for. Is that a conservative value? I don't see it practiced much in conservative Utah and I don't think that you at the Sutherland Institute espouse practical family planning do you?

Paul Mero said...

First to Jeremy piggy-backing on Gododgers…regarding the “plundering of tax money to pay for a personal choice”…sending your child to public school is your personal choice that I (and households w/o children, current private school families, and home school families) pay for. Why is it that we should pay for your personal choice?

There is no legal difference or government-funded distinction between paying for a student whose parents have chosen to have that student attend a private school and paying for a student whose parents have chosen for that student to attend a public school – both are subsidized, both are paid for, partially, with tax dollars.

And as a conservative, here is how I can live with myself “begging at the public trough”…I support a voucher program that helps low-income families that don’t have the same choices I have…they are financially captive (and in most cases segregated) to attend their neighborhood PUBLIC school that is failing them at a rate of 43% not graduating with a diploma. Another reason for this conservative to support vouchers is because these monies will be spent anyway…on a system that is failing these 43% of low-income minority students.

The real question is why have you liberals abandoned low-income minority families? Instead of arguing against vouchers as not being a sufficient amount to help poor families, you should be arguing to give them a larger voucher. And why not, it’s not even school fund money?

The liberal answer to everything…every issue…is that people are always the problem. Hence, Gododger complains about all the children in Utah and then immediately moves toward family planning. My liberal friends, people are not the problem, they are always the solution.

Several years ago, the Sutherland Institute laid out a proposal for true education reform in Utah. It begins by setting the societal expectation that everyone try to be self-reliant in education…home school/private school/cooperatives/tutors/mentors…and, second, when you cannot be self-reliant then we have the public school system to fall back on. In this scenario, vouchers make perfect sense. These struggling low-income families need help…only this time the public school system isn’t helping…since we are subsidizing them anyway (at a higher cost) in the PUBLIC school system, why not help them into a new and hopeful situation in a private school?

Again, the ethic invoked is “pay for you and your own.” When you can’t, society helps. In education that means the public school system. When that fails we just don’t give up, we continue to look for solutions. The voucher for low-income families is a potential solution.

Why is that hard to understand and accept?

Oh, yeah, vouchers are for rich people. Frankly, rich people using the public school system are probably paying for their children in the system (Huntsman for instance). The “universal” nature of the voucher law is not for rich people, it’s for middle income people who might be just as likely trapped in their failing public school and who might need a little help creating change for their children…maybe not as much help as low-income families, but some help. And, btw, who are you to say who those people are who need help?

Lastly, you seem to think this is an either/or situation…typical of liberals. Obviously, we can have our public school system and a voucher program.


gododgers said...


You are offensive every time you call someone that doesn't agree with you on vouchers a liberal. What is it with you? Do you think that because you are a conservative that you are so righteous and that God is on your side? It would seem to me that if you look at the track record of so many conservative leaders that they are corrupt, and wicked as well as inept. How do you make excuses for them? Probably the same way you make excuses for so many things. You don't know enough about me to call me a liberal so please don't resort to name calling.

Paul Mero said...

I apologize for catagorizing you unfairly. You're right...I don't like it when I am called a conservative when, at the same time, being lumped in with "corrupt, wicked and inept" people, as you say I am linked to.

I used the word "liberal," even "you liberals," only to portray a mind-set. I am a conservative. In fact, I take great interest in being an authentic conservative. So, please don't take the "liberal" label as a quasi-slander...for me, it's a mind-set that I read into your comments.


gododgers said...

Mr. Mero

I didn't take being called a liberal (when you don't even know me) as a quasi-slander as you put it--because there is nothing quasi about the way you lable people. However--- I am not so sure that being a liberal is such a bad thing, why do you make it out to be such a slander? You have no idea about my religious beliefs or my views about abortion--you only assumed didn't you?!

I would love to have a real discussion with yu about how this voucher program is designed for low-income families. That is one of the many BIG lies voucherites profess. If PCE's real intent was to help low income kids then they would have raised the voucher amount to insure it covered the total cost of tuition and fees of a significant number of the voucher schools so there would not be any need for out of pocket funding by the families at all. Furthermore, they could have done this by limiting the high threshold of income qualification so that those above the poverty level were not eligible--that is the way the Milwaukee vouchers work--(however, they are not really working but that is another problem.)

Another BIG lie is that our Utah public schools are failing these students or even other students. They are not perfect and can make improvements and should always be striving to do so but vouchers are not an alternative. You have to sell the premise that they are failing so people will get caught up in the hysteria that we need a voucher but the truth is you have done a terrible injustice to the thousands of dedicated Utah educators with your false propaganda. And you voucherites do it with a serious, sanctimonious face while professing to really love and care about our public schools. Some of these hypocrites even have said to me they are doing this to make our schools better. BS !! But,for the minority kids that have acadmic needs not being met--where are the programs offered by our private schools that will meet their needs? Where? Where are there private schools in Utah that offer special tutoring or special educ. services or special language services for all these kids that want to flee public schools ? Actually where are all these low income kids even that want to go? If they take a voucher, then by the law, they MUST waive their right to get these special helps and educational services so how is it that vouchers are designed to meet the needs of these kids? HOW ? So who is it that has abandomed the low income kids?
PCE is who !!!

I know for a fact that they could have had a voucher bill passed sooner if they had tailored it to be less broad than it is, but they didn't want to. Probably because most of the principals involved are sponsoring vouchers not so much for academic reasons but for reasons of ideology and their narrow religious perspectives. Vouchers to private schools will make it easeir for them to subsidize their choices to segregate their children from other kids that the parents don't want their kids to have to go to school with. It is this elitist mentality that is the real cancer to me in this whole debate and it is being disguised as concern for the failing kids in low income schools and the need for parents to have a choice.

This elitest-segregationist mentality is what has spurred so many charter schools to start up and we both know how many of them are just waiting for the voucher bill to pass so they can quickly move to be private schools so they can set their curriculum and teach "their truths." Admit it. I am not opposed to that--it is their right-- but I am opposed to using tax monies to give them their way and I am opposed to their tactics to try to get their way by disguising their prejudices.

And your arguement that it is not even Uniform School Fund money--well, to me it dosn't matter a bit that the bill is written to not take the voucher funds from the Uniform School fund--it is still tax money that serves many other basic important needs in the state and it will hurt other programs that are more important than funding a small percentage of peoples choice that they already have anyway.

One last thing, Mr. Mero, it is not that our teachers are failing or that our schools are failing, it is that our parents are failing their kids in this society and the raw material coming in to the schools from our broken families, giving such mixed up messages to their children. Our selfish, materialistic, hedonistic society that does not demand responsibility and accountability makes it so difficult for our teachers to teach academics when so many of the kids first need love and assurance and a feeling of safety and acceptance.

I think that may be one thing we both can agree on so why not work together to shore up our public schools and our parenting skills to create a better raw product coming into the schools rather than deem them failures and try to fund another system that can skim off the cream (just because they are better able to afford) it and leave society even more fragmented between the haves and the have nots?

Anonymous said...

I think its funny that many "against 1" voters say pro voucher people are lying. All you have to do is read the voter's handbook... TADA! The right answer's are in there.

I made the choice to go to public school. My little sister made the choice to go to private school.
Leave the choice to students.

Anonymous said...

But they are liars.