This is a revision of the post I wrote last night.
Yesterday I was reading some comments at Steve Urquhart's blog and I noticed there seems to be confusion on how much savings there will or will not be from voucher implementation. I spent some time last night writing a spreadsheet model based on certain assumptions (no currently attending private school students could receive vouchers, only students switching from public to private, out of state move ins, and new kindergartners will receive vouchers -- 100% savings per voucher issued) however I realize a large flaw with my assumption due to the fact that many new students (out of state move ins, and new kindergartners) many not have ever gone to public schools without vouchers. As far as my calculations go I don't really see any circumstances where there would not be a net financial benefit to public schools because of voucher implementation, however I haven't figured out how to account for the money that isn't saved due to voucher receiving students who never would have attended public school without vouchers. I would like some help making the model as accurate as possible -- if interested in collaborating or if you just want to access the spreadsheet please email me. If anyone knows how to make a Google spreadsheet open for anyone to view and alter please tell me. The idea with the spreadsheet is that anyone can alter the variables and see the net effect on savings from those changes.
I believe vouchers provide a powerful means of increasing per student spending in state of Utah. By allowing parents the right to take a portion of the money the state was going to spend on their kids for education elsewhere, the remaining funds can be stretched to help increase per student spending on the kids that stay in public school.
I also believe giving taxpayers the right to determine how their tax dollars are used to educate their children is the right move. I don't believe the one size fits all model of education for which most public schools operate is best for all Utah children. Charter schools are a fantastic asset to the state's educational menu. Vouchers provide another menu item for parents to tailor how best to meet the educational needs of their children. Vouchers also can save money for public schools to improve education for public school children.
Utah's public schools are great, I am product of them and I pretty sure that most of my children will be schooled in public school as well. However I believe vouchers are a worthy experiment that can help improve Utah education in many aspects.