Another Look at Utah Education Vouchers---13 Years Hence

I was pretty sure I had this Utah school voucher thingy figured out. And then something suddenly came up. You know those approximately 17,000 students that are currently in the Utah private schools, and that therefore don't qualify for voucher money? In 13 years, they won't be in the private schools anymore, because they will have grown up and graduated. But the generation of students that will have replaced them will qualify for vouchers, and they will likely number many more than 17,000. That means it's going to cost the state a lot more than I thought to implement vouchers. So does that change my opinion on vouchers? It almost does, but I've thought about it, and my opinion remains the same.

Yesterday I was browsing Utah Bloghive, when I came across this post on Jeremy's Jeremiad. He linked to this post on Green Jello, where Pramahaphil got looking more closely at the cost of vouchers and decided to change his opinion and oppose referendum 1. I was taken aback, because they both made a great point that I had never thought of. The state is likely not going to save nearly as much money on vouchers as I thought, and it may even cost the state money. I respect both Jeremy and Pramahaphil, but I still have decided to support Referendum 1.

Since there are about 17,000 private school students who currently don't qualify for vouchers, but in 13 years from now there will be zero of such students, there is a cost to the state of at least $34 million (17,000 students * $2,000) in just the 13th year for this difference. It will likely actually be closer to $50 million (or 25,000 students) it we assume a 25% population growth over that period. Since the state doesn't pay for the private school population now, this figure has to be considered when discussing the cost of vouchers, because in the future they will.

This calls one of the assumptions that I have held for quite some time into question. I have in the past said that I feel that, if Referendum 1 passes, the State should compensate the public schools in some way for every student who chooses to use a voucher--even those who have never used the public schools. The problem with that logic is that the state does NOT pay that extra $34 million currently.

It's hard to make the cost break-even analysis, because we don't know how fast Utah's population will grow in the next 13 years. But to approximate, for this to not be a net cost to the state, 13 years from now, there will need to be a minimum of 34,100 students in the private schools, a figure that is about 9,100 students more than the current trend (assuming constant 2.8% of students in private schools and 25% population growth rate).

So, I take back some of the things I've said about how cost-effective vouchers will be, but I still support them. Two reasons indicate that now is the best time to start the voucher program: (1) Utah's economy is currently very robust, and (2) Utah's school population has grown at a low rate for the past several years. These two factors will not always be. Which is why now is the time to implement vouchers. And which is why we need to encourage a greater number of students to use more cost-efficient private education. If not, if the economy tanks and when public school population begins again to trend upward, I'm afraid we'd be in for a huge tax hike.

So I'm plugging my nose a bit, but I still support Referendum 1. The cost issue as I thought I understood it before is not so rosy, but it can still be if we exceed the break-even point as we work together to encourage more students to choose vouchers. Besides, as I've discussed here before, there are a plethora of other good reasons to support vouchers.

Vote For Referendum 1 on November 6th.


  1. Two things. 1) It's not about the cost; it's about power. Every other issue that is brought up is simply a side show. The fact is that it's about breaking up the edutocracy. 2) All of the financial numbers you cite assume that everything will be the same as it is today. They do not take into consideration the dynamics that will result from vouchers. Indeed, it would be impossible to provide accurate forecasts that could include such considerations.

  2. I predict that private school vouchers won't cost Utah taxpayers anything. Why? Because Referendum 1 is going down in flames, by a 2-1 margin.

    Democracy wins one against the right wing special interests.

  3. Frank,
    I'm taken aback! You never thought of the cost for vouchers for the "non-switchers" after 13 years until you saw Jeremy's and Jesse's posts? I've been telling you the same thing for weeks now! (not to mention craigj, who's been debunking the "voucher savings" myth for much longer.) I guess it sometimes helps to hear it from those you've agreed with more often in the past, huh? ;)

    Anyway, that's about all I have time to post tonight. But I'll be back soon to try to disabuse you of your remaining reasons to vote for Referendum 1. :)

  4. Don,

    That is correct. I was focused in on the earlier concern, of the state having not earmarked the savings back to the public schools. You and Craig may have talked around the issue of the 13th year, but I don't remember if being so plainly stated is what Green Jello, Jeremy's Jeremiad, and this article stated.


    You're right. With all the different dynamics that will occur after vouchers become legal, it's hard to know exactly what will happen. I was just trying to give the anti-voucher folks some rationale why I still think it's a good idea, but it's true that my numbers are nothing better than an educated guess.

  5. My blue face has returned to its normal shade :-)

  6. As an Independent American who despises the Fascist Republicans and the Communist Democrats I do so hope this loses. All it will do is to create more entanglement with private schools so the government can continue to force its established religion of Socialism upon Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and Muslims.

    The faster the education system is exposed for what it is, a church of Socialism, the faster smart religious parents will home school.

    Naturally since I do not pay income taxes and have not for over 29 years, as I do not owe them because they are the second plank of the Communist Manifesto and a violation of the First Amendment, I taught my children to eschew Socialism and now teach them to eschew all government education at all costs.

    Any parent that sends their children to ANY form of government paid for schools is both abusive to their children and thieves that steal tax dollars.

    Brigham Young was right when he opposed government schools.

    Hitler and Stalin supported them. But then of course they would as they promote the Religion of Socialism, Americas New established Civil Religion.

    So send your children to these churches of Satan and Socialism if you want to. For me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

  7. Christopher,

    Big fan of John Birch???

    I'd be fascinated to know where you stand on Would you be willing to share a little more? If not, that's fine. Just very curious.


  8. rmwarnick--one fact check on your post and a question...

    Fact: we live in a constitutional republic NOT a democracy. this is a very important distinction for a myriad of reasons.

    Question: since the NEA is spending at least $3 million on the anti-voucher side is "democracy" really winning or just left-wing out-of-state special interests?

  9. You say "I feel that, if Referendum 1 passes, the State should compensate the public schools in some way for every student who chooses to use a voucher--even those who have never used the public schools."

    Doesn't this defeat one of the purposes of vouchers, which is to make public schools compete for students? Your idea would give schools incentives to drive students away, because then they'd get money for nothing.

  10. Frank, I had my eyes open when I read Green Jellos comments as well. And Don and CraigJ, sorry I didn't notice it either. I will probably still vote for vouchers because of a couple reasons.
    1)When it comes to education I think that quality is essential. Competition between public and private schools will make both sides want to be better than the other.
    2)Like Frank said, we have a flourishing economy right now, lets prepare for the future while we can. It still has the potential to save money.
    I do have a couple issues with them, and admittingly, voting while holding my breath a little bit. If funds are saved they need to go back to the teachers.
    The other, being the cost. One suggestion that I saw somewhere (I can't remember if it was here or Green Jello) is that if students are to be eligible for vouchers they must attend two yrs of public school. That might save on the cost after 13 yrs. What do you guys think?

  11. I was about three lines down from the middle and exactly dead center going left to right. But to me the questions are baloney. They force you into answers that are not your beliefs.

    I do not pay or file Income taxes. I have not for over 29 years now. I do not have a Social Security Number. I do not have ANY state issued licenses although I would not object to a hunting or fishing license but would only get one for an out of state hunter as no SSN is required by 42 USC section 666 like it is for all other licenses.

    I sue the government a lot and I win a lot. I had two 7 to 0 wins in the Nevada Supreme Court in the last three years concerning voting and candidate rights.

    I am pro-life but not no exceptions. I do not support Gay marriage because I do not think the States should issue any licenses for marriage at all. It is a religious union so why is the State involved. No marriage licenses were issued in the USA before about 1850. My son just got married under Common Law in Colorado with no license but a marriage Contract. If was fun.

    I totally oppose the welfare state. I would not force Porn off the internet. I would legalize almost all drugs. But I would also support State religions if that is what the majority with a state wanted.

    States should be VERY different on what they allow. Look at the difference between Utah and Nevada. I like that. Choice is good.

    I am NOT a Libertarian. I believe we should close our borders and I totally oppose free trade as I oppose ANY trade with Slave states like Communist China. I support fair trade. I HATE Fascism, Socialism, Communism and Capitalism.

    Corporations should be taxed more the larger they get. If they are in Two states then the tax should be 1% of their gross. 25 States and it would be 24% of the gross. This would shut down Wal-mart and let the little guy compete. If we got rid of 95% to 100% of small business regulations that would also be GREAT. Huge money creates corruption. It should be stopped as an evil that is as dangerous as any foreign enemy with troops at our shores.

    The Federal Reserve Bank must be closed and its member tried for treason.

    I believe everyone should be able to carry a side arm but that it should not be carried concealed.

    Whatever Cops can carry so can Citizens. If a Cop can go into a Courtroom with a gun then so can a Citizen.

    We the People are the Kings of this nation. But we have become a nation of serfs. Not me. I am a king. A sovereign without subjects just like the Supreme Court said ALL Americans are. I just enforce it against the government.

  12. I just love libertarians. They are like communists. Both completely deny the realities of human nature.

    If people could live together without rules they would.

  13. I know that this is totally off the subject of this post but I had to comment on Christopher Hansen's thoughts. You said, "I HATE Fascism, Socialism, Communism and Capitalism." But just two paragraphs above that you said "...I would also support State religions if that is what the majority with a state wanted."
    Socialism and Communism at its finest--State religion. Besides that, we had a war against a country that our founding fathers left because of state religion a few years back. I wasn't alive but I have read about it, I remember it was a big deal. What was that called...? Oh yeah, the Revolutionary War!

  14. Craig,

    You're right that my idea to compensate the public schools for every private school student would be counterproductive, unless they are not compensated for the entire amount of the amount the state saves by the student switching to the private schools. I'm also trying to suggest a way that we can pay better salaries to our public school teachers in the process of encouraging switching. Maybe if we give them higher salaries, people will dare speak out against those relative few teachers and administrators who aren't doing a good job.


    Good point. I agree. Is Christopher Hansen a real person, or is he an agent provocateur? Some of his statements seem normal (actually only the first comment he made on another article on this site) and then they've become rather strange since then.

  15. Yes. I am a real person.

    If you actually read the Constitutions of the original 13 State you will see that they all have religious clauses except for New York. Many of the original State had State religions. Only the Federal Government was limited by the First Amendment. Note that Congress shall not... It does not read "Congress nor the States shall...

    The 10 Amendment also allows for State religions. No where does the Federal Constitution limit States from having State religions. This was specifically debated in the Constitutional Convention. You should take the time to read it before spewing anti-god dogma and false history.

    I totally agree with you concerning Fascism and Communism as state religions. I have done extensive research on these religions and am currently using them in several legal cases against the Federal and State of Nevada Governments. I have been writing to religious watchdog groups and several professor around the country and they agree that Communism is a State religion.

    But if States cannot have State religions when the majority desire them then you deny those people the right of freedom of assembly. And remember that the freedom of assembly is also the freedom NOT to assemble.

    The Declaration of Independence is clear:
    That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    So if We the People believe that Buddhism will "most likely to effect [our] Safety and Happiness. Then we have the right to establish a government based upon that religion.

    The Founders of this nation declared many times that Christianity was the basic foundation of this nation and the Supreme Court confirmed this many times.

    I am in Nevada. Mormons were not allowed to vote by law here in the early 20th century. We have gambling and legalized prostitution, free flowing booze and almost more strip clubs than churches. In other words we have an established religion of Hedonism.

    The established religion of the USA is Communism as we have established a graduated income tax (2nd plank of the Communist Manifesto) the Federal Reserve (5th plank) and Free anti-religion governemnt schools (10th plank). So we already have an established religion which has replace Christianity (The Supreme Court ruled that America was a Christian Nation in the Trinity case. You cannot have a vacuum. There will be a State religion. It will either be anti-religion or religion but it will occur. Politics does not and cannot exist in a vacuum. This is why I so totally oppose State run schools. They will always teach the State religion.

    In fact the reason polygamy was outlawed in Federal territory of Utah was because the court said that polygamy was like Islam and could not be allowed in this Christian nation. There are several polygamy Supreme Court case on findlaw that demonstrate how the State Religion of Christianity was used to outlaw the Religious practice of polygamy.

    So your beliefs on history and religion in America appear to be influenced by current anti-God propaganda of the State Religion of Communism. I suggest you read the original State Constitutions. They can be found on the AVALON Project from Yale University.

    By the way you will note that I did not say any specific religion should be the state religion or that one should or must be established. I would personally oppose any specific established religion in Nevada.

    Have you ever read the 30 point plan for the Religion of the German Reich? It is so similar to our government schools that it is obviously a plan used by our Fascist government schools.

    All States have established religions even if they deny it. Laws are based upon morals. Morals are founded in your religion. If you have no morals then you still have YOUR religion because immorality becomes your morals. Look at how sexually promiscuous people mock celibate or monogamous people. Look at how Bill Maher mocks all other religions. I always laugh because his religion is nature worship and hedonism. His only god is his penis.


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