Coronavirus has put the brakes on a once booming state and national economy. Today, one in five American workers is currently out of a job and many are asking: when will we return to normal?
With many parents of out a job, some families face the prospect that things might not return to normal. Families might have to move or might no longer be able to afford tuition at a private school. Moreover, a decline in enrollment or private support might force the closure of some private schools. Recessions are always hard on private schools, which frequently see drops in enrollment during hard economic times.
How might public schools be impacted by student migration and coronavirus? That’s the question Edchoice asked in a recent report. The analysis estimated the state and local costs of migrations of 10 and 30 percent of private school students to the public schools. Analyses were run for all 50 states.
So how would such scenarios impact North Carolina? According to the report, the estimated cost of 10 percent of private school students (approximately 10,900 students) transferring to public schools to be almost $64 million dollars. If you include local costs as well, the bill jumps to $90.6 million.
The cost associated with a 30 percent migration is even more eye-popping; a state tab of almost $192 million, and total costs (state and local) of just over $272 million.
Of course, no one knows how many students will transfer when they do there will be costs and schools should try to make that transition for students as smooth as possible.
North Carolina private schools educate almost 110,000. It’s true 9,600 students — or about 9 percent of private school students — receive almost $38 million in tuition awards from the Opportunity Scholarship Program. However the other 91 percent of private school students and their families have to figure out how to pay tuition since the schools they attend receive little if any direct aid from the state. Private schools perform a public service. These schools develop our children academically, morally and socially and provide important educational alternatives for families. North Carolina needs healthy private schools. Lawmakers would do well to remember this and the many contributions these schools make to our communities when they consider how to assist schools impacted by coronavirus.
This article was updated.