The Math of Bright Today Educational Choice Scholarships
The infographics below display the net fiscal impact, in the first year, for each of Rhode Island’s 36 school districts as defined by the bi-partisan Bright Today educational choice legislation currently submitted in both the House and Senate.
Each school district in RI receives a unique mix local, state, and federal revenues (funding) for education. Also, every district has its own mix of variable, semi-fixed, and fixed expenses. NOTE that lower-income school districts such Central Falls and Woonsocket receive extremely high levels of state revenues vs local revenues, while wealthier school districts such as Narragansett and North Kingston are largely funded by local revenues.
In summary … if the total amount of Bright Today scholarships provided from a school district is LESS than the cost to educate those students switching to a private educational path, then the school district will actually save money. The Bright Today legislation was crafted to achieve this goal.
Working from the top of the infographic down, based on 2012 data:
- Red area: the projected average and total scholarship amount under both core and grandfather (universal) scenarios*
- Light blue area: projected participation rate for students in the district, as well as the total number of projected scholarships out of the total number of public school students
- Green area: the projected before and after scholarship funding available per student remaining in public schools in the district
- NOTE: all scholarships are paid from the state portion of the district’s funding, with 100% of locally raised tax dollars remaining for local use for education.
- Bar chart area: the before and after revenue and expense projections after universal* scholarships are paid.
- Darker blue band: the net fiscal savings under both core and universal (grandfather) scenarios*. NOTE: in all but 3 school districts, the “core” scenario expense savings are projected to exceed the associated revenue reductions, resulting in positive net savings.
- Light blue area at the bottom: the number of students, residing in the district, who currently attend private schools … and … the amount of savings the public school district already realizes by not having to incur expenses to educate those students. By having more students attend private schools by means of a Bright Today scholarship, school districts will save even more money.
* The “core” scholarship scenario is the part of the legislation making only existing public school students eligible to receive a Bright Today Scholarship. The “universal (or grandfather)” scenario, as included in the 2015 legislation, also provides partial scholarships for students currently enrolled in a private or home school.