Expanded school choice, as discussed in Section I, benefits children who move to private schools as well as those who stay in the traditional public school system. To fully encourage these benefits, the constitutional amendment described in Section III establishes a credit "for tuition for education for any resident child attending a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school in this state."
Thus, a credit would be available to a parent sending their child to a private school, or a public school that charges them tuition. We have defined such schools in this study as "alternative schools." Currently, as detailed in Appendix I, there are between 400 and 500 students attending public schools and paying tuition, normally because their resident districts have not chosen to participate in inter-district school choice programs. This compares with about 220,000 private school students and 1.65 million students in traditional public schools. Data on these tuition-paid students is not precise, and we expect the number to decline as more districts adopt agreements allowing public school choice without financial penalties for parents, and as state law changes. The average tuition is also small compared with public school costs; our survey data indicates average tuition of about $470 per year, with the most common tuition amount being $1.
We have not adjusted the figures for tax credits calculated for private school attendees to include these tuition amounts, for three reasons. First, the number of students in this category is so smallless than 1/10 of 1 percent of the public school attendance. Second, the fiscal impact is negligible, as the measurement error in modeling a $9.3 billion direct-cost system exceeds the total tuition paid by students in this category. Third, we expect the numbers in this group to decline.
Thus, figures listed under "alternative school" costs and attendance, unless noted otherwise, are those projected by the model for private schools alone. However, the data and other information on this category of alternative school students are described in Appendix I.