Private Schools Can Ease Public School Overcrowding

Click for audio Private Schools Can Ease Public School Overcrowding

Many overcrowded public schools are looking for ways to provide enough classroom space to accommodate exploding student enrollment and parental demands for smaller and more personal classes.

One way is to build more classrooms, but Michigan voters are often reluctant to approve higher taxes to fund expensive school construction projects, even when they’re necessary.

There may be a better way. A survey of Michigan private schools indicates that their existing classroom space could handle over 55,000 more public school students—without piling new costs on taxpayers.

For example, the already-crowded Dearborn district near Detroit experienced a one-year surge of 312 new students while the city’s ten private schools had 644 open seats available—double what was needed to accommodate those students.

Michigan private schools are eager to help: Only eight percent of those surveyed said they would be unwilling to accept more public school students.

Relieving overcrowded public schools can be as simple as encouraging public schools to rent classroom space from private schools, or as comprehensive as providing tuition tax credits to help more families afford nonpublic education for their children—all without costly new building programs.

For the Mackinac Center, this is Catherine Martin.