Private school impacts on a public school's budget?

There’s a kerfuffle in these parts about a private religious school moving into town. There’s a lot more anger about the development in general floating in the background, so it can be hard to discern which complaints have a solid (or potentially solid) foundation.

So assuming for the moment that there are no other complaints, is it possible that building a private school in a town could impact the public school’s budget? For example, could there be certain provisions of the ADA or other act that requires the town to provide xyz services to all schools, public and private? Or is this a likely case of overreaction on the town’s part?

Oh, since jurisdiction is key to most questions like this, it’s in semi-rural New York (but that shouldn’t preclude more general answers).

There’s lots of stuff that the local Board of Education provides to both public and private schools. But you’d be paying for that anyway if the kids attend the public school instead of their private school. So I don’t think the expenditures are behind the kerfluffle.

Hmmm… on rereading your post, I see that I was presuming that the private school’s students are also local residents. I don’t know what happens if the school is local but the kids aren’t.

In any case, the nervousness in these cases usually stems from a slightly different source. The worry is not the expenditures, but the budget. If the school attracts new residents who don’t use the public schools, the new parents might vote against any increases in the school budget. Their perception (right or wrong) is that they don’t benefit from the schools, so why should they vote for tax increases. I have no idea whether such people do actually vote this way, but I’m pretty sure that there is a fear that they might.

I’ve heard arguments on the basic of ‘economies of scale’. Basically stated the more students you can ‘process’ the cheaper it would be per student. This is generally based on the concept of fixed cost + the cost of each additional student. The fixed cost are exactly that, fixed, (stuff like building costs. interest, maintenance, and things like retired teacher pension and benifits (which is actually very large $ amount).

When parents decide to send their children to private school you start really scewing the numbers, with fewer and fewer children in public school the cost per student starts to rise dramatically (as fixed costs do not change), which really has the public schools on the defensive end on justifying why they are so much higher per student then other districts.

Sometimes state or federal funds are linked to the attendance at the school. If kids move from the public schools to the private school then the public school gets less funding. That can be the case even if no state funds go to the private school.

Actually, I don’t know of any state where public funds aren’t tied to the number of students, to the point where a serious flu epidemic or excessive snow days can start messing with school board budgeting.

In addition to sheer numbers, there’s also the concern that private schools skim of the top layer of students and leave the dreck to the public schools. For example, a private school may decide to grab the top 10 percent of the honor students, and not accept any students who need special services, so the public school ends up with the poorer and harder to serve students.

Which also ends up fucking with the public school’s No Child Left Behind stats, as suddenly they’ve lost a chunk of the honors students that would have pulled up their numbers. Fail too badly at NCLB and either you have to voluntarily give up the government funding so you no longer have to test for that (as at least one wealthy suburb in Chicago, Evanston, could afford to do because they rejected the standards laid out) or you start being put in jeopardy due to crappy scores and risk getting shut down.

As I understand it, the Federal Government provides money to every public school in the country.
As I understand it, the amount of money is based on the number of students who attended a certain minimum number of days.
(As I understand it, the length of the school year in most communities is designed to be as close to that minimum number as possible, allowing for a couple of days “out sick”.)

So, if a private school takes a bunch of kids from the public school, the good news is that the town’s contribution comes to more $ per student, the bad news is that the Federal contribution will go down, and some costs do not scale on a per-student basis.

As an interesting aside: I had always wondered how schools decided which religious holidays to close on, especially given the legal problems where the state and religion interface, but I read in an article about the growing muslim population in the DC area that the decision is based on what percentage of students they expect will be absent that day. If that number gets high enough, they close, simple as that. And it makes no difference if the reason is religion or something else, which explains why some schools are closed on the first day of hunting season.

This particular school wouldn’t draw any (or likely very few) current resident’s students. It’s a Hasidic school for a planned Hasidic community that’s moving in. Town is against the influx and trying to stop any aspect, hence opposition to the school. OP was my attempt to start separating real from perceived ills.

The concern about the voting bloc screwing over the public school aside, it sounds like there isn’t a solid base for the claim.

Back when I was in 1-12 with my siblings, this argument about pvt vs public school vs money would come up.

The parents that sent their kids to Parochial Schools which got no money from local, state or federal sources still had to pay all the taxes that went to the schools, even if their children did not. Even people with no children ever have to pay those taxes back then. I am still paying the same rate as my neighbor is & I have never had a kid in school here.

There is a small semi-rural school in a counyt north of Tulsa OK which got the big electric generating plant. Their taxes allowed the to build the big, best equipped school there is in many a mile, county, state & farther because they only had the one school a so got all the tax money allotted to schools in that county.

Many families moved up there, even though it was a big commute just to get their kids in that school where they had a much better education experience. They never lack for very good teachers applications…
Least that was our experience.

You have to look at how your public schools are funded. It used to be that they were funded at the county level by real estate tax money, but it has become more common for states to require real estate tax money collected by the county to be forwarded to the state, which then redistributes it as it sees fit, and with some complicated formula intended to even out the funding situation among school districts. Naturally this takes into account the number of students in the district, so if the population of students in the public school district declines, the state may reduce its contribution.

Of course, the public school district now has fewer students to educate, so their costs have gone down, too, and if you were to assume the state knew what it was doing in allocating the money (e.g. understood the difference between fixed and variable costs), you would trust that the reduction in allocation from the state would exactly match the reduction in costs, with a net effect of zero.

Except that, just as happens here in the UK, the overhead in the town/county education department (the administrators) would stay the same.