Provisions for legislative implementation of progressive school choice

Mark Loewe, Ph. D. Physics, B. S. Physics, B. S. Chemistry, 4 January 2003

These provisions are based in part on a progressive voucher bill drafted by the Texas Legislative Council in 1999.  The funding percentages are unchanged from those that I recommended to Texas legislators in 1991.  The formulas are simple to apply.  Refinements have been omitted for brevity.  Many variants and refinements are worth consideration.

Weighted children.  "Weighted children" means a weighted sum of children in which each child is weighted by his or her funding weight; the funding weight of a child who is not eligible for a special education program (as defined elsewhere in the state's education code) is 1.0 and the funding weight of a child who is eligible for a special education program is given according to instructional arrangement (as defined elsewhere in the state's education code).

Voucher schools.  (a)  A voucher school's primary purpose shall be to provide an appropriate education to each enrolled child.
    (b)  A voucher school shall not discriminate against a child based on religion, race, or sex.
    (c)  A voucher school shall participate in the administration of district wide (or statewide) academic assessment instruments; the voucher school shall promptly provide each child's responses to the child's district (or the state) and parents; the district (or the state) shall promptly provide correct responses and statistical results to the public.
    (d)  A voucher school shall maintain an enrollment of no less than 10 weighted children during it's first year of operation and no less than 20 weighted children during each subsequent year of operation.

Adoption of voucher status by a school district.  A school district may hold elections (as governed by state law) on whether or not to adopt voucher status.  Voucher status is adopted if approved by a majority of the qualified voters who vote in an election held for that purpose.

[Choice of districts for a pilot voucher program.   A pilot voucher program shall be implemented in school districts with populations that sum to 10 percent of the population of the state; the districts shall be those with the highest percentages of support for the pilot voucher program among qualified voters within each district who vote in an election held for that purpose on a specified date throughout the state.]

State funding for a voucher district.  State funding for a voucher district shall be computed as if children who reside in the district and are enrolled in voucher schools on the initiatives of their parents were enrolled in government schools or other instructional arrangements on the initiative of the district, except that children who are enrolled in voucher schools on the initiatives of their parents shall not be used to compute, and shall not benefit from, state funds designated to aid a district with a sparse enrollment in government schools.

Pre-voucher fund.  A voucher district's "pre-voucher fund" consists of all funds received by the district except federal funds designated for a specific purpose and state funds designated to aid a district with a sparse enrollment in government schools.

Post-voucher fund.  A voucher district's "post-voucher fund" refers to district funds that may be used for all purposes authorized under the state education code except for the benefit of children enrolled in voucher schools on the initiatives of their parents.

Monthly allotments for weighted children.  On the first day of each month, September through May, a voucher district shall compute

    G = (0.15 x T)/(Ng + (0.75 x Nv)),

the allotment for weighted children who are enrolled in government schools or other instructional arrangements on the initiative of the district, and shall compute

    V = 0.75 x G,

the maximum allotment for weighted children who are enrolled in voucher schools on the initiatives of their parents, where:
    "T" is the current balance of the district's pre-voucher fund,
    "Ng" is the number of weighted children who reside in the district and are enrolled in government schools or other instructional arrangements on the initiative of the district, and
    "Nv" is the number of weighted children who reside in the district and are enrolled in voucher schools on the initiatives of their parents.

Transfer from pre-voucher fund to post-voucher fund.  On the first day of each month, September through May, a voucher district shall transfer from the pre-voucher fund to the post-voucher fund an amount equal to the product of "G" multiplied by "Ng".

Disbursement from pre-voucher fund to voucher school.  On the first day of each month, September through May, a voucher district shall disburse from the pre-voucher fund to a voucher school an amount equal to the product of "V" multiplied by the number of weighted children who reside in the district and are enrolled in the voucher school on the initiatives of their parents, less an amount as required by the next section.

Private funding reduces a voucher school's public funding.  (a)  Not later than the 15th day of each month, a voucher school shall sum all revenue received from non-government sources during the previous calender month, divide the sum by the total number of weighted children enrolled, multiply the quotient by the number of a voucher district's weighted children enrolled on the initiatives of their parents, and report the product to the district.  Revenue received includes the fair market value of real and personal property donated to the voucher school.
    (b)  A voucher district shall multiply the amount reported by a voucher school under Subsection (a) by 0.25; future disbursements from the district's pre-voucher fund to the voucher school shall be reduced by the product in a manner designed to recover the amount of the reduction in the shortest possible period of time.