The following trends spell further trouble ahead:
The rapid growth of property taxes is squeezing middle class families, whose incomes are stagnant, particularly hard.
- In a state where property owners already pay the highest rates in the country, property taxes in New Jersey increased by their fastest rate in four years in 2015, with landowners shelling out an extra $537 million.
- For the 7th year in a row, 50% of New Jersey residents said they would like to leave the state at some point. More than half cited high costs or taxes, including 24% who blamed property taxes, as their main reason for wanting to move.
Public school costs and pension liabilities continue to rise.
- For the 2013-14 school year, the average total cost per pupil in the state was $19,211 – 1.6 percent higher than the prior year’s average of $18,909. This compares to $11,752 just 10 years ago – an almost 140% increase. E3 believes that non-public school choices can help deliver better results at less cost.
- New Jersey’s public pension shortfall, already one of the worst in the country, grew to $43.8 billion as of July 2015. The Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund had $28.3 billion on hand – about half of its $55.4 billion in liabilities.
- Non-public school choices can deliver better results at less cost.
- Taxpayers are supporting a public school system that is almost double the cost of many private sector alternatives, and delivers poor results, particularly in our poorest districts.
- Members of Christian and Jewish communities and many other concerned parents lament the loss of access to values-based education that reflects parental desires. Increasing numbers of parents of all faiths and income classes also strongly want innovative online and blended learning.
Low educational productivity is a pressing problem, with billions of dollars lost in low-capacity districts.
- The lower productivity, earnings and expenditures of dropouts cost New Jersey more than $700 million annually in reduced tax revenues and more than 57,000 jobs across the state.
- Each year’s class of new dropouts will cost New Jersey $69.5 million per year throughout their remaining lifetimes, or a total of $3.5 billion over 50 years.
School choice can improve public school graduation rates and produce millions of dollars in public savings.
- School districts with more students in private schools have higher public school graduation rates. Increased competition from private schools benefits all New Jersey children, not just those attending private schools.
- The total savings from preventing students from dropping out, over an expected working lifetime of 50 years, would be between $465 million and $956 million.
- These trends are happening at a time with middle class incomes are stagnant and being squeezed more and more. This explains in part why a majority of New Jersey taxpayers favor school choice. Millennials, the exponentially growing generation of parents of current and future school children, are even more supportive of having the right to choose which schooling option is best for their children.