Building a Case for sChool ChoiCe: initial results from a survey of north Carolina’s Private sChools
Better inormation about North Carolina’s privateschools is the rst step toward persuading legislatorsand policymakers to increase educational optionsor North Carolina amilies. To this end, the JohnLocke Foundation conducted a survey o NorthCarolina’s private schools to gather and analyzedata on private schools generally not available tothe public. This policy report provides a descrip-tive overview o questionnaire results o NorthCarolina’s private schools, ocusing on privateschool academics, students, personnel, nance, andattitudes toward school choice.
Academic environment and students.
Among questionnaire respondents, the average class sizewas 14 students, and none o the private schoolsreported a class size o more than 30 students.The average private school enrollment was 198students, ranging rom our to 942 students perschool. Furthermore, approximately two-thirds o private schools reported that they served studentswith learning dierences and disabilities, and nearly50 percent o respondents said that they had theability to enroll more students with learning dier-ences and/or disabilities.
The average private school surveyedhad an on-site, ull-time sta o 28. On average,eight sta members per school had primarily non-teaching assignments, while twenty sta memberswere teachers. The average annual salary o a ull-time private school teacher was $26,137.
According to tuition data provided byrespondents, a $5,000 scholarship would cover thecost o the average private elementary day schooltuition ($4,889 average). A $5,500 scholarshipwould cover the cost o the average private middleday school tuition ($5,410 average), and a $6,000scholarship would cover the cost o the averageprivate high school tuition in North Carolina ($5,916average). The average cost incurred by amilies orees and other expenses at North Carolina privateday schools was $403. Recognizing that someamilies have diculty paying or ees and tuition,over two-thirds o all private schools surveyed o-ered nancial aid.
Attitudes toward school choice.
In general, privateschools support increasing school choice optionsor amilies. Over 86 percent o respondents wouldsupport a voucher program that would pay theull tuition amount. None o the private schoolssurveyed would oppose a tax credit program that would cover part or the entire tuition amount.Nearly 85 percent o private schools would support a program that would provide a voucher to theamilies o targeted categories o students.However, the prospect o government interer-ence worried many o the private schools surveyed.Approximately 70 percent o private schools saidthat they would not enroll children whose amiliesreceived public unds i it meant that the statewould increase oversight o their school. Morethan hal o the respondents would not enrollchildren whose amilies received public unds i the state compelled the school to administer stateachievement tests. Schools strongly opposedthe idea o abandoning admissions standards inexchange or enrolling children o amilies whoreceive a voucher or tax credit. Over 70 percent opposed any voucher or tax credit plan that wouldorce schools to abandon religious activities inexchange or public unds.Private religious schools were much less will-ing to accept government regulation or oversight than private schools with no religious aliation.Over 75 percent o religious schools would opposeincreased government regulation in exchange orpublic unds. Over 56 percent o independent schools would oppose additional government regulation in exchange or a voucher or tax credit.While 38 percent o independent schools wouldsupport urther regulatory control by the state,only ten percent o religious schools would agreeto urther government oversight.