by Sarah Jane Allen

Excerpt from Issues & Insights:

For rural districts concerned about a loss of funding (leading to potentially a loss of employment), the Senate-passed bill included Amendment 22, which would give small school districts that experience a decline in enrollment $10,000 per student for a period of three years. This $10,000 per pupil allocation is significantly more than the roughly $6,000 the state spends per-student in the first place.

While this funding would phase out, public school districts are more than made whole upfront, while benefiting from smaller class sizes. Enabling greater competition in education will inevitably create more opportunities for new schools — and new employment — even in rural districts.

A more peculiar argument made by opponents of school choice is that rural districts do not stand to gain from it. Regardless of how many current private school options exist in any given district (which, again, inevitably increases if you level the educational playing field) — and regardless of the popularity of the local public school district — basic economics tells us why this is still so important for rural Texans.

As famed supply-side economist Robert Mundell would tell his followers, “the only closed economy is the world economy.” Or, as John F. Kennedy expressed in a similar sentiment, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Rural districts are not closed off from the rest of the state. All Texans benefit from a state with greater access to education geared toward a child’s own individual success.