User Charges and the Financing of K-12 Public Education in the United States

47 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 1997

See all articles by Robert W. Wassmer

Robert W. Wassmer

California State University, Sacramento - Department of Public Policy & Administration

Ronald C. Fisher

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems; Michigan State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2000

Abstract

In this paper, we first offer economic arguments in support of greater consideration of user charges to fund public primary and secondary education. Second, to better understand why these economic arguments have not had further influence, a regression analysis shows the factors responsible for the observed variance in public school use of charges across the United States in 1991-92. Measures of matching grant activity, average district size, percentage population of school age, educational attainment, political ideology, institutional restrictions on property tax and fee usage, local tax deductibility, and unaccounted for regional variations all help to explain interstate variation in school district user fees. Based upon the regression findings, we offer suggestions on how to increase reliance on public school user charges. Our review of U.S. school district data from 1991-92 suggests that as much as thirty billion dollars in expenditures on auxiliary services, or about 13 percent of all public school expenditure, could be funded through fees.

JEL Classification: I22, I28, H52

Suggested Citation

Wassmer, Robert William and Fisher, Ronald C., User Charges and the Financing of K-12 Public Education in the United States (February 2000). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=28134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.28134

Robert William Wassmer (Contact Author)

California State University, Sacramento - Department of Public Policy & Administration ( email )

Sacramento, CA 95819-6081
United States
916-278-6304 (Phone)
916-278-6544 (Fax)

Ronald C. Fisher

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States
517-355-2326 (Phone)

Michigan State University - Department of Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States
517-355-0293 (Phone)

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