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Florida TaxWatch Releases An Update Of The True Cost Of Educating A K-12 Public School Student

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new report by Florida’s premier independent taxpayer research institute of forty years, Florida TaxWatch, provides an update of the true average cost of educating a K-12 public school student in Florida. The government watchdog previously released a similar independent study in March 2017 that considered all categories of expenditures necessary for the operation of public schools.

The most commonly reported per-student spending figures in Florida are based solely on funding provided through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). For the 2017-18 school year, Florida public schools would have spent an average of $7,307 “per student” in FEFP funding. However, Florida TaxWatch cautions that this figure can be misleading. When expenditures like school construction, voter-approved general obligation bonds, preschool programs, debt service, capital outlay, are factored in, the “true cost” of educating a K-12 public school student during the 2017-18 school year is $10,856.

“It is critical that taxpayers have a clear understanding of how much education revenue is available, how that revenue is spent, what it is spent on, the outcome of such expenditures, and the impact on student achievement,” said Florida Taxwatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Taxpayers and policymakers should be able to properly determine whether their state and local K-12 education investments are cost-effective and how they can be constantly improved.”

In addition to the update of the true cost of education, Florida TaxWatch also compared the true cost of traditional district schools to the true cost of charter schools and private school scholarships. TaxWatch estimates the true cost per charter school student for Fiscal Year 2017-18 to be $7,476. The average maximum scholarship available through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which allows children from low-income and working class families to attend private schools, for Fiscal Year 2017-18 is $6,447.

“According to Florida TaxWatch’s analysis, charter schools and private school scholarships provide cost-effective competitive alternatives to traditional district schools,” said Chairman Ronald Brise of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance Accountability Advisory Board. “It’s imperative that parents have a thorough understanding of K-12 funding so they can make informed decisions regarding the educational programs that best meet their children’s needs.”

Read the FULL True Cost of education report here.


About Florida TaxWatch

As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog & taxpayer research institute for forty years, the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch, works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses.

Florida TaxWatch is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit



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