Tuition at 31 of Las Vegas’ 34 private schools is less than what CCSD spends per pupil

Victor Joecks

Remember this the next time someone starts talking about “investing in education.” If we are really interested in “investing” in education, let’s put our dollars into the hands of parents who can select schools that are delivering better results for a fraction of the cost of public schools.

Vegas Inc assembled a list of the private schools in the Las Vegas area, and the vast majority of those schools charge less than what CCSD already spends per student.

For this current school year, CCSD is spending $9,152 per-pupil for current expenditures, which excludes debt repayments and capital costs. Twenty-five of the 34 schools* listed by Vegas Inc cost less than that per year. Eighteen of those schools cost less than $7,000 a year.

If you include debt repayments and capital costs (as tuition does for a private school), CCSD is currently spending $12,370 per student. Compared to that amount, 31 of the 34 private schools listed by Vegas Inc are cheaper than what CCSD currently spends per pupil.

This is by no means a perfect comparison. CCSD should have enormous “economy of scale” advantages, and many of the private schools probably fundraise to cover part of their budgets.

What this shows, however, is that if Nevadans are serious about “investing in education,” we need to examine low-cost alternatives and figure out why Nevada has nearly tripled inflation-adjusted, per-pupil spending in the last 50 years while student achievement has remained stagnant.

If we’re really “investing” to get results in education (and not just sending more money into a broken system), it won’t end up costing more.

*Vegas Inc lists 38 private schools, but four did not supply their tuition rates. I excluded them from this list.