Government schools in Jacksonville have more than 5,000 phantom students who may or may not exist.
No one really knows and ordinarily it wouldn’t matter much.
But this year it does.
The state usually estimated what school populations will be in the coming year and then budgets for them. But the budget is adjusted when the schools make actual head counts after school starts.
This year they are sticking with the estimates because of an “emergency order” from the Florida Department of Education.
The problem for taxpayers is that the estimates are way higher than the actual number.
In Jacksonville, taxpayers are paying to educate 5,610 students who are not in the local schools.
They may have moved with their families to another city, are being homeschooled or have enrolled in a private school. No one knows.
But it is a windfall for the schools, and a cost of about $8,000 per student to the taxpayers. So the education establishment is happy.
State Rep. Randy Fine is not. He wants to do something about it, such as cut the extra funding.
“Right now, they have no financial incentive to find them,” Fine said. “In fact, they have a financial incentive not to find them because they get the funding and they don’t have to provide the education.”
An interesting sidelight of the situation is that exposes a Big Lie often spread by both Big Media and Big Education.
They claim that it is an expense to the government schools when students leave to attend private schools.
Obviously, it is not.