From Private School to Homeschool?
Source: Bristol Herald Courier
May 18, 2005
Bristol, VA -- Some critics of homeschooling argue that the practice hurts public and private schools.
Public schools get less government funding due to homeschooling, they say.
Virginia and Tennessee base part of their funding formulas on the number of children enrolled in school divisions.
Bristol Virginia’s school system receives about $4,600 per child from the state, which means the city’s homeschoolers cost the system about $130,000 this year.
That doesn’t detrimentally affect schools, though, said Joy Berry, the city schools’ coordinator of student services.
"We have such a small percent," she said. "Really, I don’t think it has an effect."
More students would require more teachers, and that would cost more money, Berry said.
"All of that probably balances out," said Berkley Clear, director of academic operations for Washington County schools.
The county schools, which also receive about $4,600 per child, would gain an estimated $1.02 million by enrolling students taught at home.
School administrators would like to have all county children enrolled in their schools, but they recognize and respect parents’ rights to teach their children at home, Clear said.
School officials do what they can to help homeschoolers, including providing used textbooks and allowing them to participate in driver’s education courses, said John Clark, supervisor of student services for Bristol Tennessee schools.
"We’re hoping we’re going to get them back," he said. "We’d like to have them back in public schools."
Some homeschooling parents believe home instruction has a bigger impact on private schools. Many families who decide to homeschool pull their children from private schools, said Zanna Blankenbeckler, who teaches her two children at home.
She has seen a number of students leave her children’s former private school for homeschooling, she said.
"To be honest, I think that’s where a lot of the new homeschoolers are coming from," Blankenbeckler said.