City Taxes, City Spending

City Taxes, City Spending

Essays in Honor of Dick Netzer

Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State–local Finance series

Edited by Amy Ellen Schwartz

An illustrious group of economists contribute to this volume honoring Dick Netzer, the public finance economist well-known for his research on state and local taxation, the provision of urban public services, and non-profit organizations. Following in his tradition, the contributors apply microeconomics to real world problems facing urban areas and use statistical analysis to gain insight into practical solutions.

Chapter 7: The nonprofit sector in K-12 education

Charles T. Clotfelter

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance, geography, cities, politics and public policy, public policy, urban and regional studies, cities

Extract

7. The nonprofit sector in K-12 education Charles T. Clotfelter1 INTRODUCTION This chapter incorporates at least two of the broad topics to which Dick Netzer has devoted his attention, the nonprofit sector and the economics of local government.2 The nonprofit sector, the vast and variegated group of organizations that operate under the beneficial blanket of favorable tax treatment, includes as one of its most prominent subsectors some 27 400 private and parochial schools (1997–8; U.S. Department of Education 2000, Table 5, p.14). The nonprofit sector manifests itself in K-12 (Kindergarten through to 12th grade) education in other ways as well, ranging across extensive volunteer work in both public and private schools, parental support organizations, organizations providing after-school and other services to students and voluntary membership organizations within the schools. To be sure, private schools by any measure are the most important example of nonprofit activity in K-12 education, and for that reason they receive the bulk of attention in the current chapter. In 1999, private schools enrolled some 5.4 million students, representing 17 per cent of all kindergarten students, 11 per cent of all elementary students and 8 per cent of secondary school students. Private schools thus offer an important alternative to the nation’s public schools, one that is available in every metropolitan area and many non-metropolitan communities. Compared to some other subsectors of the nonprofit sector that can be seen as supplementary or complementary to their corresponding public services – such...

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