Reasions for Big Spending for Schools
Enrollment Increases: Rise in Per-Pupil Costs
Spending on the education of American young people has been increasing more rapidly than the national income, and all signs point to an even swifter rise in future years. Not only are public schools absorbing larger and larger amounts of tax revenue; repeated boosts in tuition fees also are making it more and more expensive for families to send older children to college. Nearly every major study of educational needs, moreover, indicates that the end is not in sight. Several recent surveys foresaw a demand for double the educational expenditure totals of the mid-1950s within a decade.
The nation already has moved far in that direction. Expenditures for public and private education will total at least $20 billion in the current academic year, compared with $14 billion in 1955–56. Public expenditures for schools and colleges rose from $7.5 billion in 1949–50 to $15.7 billion in 1957–58. A recent Rockefeller Brothers Fund report predicted that expenditures for public education would reach at least $30 billion by 1967.
The President's Committee on Education Beyond the High School has estimated that the over-all cost of higher education (now about $4.7 billion a year) will total $7 billion by 1970. Another study has observed that if present cost trends continue, expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in 1970 will require added revenues equivalent to the yield of a 3 per cent retail sales tax, a two-thirds boost in property tax rates, a rise from 20 to 24 per cent in the basic rate of the federal income tax on individuals, or a doubling of state personal and corporation income tax rates.