Land Subsidies in Education

In areas of low population density and low population growth, it is difficult to keep schools open.

In other places there are many schools within a small geographic areas. In some of these places “public” schools serve to transfer wealth from parents to teachers unions. Often times, these union-funding mechanisms compete with charter schools.

But as Steve Sailer points out, the competition is rarely fair. In dense urban and suburban areas, public schools enjoy a land subsidy. While new charter schools must pay market rates for the land and building space they use, older schools are grandfathered in, often paying nothing for the use of their facilities.

Education policy in the United States, of course, is a corrupt area. Teachers unions are the only pigs at the trough, and some folks use the charter school movements to seize this land for their own benefit.

In places where it makes geographical sense, the following should be done to end the land subsidy of teachers unions

  1. Existing public schools (the land and buildings) should be sold off
  2. To make this wealth-neutral for the educational system, the proceeds from these sales should be spent on education
  3. Public schools should bid for land and building space, just like new charter schools have to do.

The teachers strike in Chicago should remind us how dangerous teachers unions are to education. Part of dismantling their power is dismantling their source of wealth. Taking away the teachers unions’ land subsidy is part of the solution.

One thought on “Land Subsidies in Education”

  1. The school that the wife and I work at is in the position. Our campus is beautiful, a former Catholic orphanage that sits on about 4 acres in the middle of the city.
    But it costs us a lot of money. Imagine Schools has some kind of weird land deal going where they have one type of company (Imagine Holdings, or some thing business-y) and then the school organization leases the campus from that organization. Our local paper thinks that it is shady, and I haven’t seen anything that convinces me otherwise.

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