Bryan Caplan  

Implicit Rent and the True Cost of Education Bleg

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As far as I can tell, spending statistics for education do not count implicit land rent as part of the cost of education.  The Digest of Education Statistics' Table 213 for example, states that:
Current expenditures include instruction, support services, food services, and enterprise operations. Total expenditures include current expenditures, capital outlay, and interest on debt.
Construction costs - but not land - should be included in capital outlay.  If the school borrowed money to buy land, that would be counted in debt service.  But otherwise, it sounds like implicit land rent never enters the equation.

Am I right about this?  Please share relevant references.


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COMMENTS (2 to date)
JA writes:

I am pretty sure this is true. Related: in NYC there is a dispute because the city want to bill Charter schools for the use of land and buildings, but they effectively do not bill public schools rent.

Steve Sailer writes:

Exactly, that's a huge issue with many charter schools: not having to pay rent on public property. For example, Birmingham Community Charter High School in the San Fernando Valley comprises an 80 acre campus in a neighborhood where houses on 1/5th acre lots sell for about a half million dollars. Birmingham went charter so it could keep all the money from its lucrative business renting out parts of its huge campus for movie, television, and commercial shoots. It employs two full time workers to interface with the studios.

The Gulen cult of Turkey understands how much money can be made off charter schools, which is why it's the biggest operator of charters in America:

http://takimag.com/article/the_shadowy_imam_of_the_poconos_steve_sailer/print#axzz3DMvSCyLQ

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