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Private schools having trouble competing against charter schools – but tax bill expected to help

Teachers unions and defenders of the traditional public school system (who don’t bother sending their own kids there) are fond of bashing charter schools, but these public-private hybrids are posing a greater threat to a much older movement.

Private schools have bled enrollment in the past decade and are resorting to drastic measures to stay afloat, including heavy tuition cuts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

While the lingering effects of the 2007 recession played a role, you can’t ignore the stunning growth of charters, where enrollment tripled between the 2004-05 and 2014-15 school years, according to federal data. They now educate about 5 percent of children in public schools.

Private schools, meanwhile, dropped 14 percent between 2006 and 2016, though enrollment grew 1 percent in the latter.

The tax bill signed into law last month will probably help private schools because of the expansion of the Section 529 savings plan to $10,000, but that’s of no use to low-income families who most rely on private-school education.

A Jewish day school in California, which isn’t on its deathbed yet, is taking a page from charters by ramping up its fundraising right as high earners benefit from the new tax law. It’s also cut tuition by an average of 43 percent for families of elementary- and middle-school students.

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