A Closer Look at Public vs Private Education in the Conejo Valley

Students in grades 3-8 will take a Common Core assessment.

Many parents consider private versus public schools when it comes time to providing quality education for their children. The districts located within the Conejo Valley are known for both excellent public schools and private institutions, so often it is cost that factors into the equation.

Ian Goldey, Calabasas-based owner of Goldey Capital and board member for The Foudation for Las Virgenes Schools, recently completed a study which offers a cost analysis of the expenses a parent might be exposed to in both educational systems. “More importantly I wanted to examine the true costs a parent would be faced in their decision for public vs. private education,” he wrote in his paper.

Goldey found through his research that it would run parents approximately $700,000 to put a child through private school today–k-12–and this does not include additional expenses needed per child each year. Following the same timeline, it costs just over $5,000 to put a child through public school.


*Reflects the pre-tax dollars needed based on a 39% combined effective rate

“I did this for two reasons,” he said. “First, I wanted parents to understand the significance of how much it costs to put a child through private school. Second, public school is a bargain if you live in a good district. [Comparing the final costs] it’s worth it to pay the higher taxes for a good public school.”

Goldey said his work translates into using a pre-tax dollar amount needed to fund private education because costs are typically not tax-deductible and is funded with after-tax money. Donations to public schools, on the other hand, are often itemized as a charitable deduction.

Goldey compiled his analysis using sampling data from multiple Las Virgenes School District (LVUSD) parents and information aggregated from public information posted on private school websites. The cost factor for public schools is based on the “ask” donation amount. “The ‘Ask’ amount is a suggested donation, not mandatory cost, and request by each school’s parent teacher associations,” he wrote. “Additionally, many public schools’ “Ask” is for a family, not per child, whereas private school is usually on a per child basis.”

According to The Foundation website, California is 49th in the country for per-student funding. “The most generous states spend as much as three times more,” the website reports.

Goldey said he hopes to create an awareness about the benefits of donating money and sending children to local public schools.

The money raised by The Foundation will pay for credentialed classroom teachers and counselors throughout the Las Virgenes Unified School District, which encompasses Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Hidden Hills, Bell Canyon and parts of West Hills, according to Deanna Glassberg, president of The Foundation.

The Las Virgenes district ranks in the top two percent of districts across the state and has been selected for the Advanced Placement Honor Roll for increasing AP scores and the number of students taking the exam, and US News and World Report has ranked both Agoura and Calabasas High Schools as top high schools in the country, according to Dr. Dan Stepenosky, superintendent for LVUSD.

“The parents and community in this region support and value a quality education for their children,” Stepenosky said. “Pound for pound no other district offers the variety of programs, options and opportunities as we do.”

Stepenosky cites examples like the elementary foreign language/dual immersion program, the Sumac STEM program (Science Technology Engineering and Math), a Waldorf-inspired and Singapore Math k-8 school, arts and technology infused into the curriculum, a high school media and entertainment academy, a high school international baccalaureate program and arts program that includes two new performing arts and education centers (in Agoura Hills and Calabasas).

Goldey is planning to research a second paper, this time based on real estate value in the LVUSD communities.

“We’ve got 11,000 children in our district,” Goldey said. “I’m hoping we can funnel local funding into a more efficient, non-partisan manner of distribution.”

Goldey offers the following link to readers interested in his methodology

Private v Public School Table 03_17_2017 (1) 

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