Governor Chris Sununu signed SB 8, known as the “Croydon bill,” at the Croydon Village School in Newport on Thursday, according to the Valley News:
Now that Sununu has ratified the legislation, known as Senate Bill 8, towns such as Croydon that lack a public school for certain grades may send their students to nonsectarian private schools and pay the tuition with tax dollars.
After a few remarks — “There’s just a lot of folks who don’t understand the uniqueness of a town like Croydon,” Sununu said — the governor drew a sheet of paper out of a red folder, signed his name, and enjoyed a round of whoops and applause…
Speaking to reporters outside the schoolhouse, Sununu said later that he would support many school choice and wider educational initiatives to follow the Croydon bill: promoting career-oriented schools and programs, expanding funding for charter schools, and introducing educational savings accounts — an initiative often called a “voucher” program that would allow parents to spend their state “adequacy” aid where they prefer, whether it be public school, private or homeschool.
But some have concerns about the constitutionality of the new law:
Brendon Browne, director of government relations for the New Hampshire branch of the National Education Association, predicted that the Croydon bill’s short-term effect would be limited because of the small number of students who could take advantage of it on short notice.
“Longer term, there are serious concerns about the constitutionality of public funds being diverted to private schools,” he said in an email Thursday evening.
“It also has serious problems because it treats students in towns with a public school different from those in a town that doesn’t,” Browne said. “New Hampshire’s Constitution demands equal access to education for all. It will not tolerate two classes of students.”