Education tax credit program had a 77% increase in donations last year

The Children’s Scholarship Fund received over $385,000 in funds last year, according to NHPR. That’s a 77% increase over the previous year. 

The scholarship fund gives scholarships to students attending private, religious, or home school programs. Businesses that donate to the fund receive a tax credit to their business taxes equal to 85% of their donation.

The program awarded 178 scholarships last year. Of those, 24 scholarships were awarded to students attending Concord Christian Academy. According to the report, at least a quarter of the students who received scholarships attended either Concord Christian, Laconia Christian School, Bishop Brady High School, or Mount Zion Christian School. Twenty four students were homeschooled.

This year, the legislature is considering several bills related to the education tax credit.

HB 386 would extend the deadline for the program and allow the fund to award scholarships for college courses. During the public hearing for the bill, the fund’s Executive Director, Kate Baker, testified:

“And we prioritize our scholarships based on highest financial need, taking into consideration income and family size,” she said.

Advocates for the tax credit say it allows for greater school choice for those students who may not otherwise afford to attend private schools. But others have concerns. The funds can go to religious schools, which some say is unconstitutional. And, some say that if the program continues to grow, it can harm the public school system and have a negative impact on the state budget. Representative Mary Heath alluded to that last concern at the hearing:

Two other bills, HB 129 and HB 297, would have eliminated the education tax credit program. The House Education Committee motioned to kill both bills.

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