Union Leader: “‘School choice’ bill hitting head winds”

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SBĀ 193, education scholarships, is a long shot in the House

Dave Solomon’s State House Dome columnĀ reports today that,

Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, was unequivocal about the expected fate of the bill [HB 193, education scholarships] when it comes up for a vote before the 19-member House Education Committee at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be retained,” he said, referring to the process by which the committee decides to sit on a bill and prevent it from going to the House floor for a vote. “There was some hope we could at least get it out of committee, but that now looks unlikely.”

The House Education Committee’s chairman, Rep. Rick Ladd, R-Haverhill, echoed that theme.

“Without amendments, right now, this has a real long shot of passing,” he said. “When you get into the weeds and ask how this money is going to be handled, there is a lot of concern.”… “It’s going to take a lot of work to get this right,” said Ladd. “Every amendment we consider creates problems somewhere else. There’s a good chance it’ll be retained or a study committee will be created.”

Governor ambivalent on the session’s major school choice bill

Dave Solomon reports on his interview with Governor Sununu:

If those predictions hold true, the defeat of HB 193 – at least for now – will take place against the backdrop of a Republican governor who ran on a school choice platform with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, and a school-choice advocate as education commissioner.

Gov. Chris Sununu himself sounds ambivalent about the concept….

“I think when it comes to using state money for schools, and I think a lot of people know I’m a big believer in school choice, that whatever we do, we have to make sure we’re not harming public schools,” Sununu said. “I do have concerns when you start using state funds, whether it be a voucher program – or all the different terms that you want to put for it – to schools of a non-public nature.”…

“I think the point is that you don’t want to jump in too big too fast,” he said. “You have to understand what the repercussions to the public school systems might be and make sure that you’re doing it in steps, so that you understand the pros, cons, negative effects and unintended consequences of any program you put forward.”