Sununu pushes tighter limits on ESA eligibility in school choice bill


Representatives will be introducing an amendment to SB 193, the universal voucher bill, that tightens eligibility for the program, according to the Concord Monitor:

Gov. Chris Sununu is pushing for an amendment to tighten eligibility for educational savings accounts in a school choice bill – hours before the bill faces a key vote in the House Education Committee.

In remarks at an event touting the bill Tuesday, Sununu said he had requested that Committee Chairman Rick Ladd add an amendment that would narrow the availability of the program to select categories of residents.

Under the latest version of the bill – which passed a recent House subcommittee, 6-3 – students falling under a broad range of categories could qualify for the program, including those who are just starting out in first grade and those whose parents determined that attending public school is not in their best interest.

The amendment championed by Sununu would narrow that range to four categories, Ladd explained at the event: those in families with income at or below 300 percent of the household poverty level; those in underperforming schools; those in an individualized education program; and those who have unsuccessfully applied for tuition assistance at a charter school lottery.

Though some critics have called for a strict income cap at the 300 percent poverty level, Ladd clarified Tuesday that the four eligibility categories would operate independently – as long as a student qualified in one of the other areas, the income level is not necessary.

But Ladd argued the categories are narrowly tailored enough to achieve the same effect.

“Those are not caps as we’d like to see in the traditional mode,” he said. “But they serve to limit and reduce students that are eligible for the program.”

Source: Sununu pushes tighter limits on ESA eligibility in school choice bill | Concord Monitor