WMUR reported on the House Educationn Committee’s recommendation to pass SB 193, the bill that would create a voucher program in New Hampshire through education freedom savings accounts, on Tuesday:
“It puts parents, to a degree, back in control of their children’s education, and I think that’s important for the parents and children of New Hampshire,” said Rep. Glenn Cordelli, R-Tuftonboro.
The legislation would provide students who want out of public schools with taxpayer-funded scholarships to offset the cost of private school tuition. The latest version of the bill adds more oversight, but opponents said it still represents a major blow to public education and raises questions of constitutionality.
“The issue is whether tax money should, in essence, go to religious schools,” said Rep. Mel Myler, D-Hopkinton.
One point of contention is that the new nonprofit that would be created to administer the scholarships would be paid an amount equivalent to 5 percent of the taxpayer dollars it would manage. Opponents said the money should stay in the classroom.
“The net result of this is public schools are going to continue to lose money in the face of continued state cuts in terms of retirement aid, building aid, stabilization grants, and the impact is on local taxpayers trying to maintain a public school system,” said Barrett Christina of the New Hampshire School Boards Association.
But school choice advocates said the bill would greatly expand educational opportunities for parents whose children struggle in public school settings.
“If their child is bullied or if their child has special needs — and in many cases, those families are looking for an alternative environment — if this bill were to pass, it would give us the opportunity not to turn any families away,” said Kate Baker of the Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire.
NHPR posted the amended bill: