Alfreida Englund, the Chair of the Stoddard School Board, wrote this letter to the Keene Sentinal opposing SB 193, the bill that would create a statewide voucher program:
On Wednesday, Jan. 3, the N.H. Legislature will vote on Senate Bill 193 — the proposed education bill. If approved, the bill will allow the use of state public funds to pay for private and religious schools.
Separation of church and state has been, and should continue to be, a fundamental principle of state government.
Further, special-needs students could lose their legal protections if they were to transfer to a private/religious school.
And by directing public tax money to private schools, SB 193 would undermine projected income from the state for support of the public school system. Despite claims to the contrary, the cost to the state budget could be over $30 million over the next five years.
We need that money to fund full-day kindergarten in all school districts, and assuring that music, art and physical education, as well as the regular classes of language, math and science, are fully supported. This would be a better use of New Hampshire tax dollars.
Public schools must account for all students’ progress much more vigorously than is required of private/religious schools. Also, financing of these private/religious schools is much less transparent. Now, parents have immediate access to public school personnel and school boards. Parents and the community know where and how taxes are being spent, part of the local control that New Hampshire residents value.
I urge everyone to call their New Hampshire legislators to tell them to vote “no” on SB 193.