Legislative Budget Assistant’s model of voucher bill predicts sharp losses to districts over time

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According to a Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA) staffer’s report, the impact of the statewide voucher bill (SB 193) goes far beyond the first-year impacts that the adjustment grants are designed to address. Cumulative losses in students and state aid will likely make short-and long-term budgeting difficult, and adds uncertainty to local budgeting processes. 

From the Union Leader:

The LBA estimates that, by the 11th year, 6.3% of the state’s students could be participating, resulting in an $11.8 million loss in the 11th year alone.

While most public school districts in the state would likely lose between 1 percent and 0.5 percent of eligible students, the state’s three largest cities could each lose 2.5 percent a year to private schools.

The reason: supply and demand, according to the analysis. There are more private schools within commuting distance and more demand for their services in the larger school districts.

An earlier version of the bill that passed the House in January promised five years of “stabilization payments” to school districts that lose state funding equal to 0.25 percent or more of the district’s budget.

Under the revision, the state would now pay a “one-time adjustment” of only $1,500 for each student who takes advantage of a scholarship and leaves the district…

That change would ease the financial uncertainty to the state, but adds uncertainty to local school budgets.

“You are going to have a cumulative impact,” said (LBA staffer Michael) Landrigan, “as new kids are added in each successive year. There is no cumulative effect of the one-time ($1,500) payment.”

By the 11th year of the program, about 6.3 percent of the state’s eligible families (about 2,000 students) will be receiving Educational Savings Account scholarships, according to the LBA estimates.

The loss of state funding to the public school districts (not counting public charter schools) would rise from $2.17 million in the first year of the program, to $11.8 million by the 11th year.

Read Reaching Higher NH’s latest analysis of the amended bill here

Source: Legislative budget office predicts cities will take the biggest hit from school choice bill | Union Leader