Following several work sessions and revisions, the House Finance Division II Subcommittee held a public hearing on Friday, March 9 on newly-amended version of SB 193, the statewide voucher bill. Note: there have been a significant number of amendments proposed for SB 193, but substantively, the program remains the same–families sign up to receive public dollars to use for private or home schooling. For more information, see Reaching Higher’s latest analysis here.
Here is a look at engagement on the bill during the latest hearing. (Be sure to check out our recap of the full House Finance public hearing in January, where over 200 people came out to testify.)
In Person and Written Testimony
31 people registered to speak or submitted written testimony during the hearing. Of those, 8 expressed their support of SB 193 and 22 stated their opposition.
Those in support (8 total):
- 2 State Representatives (Glenn Cordelli, Carroll-4; Karen Umberger, Carroll-2)
- Children’s Scholarship Fund, the organization that administers New Hampshire’s Education Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and the only organization currently qualified to administer the education savings accounts under SB 193 (should it be enacted into law)
- Ed Choice, a national organization that supports school choice initiatives in states
- Granite State Xion School Association
- 3 private citizens offered testimony in support
Those in opposition (22 total):
- One School board member (from Weare School Board)
- Five School administrators and Superintendents from the following school districts (Kearsarge, Pittsfield, Bow, Manchester, Monadnock Regional)
- New Hampshire School Administrators Association
- New Hampshire School Boards Association
- League of Women Voters
- Citizens for Manchester Schools
- One State Representative (Timothy Horrigan, Strafford-6)
- Ten private citizens offered testimony in opposition
Reaching Higher NH presented a fiscal analysis of the bill as amended, which can be found here, but did not register in support of, nor against, SB 193.
Present But Not Speaking
Many attendees formally registered an opinion on SB 193 without providing testimony. Out of the 49 people who did so, 44 opposed SB 193 and 5 were in favor. Two people did not register an opinion or checked both boxes (support and oppose).
Those in support (5 total):
- House Majority Leader Dick Hinch
- Diocese of Manchester
- Mount Royal Academy, a private Catholic school in Sunapee, NH
- School Choice for New Hampshire
- 1 private citizen
Those in opposition (44 total):
- Two school board members from Manchester and Franklin
- Four school administrators and Superintendents from the following school districts: Laconia, Gilmanton, Franklin, and Alton
- NEA-NH, New Hampshire’s State Teachers Association
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT-NH)
- Four State Representatives (Carol Roberts, Hillsborough-4; Brian Sullivan, Sullivan-1; Patricia Cornell, Hillsborough-18; Mary Heath, Hillsborough-14)
- 32 private citizens
Representative Glenn Cordelli and Kate Baker, Executive Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund, support the program but opposed specific changes made by the amendment that reduced eligibility and the amount of funding for the scholarship organization, as noted in their testimony.
Watch the videos of the hearing here: