The statewide voucher bill, SB 193, has gone through several major revisions since it was introduced last year–each House committee has made substantial changes to the program. According to educators, administrators, and parents, this should be a telltale sign that the bill should fail.
The constant tweaking of a bill that would use public money to send New Hampshire children to private school is further proof that it should fail, a group of school administrators, teachers and parents said Thursday.
“It has been through so many iterations, and there have been so many amendments to this bill that it is almost unrecognizable from where it started, and yet we’re still waiting for another amendment to come forward next week,” said Carl Ladd, executive director of the New Hampshire School Boards Association.
One recent version would reduce subsidies to cities and towns that lose public school students, tighten eligibility requirements and increase accountability for private schools that benefit from the program…
If a child uses a scholarship but then returns to a public school after several months, the public school will be responsible for providing for such services without the money to do so, said Jane Bergeron-Beaulieu, director of the New Hampshire of Special Education Administrators.
“From the lens of special education, Senate bill 193 denies equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities,” she said. “Diverting public funds to private and parochial schools that are allowed to discriminate against students with disabilities is wrong and has a very high potential of being legally challenged.”
Michelle McKinnon, president of the New Hampshire PTA, said the state should do more to support public schools, not less.
“Real school choice means having learning options within our public schools that give parents and educators a chance at unlocking the success story within every child,” she said.