New Hampshire lawmakers have voted to table House Bill 607, which would create a locally-funded school voucher program, at their opening session on Thursday, January 6. Over 600 people opposed the bill at its public hearing in February 2021, and thousands of people wrote letters to their representatives in the days before the vote.
By tabling the bill, lawmakers have paused its progress in the lawmaking process. The bill will remain on the table until lawmakers vote to take it off and act on it.
The bill would create local school vouchers that are directly funded by local school district budgets. The local school vouchers would give parents between $291 and $41,000 per student to use on private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, and other education-related costs.
HB 607 is the next step in the Republican effort to expand privatization in the state. In 2021, Senate Republicans rolled the statewide school voucher program into the state budget despite overwhelming opposition. The program began enrolling students in the fall, and is expected to cost the state $8.1 million in state funds this fiscal year.
School vouchers are a key theme in the 2022 legislative session. There are over 20 bills that would change the state voucher program, including adding accountability and transparency requirements and imposing safeguards for participating students and families, as well as fully repealing the program.