NH School Choice Bill?

Feb 25, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

This week, the Senate passed SB 193, a "school choice" bill which gives parents of New Hampshire school-aged children who are not attending traditional public schools the option to establish education savings accounts.

The state would fund the accounts with 90% of the amount of per-pupil funding they would otherwise send to public school districts, which totals roughly $3,500 per student. Parents could use the funds to pay for private or charter school tuition, tutoring, transportation, supplies, or a range of other approved education-related expenses.

The bill passed the Senate 13-10, and now heads to the House for further consideration.

Supporters of the bill argue that it would grant parents more options to customize their child’s educational experience, increasing quality, particularly for lower income families. Proponents also believe that by giving parents more alternatives to public schools, it would increase competition and therefore encourage public schools to perform better.

Opponents counter that the accounts would take funding away from the public schools that need it most, as students from struggling or underfunded districts would be most likely to take advantage of the program. They also express concerns about accountability, as the private education vendors chosen by parents may not be held to the same standards as public schools. Some critics also argue the program would unconstitutionally provide taxpayer dollars to religious schools, exposing the state to costly lawsuits.

Do you think NH parents should be granted a portion of state funds to pay educational expenses for private or home-schooled students? Comment below to join the discussion.

UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report on this issue and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.

 

Comments

Phoebe Stone
- Manchester

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 2:43am

I strongly oppose this bill. NH provides a free public education for all children. Parents who choose not to avail themselves of it should not be entitled to spend public funds on alternatives for the following reasons:
1. NH schools severely underfunded. If the state has additional money, it should go to public schools.
2. Charter, private and religious schools are not required to accept children with physical, mental, or emotional challenges or who do not speak English. This bill would greatly increase per pupil costs in public schools.
3. This bill would award state funds to wealthy parents who can afford to send their children to private schools.
4.This bill would support religious schools with public funds which is a violation of the Constitution.

Alberto Moreira
- Nashua

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:38am

As a long time NH resident I strongly oppose this bill. This is not about school choice because a lot of people couldn't exercise that choice. The public system must accept *all* children, so, unless *all* schools accept *all* children - and cannot expel them - this is not a choice. Also, if the scholaship money isn't enough to cover the *full cost* of the choosen school, poor people who cannot afford to pay the difference would be left out of the so-called choice. Real choice would entail the State of NH pay *all* of the tuition to any non-public school while demanding by law that standards for student acceptance are the same as the public school standards. For *all* schools, for *all* students.

Steven Fisher
- fitzwilliam

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 9:28am

I am from new hampshire. I want my grandchildren to have this choice. Pass this law. If, as I keep hearing, it costs over 10000 per student per year in the monadnock region for a student, then if a parent chooses a better choice for their child , gets 3500 voucher and pays the private tuition balance the district should save 6500. Im sure my taxes will not be reduced either way and i pay close to 10000 each year in property taxes. again i support this law and it must include All schools. As for accountability, free choice provides that.

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