NTU President Adam Marcoux's Letter to House Finance in Opposition to SB 193 (school vouchers)

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January 11, 2018

Honorable Neal Kurk, Chairman

Finance Committee

107 North Main Street

Concord, NH 03301

 

Re: Written Testimony in Opposition to Senate Bill 193

First, I would like to thank Representative Kurk and the Committee for the opportunity to address our opposition to Senate Bill 193, an act establishing education freedom savings accounts for students.

As President of the Nashua Teachers’ Union, I write this letter on behalf of more than 1,000 teachers and with unanimous support of my Board of Directors.  We adamantly oppose any type of education freedom savings account or voucher programs in our state.  This bill would take away state per pupil aid and give it to non-public, unregulated schools.  There is no meaningful accountability for those students that are no longer in public schools, creating a different standard for our students across the state.

This bill would send $3,600 in per pupil aid for general education students, and up to $5,300 for students with differential aid such as Special Education and ELL while the school district would still be responsible for providing those services to students.  Schools being paid for by a tax-funded voucher could choose not to accept students based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.  Our tax dollars could be used to support discrimination. 

Estimates show that if just 1% of the eligible students in Nashua were to receive a voucher, the city would lose more than $400,000 in state per pupil aid that school year.  This bill effectively forces local cities and towns to raise property taxes or to cut programs and staff to make up the difference for lost aid. This is a detriment to many, if not all cities and towns across New Hampshire.  While state stabilization grants would be used to cushion the loss of state aid for public schools, where is the state going to come up with what could be projected to be $31 million dollars in five years to pay for it?  That sounds like a state property tax increase, in addition to the anticipated local property tax increases.

I would respectfully ask that the Finance Committee reject this legislation.  Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Respectfully Submitted,

Adam A. Marcoux

President, Nashua Teachers’ Union