The full NH House will vote on two School Voucher expansion bills this Thursday, March 9th. We need your help to make sure our legislators understand the out-of-control voucher program should not be expanded in any way. The two bills which would expand the current voucher program are HB 464 and HB 367. Legislators have a constitutional obligation to the 165,000 public school students to make sure that each and every one of them has a fully staffed, well-resourced neighborhood public school.
Currently, the NH voucher program allows state education aid to be spent on private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, enrichment classes, extracurricular activities, and other educational expenses. The private scholarship organization that runs the voucher program keeps 10% of the tax money spent in the program and there is no independent financial or academic accountability. Of the 3200 students currently receiving vouchers, more than 85% were already in private schools or being home-schooled. Currently, the program is capped at families with incomes 300% of the poverty level.
- HB 464 would allow specific groups of students in challenging situations, or any student who lives in the geographic boundary of a school that scored in the lowest percentage on the state testing to join the voucher program. Remember there are no state testing requirements for the voucher program even though tax money is being spent on it!
- HB 367 allows families up to 350% of the federal poverty level to participate in the voucher program. That means a family of 4 with an income of $105,000 can get a voucher to use your tax dollars to help them pay for private school tuition, karate classes, travel soccer or any other education expense the scholarship organization approves.
In case you missed it, you can read the written testimony submitted by AFT-NH on these two bills at the following link AFT-NH President Deb Howes' Written Testimony In Opposition to HB 464 and HB 367.
Action Needed Please contact your Representative before Thursday and ask them to vote Inexpedient to Legislate HB 464 and HB 367.
You can click on the following link to find the contact information for your own state representative.
Once you locate your state representative(s), please send them a quick email.
You may wish to share some of the following points as you ask them to oppose HB 464 and HB 367.
- Our legislature has a duty to fully fund our public schools that serve more than 160,000 children. Expanding the already over-budget voucher program will only increase local property taxes and drain necessary resources from our public schools.
- NH Families need our legislature to focus on fully funding public schools to help ALL students, not spending tax money on just a few kids. House Bills 464 and 367 would significantly expand the already over-budget school voucher plan. This spending on VOUCHERS is out of control and YOUR property taxes are going to go up to fill that hole.
- Our children deserve great public schools and our legislature has an obligation to fully fund local public schools.
More Action Needed
Protect the Education Trust Fund for Public Schools There is also one more bill related to vouchers. Keep public funding in public schools by opposing HB 440. The State Legislature established the Education Trust Fund to fund public school districts in response to prior court cases that found it was not living up to its constitutional obligation to adequately fund public schools. The tax revenue in the Education Trust Fund is only supposed to be used for public schools – it’s pretty simple. The State is currently illegally diverting money from the Education Trust Fund into the voucher program and is being sued over this. You can learn more about this bill by reading written testimony in opposition to HB 440 by AFT-NH President Deb Howe.
Please contact your Representative and tell them that Public Dollars belong in Public School and that every public school student deserves a fully staffed, well-resourced neighborhood public school. Please ask them to vote Inexpedient to Legislate on https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/HB 440. You can use the following link:
Thank you for taking action to protect our public schools.