NO to SB 193 and HB 647
The most controversial educational issue currently in front of the NH Legislature is that of vouchers. This bill would have a serious impact on our public schools. SB 193, falsely labeled as “Education Freedom Savings Accounts” would establish a full-blown voucher system in NH, taking taxpayer money and placing it in individual accounts for parents to expend at any charter, private or religious school. Money going to these savings accounts are in all practical terms are vouchers. This is taxpayer money dedicated for public education, which is funneled away from public schools and into the private sector, creating subsidies for a small portion of the population and imposing greater burdens on the majority.
SB 193 has passed the NH State Senate and is now headed to the Senate Finance Committee. HB 647, another form of voucher entitled, “Education Freedom Savings Accounts for Children with Disabilities” has passed the NH House and is headed to House Finance Committee for an Executive Session on March 13th. Again, the severe financial impact of this legislation would be to directly divert money sent to local school districts with no replacement funding.
AFT-NH strongly opposes these bills. We are encouraging our members to contact their state representatives and state senators directly. Please visit the Contact Your Legislator area on our website at Contact Your Rep. Personalized letters provide the greatest impact and that’s why we are providing you with some background information to assist you in your letter writing. Short and to the point works well. We know that private school vouchers do not help students. Study after study confirms this. Please review some of the resources we have provided below.
What would SB 193 do?
1. The parent sets up an account per the proposed law and for qualified educational expenses for students ages 3-20. Qualified educational expenses can include private schools.
2. The parents signs an agreement with a “scholarship organization”.
3. Up to 90% of the state adequacy aid per student , which normally goes to the local school district, can be deposited into the individual student savings account. 50% would be available for kindergarten students. Another 5% of the adequacy aid can be provided to the scholarship organization for administration fees resulting in a 95% reduction of the adequacy aid given to a local school district for that one student. State adequacy aid is approximately $3,600 per year.
4. There is no enhanced accountability for the non-public school options.
5. Local school districts would lose this money with no replacement despite having continuing obligations to provide services.
6. Less money to local school districts will increase local property taxes and/or cause significantly reduced local school budgets creating increased class sizes, layoffs and reduction of services to children.
7. Vouchers do not improve student performance.
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