I quoted Governor Hassan’s statement about vouchers and charters in this post about the emerging consensus on charter policy, but it’s worth a post of its own. Here is what she said:
….this budget will help encourage innovation by providing funding to allow new charter schools to open and to allow existing charter schools to accept new enrollees.
At the same time, these charter schools have a responsibility to live within their budget, and so this budget sets new parameters and provides authority for the Department of Education to prioritize new charter school approval to underserved communities.
To help pay for these investments, this budget repeals the voucher tax credit that would have diverted millions of dollars in taxpayer money to private and religious schools with no accountability.
So voucher repeal is part of the Governor’s budget proposal. And it is logical that it is paired with charter school funding. Charters can be controversial, but the New Hampshire charter program enjoys pretty broad support because the law and our administration of it have kept charters focused in a way that supplements the traditional public schools. There will probably be strong legislative support for charter funding.
HB 370, the stand-alone voucher repeal bill, has provided an opportunity to fully debate the issue, but the budget process will be a second opportunity to seek repeal. It would be difficult to find the money in this tight budget to fund the new charters, but repeal of the poorly conceive voucher tax credit, as the governor calls it, would be an efficient way to address both issues at once.