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SB 193 grants would probably be concentrated in a few communities

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Reaching Higher NH has presented persuasive and detailed data projecting that ESA grants should not be expected to be evenly used across the State and that property poor communities to be impacted the most.

Data from the 2012 voucher program funded by tax credits (ETC program) bears that out.

There have been 779 ETC grants made in the five operational years of the ETC program (two were attributed to an erroneous zip code). These are grants, not students.  One of the scholarship organizations talks of having served 260 or students. It looks as if the other has served 75.

Starting with Reaching Higher NH data, we have tabulated these grants in a spreadsheet called, The Geography of New Hampshire’s Education Tax Credit Grants. Of the 240 communities analyzed by Reaching Higher NH, we show only those in which ETC grants were made. We have towns in New Hampshire with per pupil valuations ranging from $300,000 to $47 million, though Moultonborough, at $6.5 million, is the highest valuation town to have child receive an ETC funded grant. Hooksett and Laconia are $1.1 million. Concord is $866,000. Nashua is $900,000. Manchester is $745,000.

The table shows that 598 of the 777 ETC grants are to students who come from the most property poor communities, those with less than even $1 million in property valuation per pupil.

This is an extremely high concentration of grant making activity. If only 2% of our current 167,641 NH students got ESA grants, that would be 3,353 students. And if the same proportion came from Manchester as participated in the ETC program, 13% of those ESA students would come from Manchester, meaning that Manchester could lose over 436 students.

That seems like a very high figure but, based on the participation rates in other states and the likelihood, demonstrated by the ETC program, that communities like Manchester would be disproportionately impacted, the figures will probably be higher than that.

If the average ESA student in Manchester merely matched the statewide demographics, the cost to Manchester would be $4,880 per student. The impact on the city would be over $2 million. SB 193 says that the legislature would repay Manchester over $1.5 million while still leaving the city with a $430k loss.

And that is just in Manchester.

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