Manchester Ink Link has provided extensive coverage of the impact on Manchester of the new proposed amendment to SB 193. The piece quotes Mayor Joyce Craig, saying,
“Both my husband and I attended Manchester public schools, as did our three children. Our district has some of the best and most dedicated teachers and administration, and I am proud of the work they do every single day,” Mayor Joyce Craig said.
“At a time when we are trying to bring new energy, ideas and programs to our district to help our students prepare for their future, we cannot afford the funding shortfalls associated with SB 193. The uncertainty of revenue loss and the potential for the Manchester school district to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars would be devastating. Decisions like textbooks, bus routes, staffing levels and course offerings would be up in the air at a time when we need to compete to attract students not only from Manchester, but from surrounding towns,” Craig said.
“Every child is different and every parent wants what’s best for their child. I believe in choice when it comes to education, but I do not believe that funding from public schools should be used to support anything other than a public school education,” Craig said.
Manchester is in a category all its own when it comes to the impact of SB 193. There are many private and public school options within reach of Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city. (Public school tuition would be an allowable educational expense under the proposed amendment to SB 193.) So it is inevitable that Manchester, with already low property tax revenue per student, would be ground zero for SB 193 ESA grants.
Fifty seven percent of their students are eligible for FRL, so 216 of Manchester’s 13,000 students could get ESA grants every year.
That’s a big number. Every year in which the maximum number of ESA grants was made to Manchester students, Manchester would lose over $850,000 in state support. That would compound as those ESA students continued in other schools and additional ESA students joined them. Over the first 11 years, if the program were not further expanded, Manchester would have lost $48 million.
That money would come right out of Manchester classrooms and taxpayer pockets.