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Union Leader: Public school stakeholders urge lawmakers to reject school choice bill

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On yesterday’s press conference by school administrators, local school boards, teachers and parents opposing SB 193:

Opponents of SB 193 took center stage at the State House on Thursday as representatives from several stakeholder groups in the public education system urged lawmakers to reject the bill….

The bill has undergone several changes since it passed the Senate last year and got bogged down in House committees. It’s now before the Finance Committee, which is not expected to take a final vote on the bill until sometime in mid- to late-April.

Carl Ladd, executive director of the N.H. School Administrators Association, introduced a long line of speakers who said the bill would reduce funding to schools that are already underfunded, and impose particular burdens on property-poor communities, while sending money to private schools that would not have to be accountable for educational outcomes or transparent in their use of taxpayer funds….

Ladd was joined by the head of the state Association of Special Education Administrators, the statewide president of the National Education Association, the vice chair of the Londonderry School District, the executive director of the N.H. School Board Association and the state president of the Parent-Teacher Association.

Barrett M. Christina, executive director of the School Boards Association, said the state has failed to adequately fund public education, and will make the problem worse by channeling money to private schools.

“Rather than diverting scarce tax dollars away from our public school classrooms, we urge the legislature to support improvements in our public schools and meet current funding obligations and promises,” said Christina.

Several speakers raised concerns about the inability of the state to properly account for the use of public funds by private schools, or to intervene if those schools discriminate in admissions or programming.

Private schools will accept public funds but provide “no access to financial records, student achievement data and no say in how the school is run,” according to Megan Tuttle, president of NEA-NH, the largest statewide teachers union.

“The absence of public accountability for voucher funds has contributed to rampant fraud, waste and abuse in current voucher programs across the country,” she said.

Read the full report here: Public school stakeholders urge lawmakers to reject school choice bill | New Hampshire

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