Over 800 New Hampshire community members elected to serve on their school boards are working hard for New Hampshire children while protecting local taxpayers. SB 193 overrides those decisions to send a few children to private schools at the expense of the rest. Here is their letter to the Concord Monitor:
As the Legislature contemplates Senate Bill 193, the New Hampshire School Boards Association offers comments in opposition to this bill.
Fiscal reports conducted by the state show SB 193 will cost tens of millions of dollars over the next decade. SB 193 does not indicate where this money will come from. Fiscal impact studies show that N.H.’s property-poor communities will be hit the hardest, losing millions of dollars in state aid. These communities will undoubtedly see property taxes increase.
History shows that when the state cuts public school funding, local property taxes rise. The state has eliminated or underfunded many fiscal obligations: building aid, reimbursement for special education, reimbursement for Career and Technical Education tuition and transportation, contributions to the NH Retirement System, and “stabilization grants” aimed at helping districts experiencing declining enrollment. As public schools strive to meet the needs of all children, these shortfalls are made up through local taxes.
Our public schools are replete with choices and diversity, offering various courses, extracurriculars, career and technical education, personalized learning, extended learning opportunities, distance learning, internships, clubs, sports, social groups, arts, music and competency-based programs. Real educational choice is alive and well in New Hampshire’s public schools.
SB 193 also ignores accountability and fiscal transparency. SB 193 takes state adequacy aid and diverts that money to private educational programs that are not required to follow state accountability and student assessment requirements, nor is fiscal transparency required.
NHSBA urges all New Hampshire citizens and the Legislature to reject SB 193.
BARRETT M. CHRISTINA
(The writer is executive director of the New Hampshire School Boards Association.)