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Union Leader: NH House defeats controversial school choice bill — for now

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For further background on the legislative prospects for SB 193, here are highlights from Dave Solomon’s coverage in today’s Union Leader:

A controversial school choice bill that would have directed some of the state’s education funds to parents for private school tuition failed in the House on Wednesday, despite the strong support of Gov. Chris Sununu and Republican leadership in the House and Senate.

A concern over the potential loss of funds to public schools, cited by Republican Neal Kurk of Weare, chairman of the Finance Committee, was a major issue leading to a 170-159 vote to send the bill, SB 193, to interim study.

“The bill before us shifts a major financial burden onto local property taxpayers, and I wasn’t elected to increase local property taxes,” Kurk said. “Interim study can result in a bill in the future that solves that problem.”

Supporters of the bill said it would give a small number of low-income students a chance to find a better fit for their education, at minimal loss to public school funding….

Majority Leader Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, quickly called for the House to adjourn after the vote, preventing SB 193 opponents from making a motion to preclude future consideration of the bill during the current session.

That means it could be brought up again today when the House reconvenes, by simple majority on a motion made by a member who voted on the winning side, although absent a major change in attendance, the numbers appear to favor opponents.

Sununu, who campaigned aggressively for the bill, called Wednesday’s vote “a loss for New Hampshire children and their families,” and promised to keep working for the concept….

The entire Democratic caucus, with the exception of Rep. Dick Patten of Merrimack, joined 17 Republicans in supporting the Finance Committee recommendation of interim study…..

Read the full story here

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