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What is in the proposed amendment to SB 193 currently under consideration in the Finance Committee?

SB 193 is complex and at the point, it’s hard for most people to know what is in it.  So here are the essential elements. (more…)

SB 193 should be referred for interim study

Everyone involved in the education debate wants what’s best for New Hampshire kids, but SB 193 has turned out not to be the way to do it.

As different amendments emerge, it’s clear that there is no shared vision and no way to pay even for the more targeted program now under discussion. 

The current SB 193 amendment would, according to the LBA, divert $100 million from local public schools over the first 11 years to send 2,000 students to private schools.  A few families would get their choice of schools at the expense of all the rest of New Hampshire’s public school students, but without assurance of greater educational achievement for those children.  (more…)

Finance subcommittee meeting for tomorrow, Tuesday, March 13 has been cancelled. Here is the new schedule for Finance Committee consideration of SB 193

The Finance Division II subcommittee work session scheduled for 1:00 pm Tuesday, March 13 has been CANCELLED. 

Finance Division II and then the full Finance Committee will meet beginning at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, March 14, at the end of which the full Finance Committee will vote on SB 193. 

The full House will vote on SB 193 on March 21 or 22.

The is the time to make your voice heard.  Until March 14, you can email the House Finance Committee (at  Between March 14 and March 21, call your representatives and follow up with an email (get their contact info here if you know who they are and here if you don’t).

What’s wrong with double-dipping, private schools getting paid for the same student by two different voucher programs?

The Education Savings Account grants to be offered under SB 193, the statewide voucher program, are already among the largest in the country.  But the governor and private school advocates in the legislature are fighting hard for even higher grants.  They want to give schools both ESA grants from SB 193 and Education Tax Credit grants from the 2012 voucher bill – for the same student. (more…)

Finance subcommittee chair Umberger has offered a new amendment to SB 193 – the second in a week – but has lost her co-sponsors

There’s been a melee over SB 193, the statewide voucher bill, among Republicans in and out of the Legislature, set off by an amendment released just a week ago.

Developed by Finance Division II chair Rep, Karen Umberger with Reps. Ladd, Kurk and Wolf, the amendment corrected drafting errors, targeted low income students and instituted caps on the number of SB 193 grants that could be made each year in each school district.  It also virtually eliminated state funding for the new voucher program, shifting all costs to the school districts. (more…)

Great Concord Monitor Editorial: “Fight for education at the polls, in court”

There is a wonderful editorial in today’s Concord Monitor urging broad and fundamental support for public education.  The editorial caps great coverage by reporter Lola Dufort, brought to a head over this last week with a piece that dives deep by comparing Pittsfield’s education struggles to what a wealthier community like Bow can provide its students.  Go there and read the whole thing.  If the paywall stops you, subscribe.  This kind of journalism deserves support. (more…)

NHPR: With N.H. Lawmakers Focused Elsewhere, Another School Choice Bill Flies Under The Radar

Here is an edited transcript of NHPR’s reporting on the background of HB 1686, which expands the 2012 voucher program funded by business tax credits by granting tax credits on interest and dividend income: (more…)

Manchester Ink Link: “House committee revises SB 193, downshifts private education costs to school districts”

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.


Is there any state leadership left to speak up for public school students?

New Hampshire’s public school leadership seems to be speaking with a single voice: “Get as many kids as possible out of our public schools and into private schools – regardless of the impact on school quality or property taxes.”

We already know that Governor Sununu is a strong supporter of SB 193, the statewide voucher bill.  He says so at every opportunity.

And Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut has made the bill a front and center priority of his first year in office.  He even wrote a very odd letter to the House Finance subcommittee working on SB 193 lobbying the committee to further expand a bill that is already more damaging to his school districts than any bill in memory.

Now we have Drew Cline, the chair of the State Board of Education, weighing in on the same theme. Mr. Cline has already put himself in a very unusual position.  (more…)

3% is a big number in New Hampshire’s most vulnerable communities

What is it about SB 193 that targets the biggest tax impact to the already struggling school districts in our most vulnerable communities?  It’s the way the district level cap on ESA grants to students in the district.

Although only students in grades 2-12 would be eligible for an ESA grant under the new propose amendment, the total number of ESA grants in each district is year is limited or “capped.”  The number of ESA grants in the larger school districts (over 300 students) is 3% of the total number of students in the district who qualify for free or reduced price lunch (FRL), including all grades.  About 127,000 students in grades 2-12 are in these larger districts.  Another 13,000 grade 2-12 students are spread over the smaller districts. (more…)