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This is a key moment to communicate with the House Finance Committee about SB 193, the voucher bill

After months trying to write a version of SB 193 that could gain support, the House Finance Committee Division II subcommittee (here are the members) voted 7-1 yesterday to recommend Interim Study to the full Finance Committee.  On April 25, the full Finance Committee will vote on its recommendation to the full House.  The full House will vote on the bill in the first week of May, probably May 4th.  If the House supports Interim Study or ITL, the bill will be dead for this year. (more…)

Letter to the Monitor: N.H. School Boards Association urges rejection of SB 193

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: (more…)

Concord Monitor: Allenstown Elementary reaches achievement milestone

The Union Leader published a great piece recently about the great job the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School and other New Hampshire schools with limited resources are doing by focusing on the needs of each child (answer: school leadership).  Now the Concord Monitor reports on how Allenstown Elementary moved from “low-performing” to high performing by crafting its own strategy for each child.

Allenstown and Bartlett illustrate how local efforts can more effective for all New Hampshire students than diverting tax money to send a few kids to private schools as SB 193 would do.

Here are some highlights from the Monitor:  (more…)

Keene Sentinel Editorial – Unraveling education: SB 193 offers no additional choice, but would shift tax dollars to private education

The Sentinel gives the bill a complete review: just shifts tax money with no real benefit, the beneficiaries are private schools with no accountability or transparency and the New York nonprofit that would administer the program, the damage SB 193 would do to public school students, the taxes-belong-to-the-parents fallacy…it’s all here:

Senate Bill 193, which would enact “education savings accounts” — essentially a voucher system for parents wanting to remove their children from public schools — is before the N.H. House Finance Committee, where it’s slated to be discussed this week. It’s already passed the Senate on a strictly partisan vote and has the backing of Gov. Chris Sununu.

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Letter to the Concord Monitor: SB 193 is wrong vehicle for school choice

Linda Mattalge of Concord writes in the Monitor today:

Wednesday’s Monitor had a wonderful story about Allenstown Elementary School and the outstanding job it has done to improve its rating with the State Board of Education (Monitor front page, March 28). It is no longer a “focus school” in need of improvement but has actually outperformed state averages in math and reading among its low-income students. Unfortunately, if Senate Bill 193 becomes law, this kind of improvement could be undermined by decreased state funding to focus schools.

The educational savings accounts proposed by this bill would siphon funds to private schools and home schooling. In addition, the standards for the schools receiving these funds are so vague as to be almost non-existent. There is no good way to know if the children utilizing these ESA’s are performing to any reliable standards.

Unlike the children of Allenstown Elementary, they and their parents will be on their own. I understand that school choice is a lofty goal. Unfortunately, SB 193 is not the vehicle for achieving it.

LINDA MATTLAGE

Concord

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

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.

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How do we know the potential impact of SB 193 on New Hampshire property tax rates?

Reaching Higher NH did a full analysis of the community level impact of the new proposed amendments to SB 193 under consideration in the Finance Committee.  As part of that analysis, they ran the numbers for two scenarios to show the potential impacts of participation rates in SB 193: (more…)

Debra Foster letter to the Concord Monitor: Where’s the money for voucher bill coming from?

Debra Foster of Dunbarton wrote a great, thoughtful, short letter to the Monitor in response the the Mary Wilke oped we’ve been linking everyone to.  Ms. Foster said,

Thank you Mary Wilke (Monitor Forum, March 17) for pointing out what the latest reality of the proposed Senate Bill 193 or “Education Savings Accounts” bill really means for each town in New Hampshire.

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Lawmakers recognize the risk in voucher bill, says NHSAA Director

Reaching Higher NH posted this from Carl Ladd, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association:

The bill has been bogged down in the Legislature because the longer House members look at the fine print, the more they recognize this bill has a number of consequences that will do real harm to public schools and to the bottom line of many New Hampshire communities and taxpayers.

Read the whole piece here: Lawmakers recognize the risk in voucher bill, says NHSAA Director

Suzanne Allison letter to the Laconia Daily Sun: Some parents will get to ‘choose’ private school but the rest of us will suffer under SB 193

Here’s a letter to the Laconia Daily Sun, a great 50,000 foot analysis of SB 193 that needs no introduction:

New Hampshire Senate Bill 193 is the “Education Freedom Savings Account.” Whoever created that name must work for an ad agency. Sounds so patriotic and rooted in “American values” — almost brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it? “Choice!” they say. Parents have the right to choose what is best for their child! Well, yes, but if this bill passes, only some parents will get to choose and only at a cost to the rest of the children and their communities.

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