BY: Citizens Count
This January the New Hampshire House will vote on SB 193, a bill that would allow some students to receive their per-pupil share of education of funding as a scholarship for private school or homeschool expenses.
A private nonprofit would administer the scholarships, with the costs of that administration covered by retaining 5% of the per-pupil funding they receive.
The House Education Committee amendment
The House Education Committee is recommending the House pass an amended version of the bill. First, the amendment limits eligibility to students in the following categories:
- Students in families under 300% of the federal poverty level
- Students attending an under-performing school
- Students receiving special education
- Students who applied for a charter school or tax credit scholarship and were denied
Second, the amendment requires any student receiving a scholarship to complete an annual assessment to ensure academic progress.
Lastly, if enough students leave a school district, the state will reimburse the school for some of the lost state education funding.
(Update 1/3/18: The House passed SB 193 with the committee amendment.)
Arguments for and against SB 193
Supporters of SB 193 argue that parents and students should have the freedom to pursue the best possible educational opportunities with state education tax dollars.
"This is the first step in ensuring that New Hampshire's education system continues to be on the forefront of innovation, giving parents and children the ability to choose the education path that is best suited for them, closing the opportunity gap and opening pathways like never before, regardless of economic status."
Opponents argue that SB 193 weakens the public school system, particularly in low income districts. They also question the ethics of letting a private nonprofit, rather than the state, spend state tax dollars.
According to the nonprofit Reaching Higher NH, which supports public schools, SB 193 could cost public schools up to $6 million in the first year of the program.
Do you support or oppose SB 193? Let us know in the comments below.