When the N.H. Senate passed the school voucher bill (Senate Bill 130), they quickly “tabled” it. Under SB 130, Education Freedom Accounts (EFAs) would be set up for eligible families and funded by the state. Parents could then use this taxpayer-funded money toward their child’s private or religious school tuition, homeschooling expenses and/or other educational costs.
Students must be school-aged residents of New Hampshire, and their family income must fall at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($79,500 for a family of four). New Hampshire has about 40 percent of families in this category.
New Hampshire’s public school districts are already cash-strapped, with an estimated $31 million loss projected over the first five years under SB 130.
One would hope the Senate Finance Committee will seriously consider public opposition to this bill. During a recent public hearing, 3,317 opposed it to 506 who supported it. Also, on May 4, during the Senate Finance Committee public hearing, there were more than 20 people who testified against this bill. Not one person spoke in favor of SB 130.
During this same Senate Finance Committee hearing on May 4, not one person spoke in favor of including SB 130 in the budget bill. This should be a stand-alone bill, not one surreptitiously placed in the budget.
Burying a bill in the budget is not only undemocratic, but the bill is fraught with issues that, if not closely scrutinized on its own, will negatively affect taxpayers for many years to come.