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My Letter to my Local Delegation Opposing a Bill Creating Education Savings Accounts

November 1, 2017

I read an article in Monday’s Manchester Union Leader describing a financial analysis done on SB 193 by Reaching Higher New Hampshire, a public school advocacy group in my home state. SB 193, and ALEC inspired bill that created Education Savings Accounts, was introduced in the most recent legislative session but fell by the wayside. The Reaching Higher New Hampshire analysis indicates what the impact of passing this bill would be, an analysis that was NOT done by the Department of Education. The is unsurprising on two counts: the Department has been woefully understaffed for several years; and it is now led by Frank Edelblut, an unabashed advocate of school choice and privatization. While I realize my local delegation will be highly unlikely to support this bill, I felt compelled to write them nevertheless. Herewith is my letter:

To all-

I read with dismay that the House Education sub-Committee voted 6-3 to support SB 193, the bill designed to establish “education freedom savings accounts” for students. This is, to put it bluntly, a terrible bill. Based on my reading, it is difficult to determine how the bill would affect students whose parents are paying for their children to attend a private school. For example, would a parent whose child is enrolled in KUA be eligible to receive a scholarship and, if so, would the district where that student resides lose some of their funding as a result? If that is the case, State funds used to assist districts serving large numbers of students in poverty-stricken areas could lose funding while middle class families would benefit. This makes no sense whatsoever in a state that already has lawsuits pending because of inequitable funding. 

The worst part of this legislation is outlined in a quote taken from the “Methodology” section, which reads: 

The Department of Education is unable to estimate how many eligible students would participate in this program and therefore is unable to estimate this bill’s impact on state education trust expenditures or local revenues.

I find it incomprehensible that a fiscally responsible legislative body would pass a bill whose financial impact on state and local revenues cannot be calculated! I trust that you will oppose this bill when it comes to a vote and hope you will do everything possible to defeat it. 

I hope this helps them in their effort… and also hope that any readers of this blog are vigilant in following their State’s legislation in this area.

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