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The sky isn't falling: Choice won't kill public schools

December 10. 2017 3:32AM

Giving New Hampshire parents some control over the money the state spends to educate their children will not devastate local public schools.

You knew this already, but last week new studies from groups for and against expanding school choice backed it up.

SB 193 would use state education funds to establish Education Savings Accounts, which parents could put toward alternatives to local public schools.

The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free market think tank, strongly supporting SB 193, crunched the numbers. It found that even if 5 percent of students statewide take advantage of the new program, local school districts would retain 98.7 percent of their current operating budgets to educate fewer students.

New Hampshire school districts have already handled a 7 percent drop in student enrollment since 2010.

Reaching Higher New Hampshire, a group opposed to using state dollars outside of the public school monopoly, tried to make the case that SB 193 would devastate local school district budgets. But its numbers added up to a modest impact.

If 50 students from the Concord School District were to take advantage of the new program by enrolling in private schools, the district would lose just $500,000 in state aid over five years. It would have 50 fewer students to educate, and 50 students would have a chance to receive a better education.

SB 193 would mean more money, not less, going to New Hampshire education. Opponents of SB 193 seem far more concerned with the fate of local schools than with the actual students. Choice and competition will make New Hampshire's schools stronger.

Schools State Government Editorial

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