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Kurk's folly: Complicating school choice bill

February 27. 2018 10:14PM

It is a simple but powerful concept.

The state’s duty to fund the opportunity for an adequate education lies with the students, and not just with the local public schools where those students live.

The New Hampshire Senate has already approved Senate Bill 193, which would give parents greater control over state dollars meant to help educate their children. The House has twice approved the bill.

So why are the House Finance Committee and its chairman, Rep. Neal Kurk, mucking up the bill?

The committee is scheduled today to take up an amendment put forward by Kurk that would dramatically cut back the Education Savings Account program. Kurk says it’s about money, but it’s really about education policy.

Kurk believes that if even 1 percent of New Hampshire public school students take advantage of the new opportunities available under SB 193, it would be too disruptive. Yet the state’s own numbers show the program would only cost the state $705,000.

Local school districts would only receive less state aid if they had fewer students, and the bill has a circuit breaker to limit the impact.

SB 193 is a good bill, and fits well within the state’s budget. The House Finance Committee should stop second guessing education policy decisions.

If it can’t resist meddling, the full House should reject its interference and send a clean bill to Gov. Chris Sununu.

Education State Government Editorial

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