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Bill providing state money for private schools gets subcommittee nod

State House Bureau

October 24. 2017 8:23PM

CONCORD — A Senate-passed bill that would give parents state funding to send their children to private schools got a positive recommendation from a House subcommittee, in preparation for a full vote by the House Education Committee on Nov. 8.

The Education Freedom Savings Accounts authorized under SB 193 would enable parents who work with an approved scholarship organization to receive 95 percent of the per-pupil state grant to be used for tuition or other costs at a school of the family’s choice, or to pay for home-schooling. (See related editorial here.)

A nine-member subcommittee appointed to study the legislation met for the third time Tuesday and voted 6-3 to recommend the bill ought to pass.

If the bill clears the 19-member House Education Committee in November, it will go to the full House for a vote when lawmakers reconvene in January.

Supporters of the measure say the competition for students will improve the performance of public schools.

“The vote today to move forward with Education Savings Accounts is a critical step in ensuring that students of all backgrounds will get the chance to go to a school that best fits their needs, not just those students from wealthy families,” said Greg Moore, state director with Americans for Prosperity. “This bill puts the focus on what’s best for New Hampshire’s children and families to find the best educational opportunities for them. This is a victory for families across the state.”

Opponents like Board of Education member Bill Duncan say it will only drain resources from the public education system.

“This is a critical moment in New Hampshire public education,” he said. “We have built our neighborhood schools as to serve all our kids. SB 193 is a troubling step toward replacing that community asset with a private choice marketplace where families will be on their own.”

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