October 24, 2018

Education Funding Policies Are on the Ballot on November 6th

School Vouchers are a bad idea for New Hampshire. New Hampshire funds 190 public school districts and also funds 28 charter schools, which provide an alternative to public schools.

Together the outcomes from these schools rank NH education quality 3rd in the nation. School Vouchers would spread state education funding to another 135 religious and private schools that have no requirement to meet state guidelines and would have more incentive to compete for public school students and funding. School Vouchers would also reimburse parents for home schooling.

The Legislative Budget Assistant evaluated the School Voucher proposal defeated by the legislature this past year. Annual costs to taxpayers were $21 million and to school districts $16 million by the time 12 grades of students and their families had the opportunity to opt for a voucher instead of attending public schools.

Republican candidates tell you this is a good thing for the public. However, it will cost more, and states that have tried voucher systems have no better outcomes to show for it; they just spend more money trying. Let’s review where Republican education policy has led. State funding to schools is decreasing because they insist on phasing out stabilization funding ($160 million) by 4% per year. State special education reimbursement is 80% of legislated levels. Kindergarten is funded 80% of the school adequacy aid formula. School Building aid has been eliminated, replaced by a one-time-funded Governor-determined process. University System appropriations have been frozen for 5 years, resulting in higher tuition rates.

As more evidence of Republicans shifting dollars away from public schools, the new Governors Scholarship program directed the same number of scholarships to small colleges, like NH School of Art, as it did to UNH. Tying the award allocation to the number of institutions, rather than the number of students attending them, is mystifying.

It’s your property taxes and college tuitions that pick up the cost of this eroding support of public schools and colleges in NH. My Democratic colleagues and I stand up for taxpayers and college students on these issues.

Communities thrive on the reputations of their public schools and colleges. Connections around public schools and colleges define communities—a source of education, workforce, sports, arts and civic involvement. Apparently, Republicans want public funding of private schools to be a test of party support at November 6th elections. A vote for Democratic candidates supports public school funding, funding for public colleges and protecting property tax payers. Be informed and vote.

Jay Kahn

State Senator District 10

135 Darling Rd.

Keene, NH