More information about New Hampshire SB 193

The program created by SB 193 would be administered by private “scholarship organizations.” In other states, this has led to abuse due to an additional level of bureaucrats — those running scholarship organizations — who are entitled to keep 5 percent of all the public school taxpayer dollars they move.

SB 193 also contains an unusual provision allowing public funds to be diverted not only to private schools, but also to “tutors” and “online learning programs.” This presents another obvious risk of abuse. Anyone claiming to be a tutor, and any website advertising a “learning program,” would be eligible to receive taxpayer funds with virtually no accountability. In other states, new private school funding programs have been rife with fraud and abuse. For instance, taxpayers in Florida and Wisconsin have lost millions to fraud when money was given to unaccountable private educational institutions. Once fraud is discovered, it is often too late to recover the money.

If parents don’t use the full balance of their scholarship, those funds still don’t go to public schools. Instead, SB 193 allows parents to transfer account funds to their Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, which receive tax-advantaged treatment. Parents are allowed to put taxpayer funds into their private account, and then could use the balance to pay for expenses that are not allowed under this proposed voucher program.
Persuading even one committee member that this bill should die could make all the difference. Many legislators have been skeptical of this bill so far. It passed the senate by a narrow margin, with only 14 senators voting in favor of the bill, passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 10–9, and passed a preliminary House vote, while acknowledging that the bill was not yet ready to pass as written, by only 22 votes (184–162).

This is a perfect opportunity for activists to defend public schools and to stop the government from funding religion with taxpayer dollars.

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