ACTION REQUESTED: Sign in to OPPOSE four voucher expansion bills being heard on Wednesday, January 17th in the House Education Committee.

   January 16, 2024

From NEA – New Hampshire. January 12, 2024  in Legislative Action (updated on January 12, 2024)

There are several bills being heard in the House Education Committee this week that would expand eligibility for the private school voucher system so that anyone could qualify for the program regardless of their income either because the income qualification requirement is eliminated or because the categories created in the bill are so broad that it is effectively a universal voucher program.

The fiscal consequences alone for expanding vouchers would be dire for our public schools and our students. For example, in Arizona – where they quickly expanded their voucher program to be universal – their vouchers are on track to cost over $900 million in their second year. That figure is 1,400% higher than projected. Like our own program here in New Hampshire, these vouchers are primarily being used by families who previously chose private school and is all new spending. The Arizona universal voucher program is also primarily benefiting more affluent families in wealthier zip codes. This should serve as a cautionary tale for us here in New Hampshire. Their program put the state in a massive deficit that leaves the state and local school districts few options but to cut funding or raise local property taxes.

Opening this unaccountable program to wealthy families is the opposite direction we need to go in. Instead of sending taxpayer money to private schools we should focus on public schools – where nearly 90% of our children attend – not take money away from them. We need to reduce class sizes and give our students more one-on-one attention and increase salaries to address the teacher and staff shortages.

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