What: Public hearing on the House Finance Committee’s draft amendment to SB 193, the Education Savings Account bill.
When: Friday, March 9th, at 1:00pm
Where: House Finance Committee, room 210-211 of the Legislative Office Building (LOB). The address is 33 N State Street, directly behind the State House. The location could change if there is a large turn-out. There is on-street parking and a parking garage nearby; refer to the link below. Children are welcome to attend, but it could be a long afternoon.
Please join us to SUPPORT families who need options for their children. Please tell the committee what the ESA and educational opportunities mean for your family. Sign the blue sheet, located near the room entrance, in support of the bill. These sheets are part of the bill’s official record.
If you are unable to attend, please email the committee; it is important that they hear from you, the people they represent and who are most impacted. We have compiled resources to make it easy to compose a message.
Education Savings Accounts are funds that children receive to a designated account that are used for specified educational purposes selected by their families. Approved uses may include online classes, tutoring, textbooks, AP classes, assessments, special-needs services, dual-enrollment courses, private school tuition, homeschool expenses, and other education-related fees. They benefit the most vulnerable in our communities — those of lower-economics means and children with special needs. SB 193 includes several academic and financial accountability mechanisms that are reported to the legislature and state Department of Education. ESAs allow families to make educational decisions for their children based on their individual needs using funds that are already allocated for the child’s education. Even if 5% of eligible students participate in the ESA – this is double the utilization seen in other states with existing ESAs and what opponents project – local districts will retain 98% of current funding, including local property taxes and any federal grants. This is not a hardship to districts and within normal enrollment fluctuations. This shift recognizes that the state has an obligation to fund each child’s education, not only one possible provider of that education. Other states with discriminatory Blaine Amendments have ESA programs that have passed constitutional muster; the NH Attorney General’s office indicates the proposed ESA is consistent with NH’s Constitution.
It is time for NH to value each child’s education over protecting a system that may not work for them.