DNHPE Comment: Emphasis added
State Senate Kills School Voucher Bill
By David Darman on Thursday, May 06, 2004
New Hamsphire's Senate has defeated a bill that would have allowed low income families to use school vouchers.
New Hampshire Public Radio's David Darman has more.
Proponents of vouchers said they would give low income students a chance to opt out of poorly run public schools.
Senator Dick Greene of Rochester said it was time the state offered this option.
12 609 you have a bill that creates in nh a voucher program for low income children to have a choice of going to school that they would like to go to. as a real supporter of choice in education. I put this bill in the same category as home schooling, charter school choice and private school choice. 12 632
Voucher opponents said they didn't want to create a new category of public spending on non-public schools.
And some claimed the bill would be unconstitutional, because it would have allowed public money to be spent on religious schools.
They say that violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
Other voucher opponents were far less reliant on legal arguments.
Senator Iris Estabrook of Durham, a Democrat, said, to her, the argument that students need vouchers to get alternative teaching methods rang hollow.
12 1118 And if i hear one more person tell me that we need to do this because public schools are a one size fits all model that needs alternatives, I'll scream. As a professional educator, i know as well as anyone that differeing learning styles exist, and students come with different strenths, requiring different teaching approaches. 12 1142
The bill failed under two funding proposals.
The first would have set up a 3 million dollar pilot program funded with excess utility taxes.
The second would have instituted a new tax on some tobacco companies.
Instead, the Senate voted to send the school voucher bill to a study committee, essentially killing the bill.
The vote was a blow to Governor Benson, who had made school vouchers a centerpiece of his education policy.