To the Editor:
Legislative amendments hampered our state representatives’ representation, unaware as they were that their votes jeopardized Bedford High School’s International Baccalaureate program (IB), by eliminating IB from the state of New Hampshire.
Currently, school districts around the region stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars in state aid ($4 million statewide year one, then growing unabated) if New Hampshire lawmakers approve a bill that would offer scholarships to students who attend private, religious or home schools, according to a preliminary analysis by the state Department of Education. (HB1607, SB372). Sen. Forsythe, the sponsor of the bill’s senate version, assures that we might not even notice, stating “If the districts didn’t know about this program to begin with, they’d never notice, probably, the students leaving because of the program.” Bedford taxpayers will notice when it causes their tax bills to go up. Districts would lose state adequacy grants, currently an average of $4,250 per student, but their fixed costs remain the same.
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Freshman Sen. Forsythe recently moved to New Hampshire and asserts his bill will fix New Hampshire schools. Is this the best way to improve New Hampshire public schools, some of the best in the country? This bill takes money from public schools, does not guarantee awarding needy families the scholarships, has no accountability for education standards and is structured to grow exponentially each year. It is a bad bill. When school deficits mount, New Hampshire schools will need “fixing” and New Hampshire taxpayers and students will bear the burden. Quoting Amanda Russell, vice chairperson of Dover School Board, “Given our current financial situation, this scenario would be devastating.”
Votes on these bills are upon us. Call or write your representatives and senators if you don’t want increased taxes and to allow public money to fund private tuitions and religious and home schools. If they tell you this will improve education, remind them of the IB bill.
Taxpayers for Quality Education
© 2009, Telegraph Publishing Company, Nashua, New Hampshire