School issues the focus of discussion in Newmarket, Portsmouth Herald, 2/7/12

posted Feb 7, 2012, 5:21 AM by Bill Duncan   [ updated Feb 7, 2012, 5:29 AM ]
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DNHPE Comment: Notice the quote (emphasis added) below.  Rep. Schroadter, puts it well.  Here's how I would modify his quote to make it a little more explicit:  

"Should each parent get to choose how our public business tax dollars are spent, allocating them to private, religious and home schools if they want?

The answer is self-evident.

School issues the focus of discussion
Residents hear about building aid, proposed voucher program
By Aaron Davis
newsletter@seacoastonline.com
February 07, 2012 2:00 AM

NEWMARKET — Residents and school officials spoke with local legislators about state funding for schools, vouchers for private and parochial schools and abolishing the Department of Education at the School Board meeting Thursday night.

State Sen. Russell Prescott, R-Kingston; state Rep. Adam Schroadter, R-Newmarket; and State Rep. Marcia Moody, D-Newmarket, were in attendance to explain the potential impact these bills may have on school planning.

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House Bill 1485, relative to funding for chartered public schools established by the state board of education, was sponsored by Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham. It would establish a tax credit against the state business profits tax for business organizations that contribute to nonprofit organizations that award scholarships to be used by students to defray the educational expenses of attending an independent school. For each contribution made to a scholarship organization, a business organization may claim a credit equal to 75 percent of the contribution against their business profits tax owed. Senate Bill 372 is a nearly identical version of this House bill.  [The report mixed this up a little.  HB 1485 is about charters.  The voucher bill in the house, HB 1607, is separate.] 

"As I understand it, it's about allowing parents to have greater choices on how they're applying their tax funds or where they're sending their kids to school," Schroadter said. "It's really a philosophical question. Should you get to choose as a parent where those dollars are getting spent?"

Reversing the practice adopted in statute since 2006, the bill calls for a charter school pupil's resident district to pay adequacy funds directly to charter schools. A "phase-in" process is proposed, with 10 percent paid by the district to charter schools for FY 2013, with the percent increasing by 10 percent annually until reaching 70 percent. The bill removes the state's obligation to pay adequacy funds for charter school students, shifting the financial burden to local districts.

The Department of Education states this bill will decrease state expenditures by $7,940,050 in fiscal year 2013 and each year thereafter. This bill will increase local expenditures by $724,712 in fiscal year 2013, $1,449,424 in 2014, $2,174,135 in 2015, and $2,898,847 in 2016. This bill will have no fiscal impact on state, county, and local revenue, or county expenditures.

Moody said the bill would ultimately hurt public schools in the long run by diverting tax dollars from public to private and parochial schools.
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