DNHPE 3/19/12 Press Release: Costly Private School Voucher Plan Would Undermine New Hampshire Public Schools

posted Mar 19, 2012, 4:51 AM by Bill Duncan
MARCH 19, 2012
Defending New Hampshire Public Education
Contact: Bill Duncan, 603-682-4748

Costly Private School Voucher Plan Would Undermine New Hampshire Public Schools

The New Hampshire House is expected to vote on HB 1607 this week and the Senate is expected to vote on the companion bill, SB 372.  The bills would implement a private school voucher plan in New Hampshire.  DNHPE believes the unpopular plan would undermine New Hampshire public schools for the following reasons:
  • Schools would lose money when voucher students left that they do not lose when students leave for other reasons.  Here is how it works.
  • This program is an open checkbook on the state's bank account.  The plan is not revenue neutral.  The Department of Education calculations show that the cost of the plan to the state budget would increase yearly in the three years the Legislature reviews for fiscal impact.  The cost would continue to increase each year thereafter.  If the voucher plan grew at the rate provided for in the legislation, the plan could cost the state of New Hampshire as much as $126 million over the first 10 years, based on the New Hampshire Department of Education calculations.   However, the structure of the plan is such that it is not possible to project the actual cost to the state of New Hampshire time.  
  • There is no academic accountability  The voucher plan would be funded by extracting money from New Hampshire's public schools and sending it to private, religious and home schools.  However, the plan would include no way to know whether we are getting the educational results promised by the sponsors.   This is very unusual.   Louisianafor instance, requires participating schools to give the state assessment tests to all voucher students and the state issues an annual report with test results for each school.   In the proposed New Jersey plan, participating schools must meet high standards and provide extensive student testing.  Florida's private school accountability provisions are 10 pages long.  
  • Many of the children would have gone to private schools without the voucher.  Many students receiving vouchers would be among those who leave public schools for private schools each year now, without vouchers.  Many others would already be in private schools, without voucher support. There would be no justifiable public purpose for these