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School Choice Week: The power of competition

January 20. 2018 4:21PM

As we mark the start of School Choice Week nationally, we note the small, but important, steps that New Hampshire has taken toward school choice over the past several years.

The Education Tax Credit program allows businesses to credit donations to scholarship organizations against their business taxes. These scholarships open up choices for low- and middle-income families that had previously only been realistic for the rich.

This year, more than 300 such students used the scholarship program to take advantage of alternative educational options.

Last year, the Legislature approved the Croydon Bill, which gives local school boards greater autonomy to contract with nearby private schools, without having to seek the permission of state bureaucrats.

This year, the Legislature is on the verge of passing a fundamental breakthrough for school choice.

The Senate has already approved SB 193. The House has given its initial approval, and sent the bill for further review by the House Finance Committee. Gov. Chris Sununu is waiting with pen in hand to sign the bill into law.

SB 193 would essentailly transfer the state's responsibility to provide the opportunity for an adeqaute education from the local school district to the students themselves.

Families seeking a better education outside of their local public school would be able to access a portion of the state's adequacy payment.

Since almost all parents would choose to keep their children in their local public schools, local districts would continue to receive almost all of their current state funding.

Our number-crunching friends at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, which strongly supports SB 193, estimate that school districts would still receive more than 99 percent of their current state adequacy funding.

Helping parents make better choices for their kids does not come at the expense of public schools.

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