On Tuesday, NEA-New Hampshire President Megan Tuttle provided the testimony listed below to the House Finance Committee in opposition to SB 193, the unconstitutional voucher bill currently under consideration.
The hearing on the bill lasted nearly four hours, and the House Finance Committee Room overflowed into the hallway. Opponents of the bill outnumbered supporters. In addition to President Tuttle’s testimony, NEA-NH presented the Committee with testimony from nearly 50 NEA-NH members in opposition to the bill.
Because this bill is in House Finance, only financial considerations were allowed to be discussed. The bill now heads to a subcommittee on Tuesday, January 23, and Wednesday, January 24, both at 1:00 PM in Room 209 of the Legislative Office Building.
Below is President Tuttle’s full testimony for the committee.
TO: Chairman Kurk, Members of the House Finance Committee
FROM: Megan Tuttle, President, NEA-New Hampshire
SUBJECT: SB 193
Chairman Kurk and Members of the House Finance Committee,
My name is Megan Tuttle and I am President of NEA-New Hampshire, and am here representing our 17,000 members in opposition to SB 193.
While I have a number of objections to the bill, today I would like to focus on the financial impact this bill will have on our schools and local taxpayers.
Based on estimates put forward by Reaching Higher, New Hampshire’s public schools are estimated to lose over six million dollars under SB 193 in the first year alone.
New Hampshire’s school budgets are already stretched too thin. Though we work closely with local boards to most effectively allocate those funds, nevertheless, most teachers are forced to pay out of pocket for much needed classroom supplies. The estimated financial impact would only exacerbate this problem, and that is based on a very conservative estimate. The actual impact could be much higher.
Because all but the largest districts will see a loss of only a handful of students, fixed costs will remain. This means revenue will be down, while expenses will likely remain flat.
Even with the proposed stabilization grants, local budgets will continue to be stretched to the breaking point.
Our members are also greatly concerned with the lack of funding mechanism for the proposed stabilization grants. As mentioned most will have to spend additional personal dollars in the classroom, and are worried about higher property taxes on top of that.
New Hampshire’s children deserve better than SB 193. High quality public schools in every community is every child’s right. Public schools serve every student, and it should be those schools that the state funds.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.