CONCORD, NH – August 27, 2011 – Today’s vote by the State Board of Education to adopt lax oversight rules for the massive voucher expansion recently signed into law by Governor Sununu puts New Hampshire on an accelerated and dangerous path to defund our public schools. One that consistently ends poorly in states that have passed similar laws.
Private schools in Florida now rake in close to $1 billion a year in public money. A voucher scheme like the one recently enacted here in New Hampshire is responsible for this dramatic diversion of public funds to help wealthy families in Florida pay their private school tuition bills.
“Thanks to Governor Sununu and Commissioner Edelblut, New Hampshire property taxpayers will now be funding their local schools and the private and religious school tuition bills of voucher students,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-New Hampshire President. “Even if the State Board of Education had passed strong accountability rules today, this fact will not change.”
A three-part series published by the Orlando Sentinel in 2018 described the voucher system there “so weakly regulated that some schools hire teachers without college degrees, hold classes in aging strip malls and falsify fire-safety and health records.” The absence of public accountability for voucher funds has contributed to rampant fraud, waste, and abuse in current voucher programs across the nation.
“After today’s adoption of some of the weakest oversight rules for the distribution of tax dollars in our state, that same fraud, waste, and abuse will soon impact all of us here in New Hampshire as well,” said Tuttle.
But for proponents of private and religious school vouchers, weak oversight is a feature, not a bug. “The lack of oversight in New Hampshire’s massive new voucher expansion is stunning, but right on target with what Chris Sununu and Frank Edelblut intended all along,” commented Tuttle.
“Private and religious schools enjoy wide latitude over who they serve and who they don’t. And politicians like Sununu and Edelblut just found a way for these same schools to receive a great deal of public tax dollars with no strings attached and no protection for our students.”
“Coming off the pandemic shutdowns this will probably be the most important school year in many of our student’s lives. Now is hardly the time to be diverting funds from their schools with zero accountability. This is a multi-million-dollar example of failed leadership that will ultimately hurt our kids,” said Tuttle.