Although we won a reprieve on Tuesday when the NH House voted to table HB 632, the Education Tax Credit repeal bill, the program faces another threat.
There is a bill in the New Hampshire senate, SB 318 as amended, that cuts the only existing private-school choice program in the state by almost half. It reduces the number of low-income children that can get help from the ETC scholarship program by 1,000! It cuts the ETC scholarship program cap from 2,400 children down to 1,400 children.
What will happen to these 1,000 at-risk children that are left to suffer in schools that are detrimental for them? Children that are bullied, threatened, or assaulted will have nowhere to go if this ETC scholarship program is paralyzed. Students that face greater risks of lower academic outcomes will be trapped in educational environments that do not fit their needs.
The NH Senate will vote on SB 318, a bill that would debilitate the ETC program, as early as Wednesday, March 27th. See the TAKE ACTION section below for more information.
In a searing testimony in House Ways and Means, Stephanie Alicea talked about her son’s decision to leave his public school after the racism and harassment he faced for protesting police misconduct became unendurable. A group of students threatened to “cut off his face” and the windshield in the family’s car was shattered. What if an ETC scholarship were not available to save Stephanie’s son because of SB 318? Where would he be now?
In another testimony, a parent, Wendy Santiago, shared wrenching photos of her son, Noah, who repeatedly bore the bloody wounds from a bully who attacked him in public school. What if an ETC scholarship were not available to save Noah from his attackers because of SB 318? Where would he be now?
Shalimar Encarnacion shared stories about her children’s struggles to have academic support in their local public schools. They faced relentless bullying and racial discrimination that went unresolved until they found relief through the ETC scholarship program. Without the ETC program, children like hers would remain trapped in educational environments that fail them.
What about children like Sam Consoles who has on-going medical problems that were not supported by his IEP? His mom, Jodie, is a single-mom who can access an education that fits his needs thanks to the scholarship. Without the ETC program, Sam would be forced back into an educational environment that denied him the supports he needed.
What about students like Amanda, now a junior at Bishop Brady, who was refused access to advanced programs at her local public school because it would “set a bad precedent” for an underclassman to participate. She said, “I am afraid I will have to go back to my public school if the ETC is repealed. I am afraid of leaving my friends. I am afraid of not having the academic rigor I need to pursue my college plans.”
If the Education Tax Credit scholarship program is paralyzed, low-income New Hampshire children will have no other options but to stay in schools that are detrimental for them, where their bullies roam free, and their academic needs are not met.
Please call your senator and tell them not to paralyze the ETC scholarship program, to vote NO on SB 318.
The entire NH Senate will vote on this SB 318 next week Wednesday, March 27th or Thursday, March 28th.
This is the time to contact your own state senator, urging them to vote NO on SB 318, a bill that would paralyze the Education Tax Credit scholarship program.
CALL: Phone calls are especially effective, particularly if you share what educational opportunities mean to you and your family. Mention you are a constituent.
EMAIL: This can be effective and is one of the easiest ways to communicate with your legislators. You may use this easy tool to send an email to your senator, urging them to vote NO on SB 318. The message can be personalized for even greater impact. Please share the link with your friends and family, too.