February 23, 2013
The NH House voted to repeal our scholarship program when they passed HB370. Now the bill goes to the Senate where we have an advantage, though a slim one. We still need your help!
During an hour and a half of testimony at the House we heard from many passionate representatives who support our work. Rep. David Hess (R-Hooksett) said “about 95% of our population, the lower and middle income families, do NOT have school choice and the scholarship program will give ALL of our citizens the option of choice in education which, up to now, has been limited to the wealthy.”
Across the nation, Education Tax Credit Scholarship programs have bipartisan support, and we believe this will be the case in NH as we continue to share with legislators the very real needs of the families that have applied for help. But we still have a fight ahead of us.
It is quite ironic that a law that gives options to low and middle income families has been derided by the democratic party, which credits itself for being the champion of the middle class! The 188 people who voted yesterday for repeal of our program should be ashamed of themselves for trying to take education scholarships away from needy families.
Five courageous Democrats, including Rep. Kris Roberts (D-Keene), did support the scholarships by voting no to HB370. Rep. Roberts gave an impassioned speech on why these scholarships are important to him. He believes that he has “an ethical and moral responsibility to ensure that every child has an opportunity to receive a competitive education…. Today low-income parents, parents of children of color, need every option possible to provide their children the opportunity for a quality education because they understand that they can’t take for granted that their children will get a second chance. They understand that without a quality education their children’s future is pretty bleak.”
Rep. Roberts added that “while we adults say we are doing this (repealing the scholarships) for the children, the vast majority really are not, but are doing it for our own political or personal reasons.”
430 children have already applied for scholarships to help pay tuition for private schools and out-of-district public schools, or for homeschooling expenses. We know families need education options, and these scholarships level the playing field for needy families in our communities and help them overcome barriers to an education that is a great fit for their child.
We’ve heard from families willing to make incredible sacrifices for their children: single-parent families, one-income / one-vehicle families, parents with 3 jobs, families of children with special needs and several with terminal illnesses. Let us keep our promise to these children that have applied for scholarships.
Please contact your SENATOR (link here) and ask him or her to support the K-12 scholarships by voting against HB370, against the effort to repeal scholarships.
Do not be discouraged; we are not. We fight on – for the children and the future.
Thank you for your continued diligence as we press forward.