HB 1607 – Public Schools Could See Buckets of Free Money

by Steve MacDonald

Skip just posted a nice letter from the Londonderry Superintendent of schools in which the Super appears to lobby the state Senate in opposition to HB1607.  This bill establishes an education tax credit for businesses or groups that set up scholarship programs to help offset the costs of non-public school tuition.  This could allow more parents to enroll their kids outside of the governments education monopoly and on paper at least take the paltry sum of $3,450.00 per student with them when the business is reimbursed for its donations with a tax credit of that amount.   The business is, of course, free to set it’s award at any sum above that at their discretion, but the credit is (I assume) maxed out at $3450.00 per student.

Needless to say, the Super (Nate Greenberg) doesn’t care for the bill.  By his calculation each school district will lose money it needs to teach students and would necessarily downshift those costs onto local property taxpayers to make up the difference.

That argument sounds like it might hold water–the entire lobbying question Skip raises aside–but only if taken in the vacuum of the space between the typical bureaucrats ears.  I wont revisit all the Super’s arguments here, just follow the link if you feel confused, but in my district, this bill would, on paper at least,  be like the school district finding a winning lottery ticket every single year.

In Merrimack the actual ‘on-paper’ cost per student is well over $14,000.00 each.; total enrollment of 4700 (ish) divided by our roughly 65+ million dollar school budget.  If a parent can only take $3,450.00 per child, then the town is still getting paid $11,000.00 dollar per child with no child left to teach.

To see how that looks if we borrow the formula the Super’s letter

COPUPPSE (Cost of Over-priced Under Performing Public School Education) –  PTPR (Pittance of Tuition Parent Receives) = JPSS  (Jackpot for Public School System)

In my case, using the 5 fewer students per grade level model, including kindergarten, that would net the district an extra  $700,000.00 per year in revenue for which there are no “students” to spend it on.  Free money?

So the problem won’t be downshifting costs on taxpayers,  it will be a Super and a School Board explaining why the district still needs more than $11,000.00 dollars per non-existent student not to educate those non- students that do not exist.   $700,000.00 – 0 = $700,000.00.

And having made that argument successfully, should we expect that as a line item in all future school budgets regardless of the outcome of HB 1607?  “We’d like to add a million to the school budget for not educating roughly 90 non-students, in the next fiscal year.”

HB1607 is like free money, unless of course the taxpayers want to have a discussion about why it costs so damn much to send a kid to public school.  That might be a problem worth the Super’s time

So Quit your bitching.

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