School Choice for NH received an email from Rep. Paul Dargie (D), of Milford stating that he is opposed to the “diversion of taxpayer funds to religious and other schools through the use of vouchers or voucher workarounds.” He is referring to the Education Tax Credit program that is facing a repeal effort in House Bill 632.
Below is our reply to him.
Dear Rep. Dargie,
If you believe that earnings and income belong to the state before we pay taxes, then why is only one NH tax-credit program targeted for repeal? …
Are you aware that the Education Tax Credit program is funded via private donations? NH has several other tax credit programs that are funded in this same manner including the Coos County Job Creation Tax Credit, the Research & Development Tax Credit, and the Economic Revitalization Zone Tax Credit. The Education Tax Credit program is the only one designed to help low-income students. Are you against supporting our low-income children?
Are you in favor of only wealthy families having access to educational options when their children’s local public school is not a good fit? …The ETC scholarship is the only one of its kind in NH that supports our most at-risk children. What do you have against poor children having a better educational fit and outcome?
Are you in favor of religious discrimination? Families, not the state or scholarship organizations, decide which school their children will attend. … It is discriminatory to eliminate religious organizations from participation in school choice programs for the sole reason that they are non-secular institutions. Are you in favor of continuing religious bigotry?
Over 400 low-income children utilize the scholarship program for the 2018-2019 school year. It would be devastating to them if they were unable to continue next year in the educational settings where they thrive.
They are children like Donovan, a 7th grader in a small private school. He shared his testimony with us and said,
I went to public school for 6 years and it was not a good fit for me. I am a lot more comfortable in a smaller school setting. Being in a smaller school setting has helped me to focus on my education compared to when I was in the bigger public school setting, which has more drama and distractions than the private school I am attending. If the Education Tax Credit Scholarship is repealed, I will not be able to get the education that best fits my needs. The Children’s Scholarship Fund made it possible for my parents to be able to send me to a place where I can thrive and learn.
Sam is another scholarship recipient. He was hit by a car a year ago. Even after he initially recovered, Sam is suffering from chronic headaches, vision problems, and it has impacted his learning. While a very bright and engaging boy, the public school would no longer provide supports to accommodate his learning needs. His mom, Jodie, told us,
The Scholarship Program is giving my 8-year old son the opportunity to forge ahead in his education. My son now has choices available to him where as before there was only one option. He is finally thriving!
Representative, I hope you will reconsider your position against the Education Tax Credit program before it comes to the entire NH House for a vote.
Michelle Levell, Director
School Choice for NH
Editor: Edited for length. Read the entire unedited letter at School Choice for NH