The Department of Revenue Administration has released a memo clarifying the rules surrounding a controversial education tax credit scholarship. The memo makes clear that the state’s largest scholarship organization will have to change how it operates next year.
The Network for Educational Opportunity will have to give 70 percent of its scholarships to individual public school students. This year it’s giving 70 percent of the funds to just 13 public school students. That’s the lion’s share of the funds going to just 12.6 percent of scholarship recipients.
On January 1st businesses can start getting tax breaks for donating to organizations that give public school students money toward going to a private school. But before that law has even taken effect, there are proposals to change it.
The business tax credit scholarship law was never popular with Democrats, who called it a back-door school vouchers measure. Governor-elect Maggie Hassan has said that she would try to repeal it, and a Manchester Representative, Peter Sullivan, will file a bill that would do just that.
On Wednesday, the legislature will vote on whether or not to override Governor John Lynch’s veto of a bill supporters call School Choice Scholarship Act.
Both Democratic gubernatorial candidates are calling on the legislature to uphold the governor’s veto. Their republican opponents came out in support of the school choice bill last week. There are two, nearly identical, versions of the education tax credit coming back before the legislature tomorrow.
At a campaign event Tuesday, Maggie Hassan used the veto vote to lash out at one of her Republican opponents.
The New Hampshire Senate passed a bill sponsored by school choice advocates that would create a tax credit for businesses that donate to scholarship organizations.
Many public school educators oppose the measure saying that it would sap schools of already scarce resources, but opponents in the senate tried to block the bill by calling into question its constitutionality.
Many proposals encouraging educational choice are pending in Concord this year. One with strong backing would use tax credits to encourage businesses to pay for school scholarships.
Critics say this would starve public schools of much needed funding, but supporters say this is a way to give students more options while avoiding constitutional concerns that have doomed past proposals for school vouchers.