School Voucher Constitutionality

The House of Representatives voted this week to pass SB 193, legislation establishing a school voucher program allowing parents to use Education Trust Fund dollars to subsidize tuition to private schools including religious institutions. House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) said “Simply put, this bill is an unconstitutional attempt to weaken confidence in public education and reduce funding to public schools.”

“Because funding for this program will come directly from the Education Trust Fund, the total amount distributed to school districts throughout the state will be reduced. To participate in the program, parents of children with disabilities must waive their right to special education and related services.”

“This legislation was written to deliberately circumvent the New Hampshire Constitution, which clearly and distinctly prohibits the use of tax dollars for religious education. The pass-through scheme concocted by this bill is an embarrassment to the founders of this great state.”