How many NH families would use ‘education savings accounts’?

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The proposal is closer than ever to reality: “education savings accounts” in New Hampshire.

The program would allow parents to withdraw their child from a public school and take the grant money the state provides to that school with them. The money, which would range from $4,000 to $5,000 per year, would be put into an account and be available for families to spend on private school tuition, homeschooling materials, computers, internet, or other services. 

Now, as the years-long effort by Republicans to launch the program comes closer to fruition – supported by Gov. Chris Sununu and added to the budget this month by the Senate – advocates on both sides continue to disagree over one key area: How many families will jump aboard?

The New Hampshire Statehouse dome in Concord.

The question isn’t trivial. Too many families participating could lead public school districts to suffer unsustainable funding losses when children leave and take the funding with them, opponents argue. 

Too few participating could mean the program isn’t reaching enough students, proponents say. 

For now, the question is hard to definitively answer. There are few savings account programs in the U.S. with the same structure as New Hampshire’s proposed idea to compare.

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