"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Hampshire: Third Highest Average Private School Tuition in the Country at $21,426 .

It would appear that SB 193  seeking to establish education freedom savings accounts for students in NH, will be retained in the NH House Education committee, and not go to the floor of the House for an up or down vote, at least not yet. Supporters are (rightly) concerned that if the bill includes religious schools, it will not garner enough support to pass the House. The constitutionality of allowing public funds to pay for religious education is quite clear: you can't. Part I, Article 6 has this to say: “But no person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any sect or denomination.” 
Seems black and white to me. I find it so disingenuous that the NH House Republican Alliance   led by Glen Cordelli, Laurie Sanborn and James Spillane, whose stated purpose is for "...all bills passing the New Hampshire Legislature to be consistent with the New Hampshire and US Constitutions" to simply bypass the constitution with what amounts to a money laundering scheme. You probably didn't know that did you? 
Here is how they plan to get around that pesky constitution:
To avoid violating the constitution these taxpayer dollars need to be somehow changed into private funds, which parents can spend on education any way they choose. Hence the “charitable” scholarship-granting organization, and the  cleverly named “education freedom savings account.”
Parents open an education freedom savings account with the scholarship organization. NH then gives 95 percent of state adequacy aid per child to the organization. The organization keeps 5 percent and deposits the other 90 percent into the parents’ account.
Wave your magic wand and just like that, your tax dollars are laundered into private funds, which parents can spend on any educational things, including religious schools.
El Chapo couldn't do it any better. 

The current adequacy aid formula that parents could receive is about $3,600. Just how far will that money go should parents choose to use it to pay for private schools?  Not very in New Hampshire. 
In addition to the tuition cost below, factor in transportation and other incidentals, and the cost is out of reach for many. Here are some facts and the fallacy of " education freedom".

According to Private School Review
  • There are 325 private schools in New Hampshire
  • There are 28 special education private schools in New Hampshire serving 916 students.
  • The average private school tuition is $10,773 for elementary schools and $29,649 for high schools
  • The average acceptance rate is 74% ( 10th most selective in the country)
  • Minority enrollment is 12% and the student:teacher ratio is 9:1.
  • There are 86 religiously affiliated private schools in New Hampshire (26% of all private schools), serving 12,334 students.
New Hampshire private schools are among the most costly in the nation: 
  • New Hampshire has the third highest average private school tuition, $21,426  
  • The fourth highest average high school tuition, $29,649 and,
  •  The third highest elementary school tuition $10,773.
NH private schools are among the most expensive in the nation and among the most selective on admissions. What will be next, legislation to mandate how private schools admit students and charge tuition? Perhaps it will be to increase the adequacy funding to levels that will drive already high property taxes in many areas even higher. The money has to come from somewhere and this scheme is the camels nose under the tent. 


Janet Cramer said...

Interesting that the cost per student in Moultonboro is higher than that of the private schools in the state. So with all that investment, surely parents should be given the choice of whether to take their kids to another venue. If the schools have done their job with that much of an investment, no one will be interested in going elsewhere!

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Parents have that option today, but here in Moultonboro, few take it because Moultonboro schools have performed very well and continue to improve and few parents opt out of our schools. I don't hear any kudos from Glenn Cordelli for the achievements in his own district.
I can't deny the math: as enrollment goes down, the cost per student goes up.

Keep in mind that we do not get any adequacy funding from the state. Every dollar that leaves the district is from our tax payers.

Anonymous said...

Good comments on tuition, but I don' think its fair to include all NH private schools in your state-wide average for the following two reasons: First, the major NH "independent schools" i.e. St. Pauls, Exeter, Tilton, New Hampton, Holderness, Kimball Union, Brewster Academy, etc., charge well over $50,000 per year in tuition, thus skewing your stated average. Second, these schools have a national clientele and cater to relatively few students from NH. What is the state-wide average private school tuition if the "majors" aren't included?