Reaching Higher Report Raises Serious Questions About Governor Sununu’s $1.5 Million Dollar Grant to

Contact Name: Sara Persechino, Michael O’Brien

Phone: (603) 271-3479, (603) 271-0515

Email: Sara.Persechino@leg.state.nh.us, mike.b.obrien@leg.state.nh.us

CONCORD – Today, Reaching Higher, an independent, non-partisan 501c3 group released a report that raises serious questions about Governor Sununu’s $1.5 million grant to private and religious schools.

In response, House Finance Chair Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord) and Senate Finance Chair Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), who both serve on the Governor’s Office for Economic Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) Legislative Advisory Board, released the following statement:

“From the onset the decision for the governor to allocate $1.5 million to private schools was questionable,” said House Finance Mary Jane Wallner. “Governor Sununu claims that through the CARES Act, public schools have already received enough funding to transition to COVID learning environments. But school districts, teachers, and superintendents disagree. Instead of ensuring that our public traditional and charter schools have the resources necessary to provide safe learning environments for all students, the Governor is diverting taxpayer dollars to benefit private and religious schools. While Sununu’s K-12 grant delivers approximately $1,875 per student at religious and private schools, his administration has awarded just $213 per student at public traditional and charter schools. This disparity harms New Hampshire public schools and the burden of these costs will be downshifted onto the backs of property taxpayers.”

“What’s further discouraging is that Governor Sununu just allocated $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to a fund where over 60% of the money was not even used for student scholarships. This is simply irresponsible,” said Senate Finance Chair Lou D'Allesandro. “Knowing that most of that $1.5 million will never make it to New Hampshire families this year in this state I encourage the governor to repeal the grant and reallocate those critical funds - as well as the remainder of his Governor’s Education Fund - to our public schools that need the aid to deal with the uncertainties this school year will bring. At our next GOFERR Legislative Advisory Board meeting, we will hear from stakeholders about the ongoing needs of our public schools. House and Senate Democrats will continue to strongly advocate for our public schools.”

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