Ending School Choice (S.66) - March 22, 2023

The Senate Education Committee heard from Senator Hardy on Wednesday about S.66. She described the bill as being about the changing education landscape in light of recent US Supreme Court rulings (Carson v. Makin, etc.). She stated that the bill prioritizes the designation of public schools only for public tuitioning of students (regardless of whether one is within a practical distance). However, it does allow for tuitioning to independent schools that meet three parts of a four-part test intended to carve out the four historic academies (St. Johnsbury, Burr and Burton, Thetford, Lyndon Institute). She highlighted that her desire is to “really prioritize public schools” and that there are areas of our state where we have “divested from public education and communities don’t have the options for public schools that they once had.”

NOTE: Hardy’s statement about divesting from public education is misleading. First, public tuition is part of our public education system. Second, public tuitioning only exists in towns that do not operate a public school for the grade levels being tuitioned, so no funds are diverted away from a public institution.

There were no questions for Hardy but the Committee intends to take more testimony once they receive the House bill, H.483.

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