By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
It is time for a little honesty about the state’s new Education Freedom Account program and who is benefitting from the use of the state’s tax dollars.
The program was sold as a way to provide the best education model for individual students outside the public school system.
Under the program, the state would pay what it would have paid the public school in aid and the parents and students could use the money for an alternative program that best fits the student.
The public schools would continue to receive some state aid over a three-year step down from 75 percent to 25 percent.
Initially there were few if any guardrails on who could participate, how the money could be spent, or for special education and other federal requirements or against discrimination, or privacy protection, although the end product addressed most of those issues — not as thoroughly as many had hoped — and was passed in the state’s two-year budget package last year because it may not have passed as a stand-alone program.
Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, a key program advocate, told lawmakers last year it would cost about $130,000 the first year and $3.3 million the second year.
Instead, the first year the state’s obligation was more than $8 million to serve about …