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Vote no on HB 1466

North Dakota's public schools are among the best in the nation. The state's public, private and parochial schools produce graduates who succeed in life.

The one constant between all of the schools is that the success of the students is greatly enhanced by the involvement of parents.

Parents who send their kids to private and parochial schools believe that, for a host of reasons, they are a better choice for their kids. Parents who send their children to parochial schools obviously believe education should include daily religious studies that mirror their own beliefs.

Parents of both are investing heavily in the education process of their children. Parents require that those private schools produce results that are worth their investment, and hold their schools accountable.

HB 1466 sponsored by North Dakota Rep. Mark Dosch, R-Bismarck, would divert up to 25 percent of a private student's share of public education to the private school they attend. The bill would allow before the 10th day of September each parent intending to meet the compulsory attendance requirements by enrolling a child in an approved nonpublic school to file a form with the superintendent of the child's school district of residence indicating that fact. The form would be available in print and electronic form by the superintendent of public instruction.

Upon receiving the notification, the child's school district of residence shall contract with the approved nonpublic school for the provision of educational services to the child and divert an amount not to exceed 25 percent of the school district's educational cost per student.

So you spend your money to send your kids to a private or parochial school, and if your school is approved by the superintendent of the public schools that you chose not to send your kids to in the first place, your private school could receive 25 percent of the funding from the public schools.

We at The Press are having a hard time figuring out what the incentive is for the public schools superintendent to approve the private school's curriculum? Would a private school whose curriculum is subject to the approval of a public administration be more attractive to parents who sent their kids to the private school because of the differences between their public counterparts? What would private schools have to change to be qualified as an approved school?

Removing 25 percent of the public school's funding for every kid going to private school will not only reduce the funding of but possibly the quality of our public schools.

Why should taxpayers have to subsidize private schools that parents are willing to pay for the education opportunity available to their kids? HB 1466 will not improve competition and violates the separation of church and state.

We encourage our representatives to vote no on this bill.