Letter: Why can’t Democratic lawmakers put aside politics?

Published: 8/11/2020 12:01:34 AM

An article in this paper (Monitor front page, Aug. 5) stated that questions had been raised about the use of CARES funding for scholarships recently announced by Gov. Chris Sununu. Who was raising these questions? Democratic lawmakers. With elections upcoming and campaigns underway, the reason for their questioning can only be characterized as a shortsighted attempt to gain political advantage.

Sununu’s plan is to use $1.5 million of federal CARES funding to provide for additional scholarships for low-income children via the Tax Credit Scholarship program. This plan was a direct result of a request from minority business owners and community leaders for more assistance. Use of the scholarship program to reach minority children is a great initiative. About 22% of the scholarships have gone to minority children – more than double the minority population of our state. And who will be applying for these scholarships? Lower income families who want to find better education opportunities for their children.

In the column, state Rep. Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord) was quoted as saying “the governor is diverting taxpayer dollars to benefit private and religious schools.” The representative is mistaken about diverting funds. This federal money will go to families as scholarships to find the best education to meet their children’s needs. It is not being diverted to benefit any school; it is going to benefit children. You should know that Wallner’s district has already received over $950,000. That is almost two-thirds of the entire funding that will go to the scholarship program. Overall, over $33 million in federal funds have been provided to school districts. You should also know that she is chair of the Legislative Fiscal Committee and that she and her fellow Democrats have been blocking acceptance of a $46 million federal grant for chartered public schools.

The column also quoted state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro as citing a report from a biased organization that claimed the scholarship organization had not spent $1.7 million in funds raised last year. Not true. That money is paying for scholarships for needy children this year.

I know it is the political season, but why disregard helping minority and lower-income students in favor of trying to score political points? Gov. Sununu and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut have done an outstanding job in dealing with education realities during this pandemic. Can’t we put aside the politics just briefly to do what is right for the children?




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