We are relatively new to New Hampshire. We are part of the over 36,000 families that purchased homes in the state within the last two years. Home prices have increased by over 65 percent in the last six years, and interest rates have skyrocketed. Food costs, housing costs, clothing, medical, and dental costs have continued to rise exponentially. Curriculum costs, tutoring, quality mentors, and classes are also rising and are incredibly expensive. Providing a quality education for students outside the traditional system is difficult, and many doors are closed simply because families are not able to afford them.

We are part of that group of families that barely does not qualify at 400 percent but would at 500 percent.

My oldest daughter grew up in a state with many options for educational freedom. She was able to thrive. She developed knowledge, skills, confidence, and talents that have allowed her to grow and contribute in amazing ways. She currently attends college on a full-ride scholarship and is touring the U.S. with their performing dance team on scholarship. It has been so beautiful to see. She contributes to her family, her school, and her community. Her educational path prepared her well and opened doors of opportunity that, without that freedom and support, would have been unattainable.

However, I tremendously worry about my 11-year-old, who has significant dyslexia. She needs assistance beyond what the local schools can provide. Specialized tutoring and curriculum for her are essential and pose a significant hardship on our family.

I also worry about my eight-year-old, who is a second grader but calls herself a third or fourth-grader because she is learning material at a much higher grade level than she is at. She moves at a much quicker pace than the traditional school system. Providing opportunities for her to receive a quality education is challenging. Curriculum, mentors, field trips, and engaging learning opportunities are often out of reach because we simply cannot afford them.

My children have been involved in the legislative process, particularly on HB 1665. They frequently ask if there is any news, or if it looks like it will pass, or what they can do to help. Without it passing at 500 percent, so many doors are closed to them because of unaffordability. The cost of living in New Hampshire, particularly if you have purchased a home within the last two years, immensely outpaces the national poverty line estimates.

Not just students are impacted by having a budget to spend on education. Having funding helps families but also revitalizes communities as classes, teachers, and mentors also have more opportunities for income because there is more income for local students to use.

We plead with you to please pass HB 1665 as stated and bless our family and so many others in very similar circumstances.  Passing this bill will make a powerful difference in providing a quality education for all students; it will truly be life-changing!