Smith for Governor - Two Sentences? - A Side-by-Side Comparison of Education Plans by GOP Candidates Kevin Smith & Ovide Lamontagne


Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for Governor, announced a comprehensive plan to reform education on June 19, stating, “Education reform is critical to our state’s economic success.” Smith has made education reform a major part of his plan to strengthen New Hampshire and make it a leader in the 21st Century economy.

Among its many components, Kevin Smith’s education plan promotes school choice, vouchers, teacher tenure reform, merit pay, stronger support for charter schools, empowering families and students, and local control.

Kevin Smith has commented:

“If we are to put New Hampshire on a path toward prosperity and economic competitiveness, we must strengthen public schools and choice in education. We cannot compete in the 21st Century economy without a skilled workforce, and that begins with giving students the tools they need early in their academic lives. Improving public schools and providing parents and students with greater choice and flexibility to get the education they need is a vital component to ensuring that New Hampshire doesn’t fall behind its economic competitors in the future.”

You can’t just say you’ll be an education governor, you need to actually do something about it and put forth a plan…[My plan] calls for empowering families and students, encouraging merit based pay and tenure reform, giving greater flexibility to administrators, strengthening support for charter schools, passing school choice, and allowing our education system to address the different needs of all our students.” (

Smith’s primary opponent, Ovide Lamontagne, has routinely touted his experience as the former Chairman of the State Board of Education as a way of promoting his candidacy for Governor.

Like Kevin Smith, Lamontagne agrees that New Hampshire should pass a Constitutional Amendment to return the authority to fund public education to the legislature and remove the issue from the Courts. However, that’s where Lamontagne’s education “plan” stops, and Smith's begins!

Except for two sentencesand only two sentences – published on his web site that loosely address education reform in very general terms, Lamontagne has not put forth a plan to reform and improve education in New Hampshire.

Lamontagne’s entire education plan reads:

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Conversely, Kevin Smith has proven to be the most substantive candidate – Republican or Democrat – in the race for Governor. Smith’s education plan is, in deed, a full plan and includes much more than two sentences specifically addressing ways to truly reform public education, strengthen New Hampshire’s schools, and empower students and families.






Support a Constitutional Amendment that gets the Courts out of the education system and returns the authority to fund and make education policy to the legislature and Governor.


Institute a tax credit against the Business Profits Tax (BPT) that encourages businesses to provide scholarships to K-12 students (enacted this year after the legislature over-turned Governor Lynch’s veto)


Empower parents and give them choices to select the schools they want their children to attend, whether public, private or charter.


Phase in a Money Follows the Child (MFC) program, whereby state and local education funding is tied to the child, not the local district. The MFC program would:

o   Provide funding amounts equal to 90% of the per pupil funding in the town where the student resides

o   Initially offer the program to all students with family incomes below the poverty line

o   Make available 5,000 MFC program opportunities in the first year, 10,000 in the second year, to every family under the poverty line in years three through five, and universally for all families from year six onward.


Provide $6,500 for each charter school student not covered by the MFC program in the first five years of the program.


Formalize merit as the basis for teacher salary increases, rather than seniority.


Reform tenure rules so that school districts can keep their best teachers regardless of how long they have been working, allowing the top 20% of teachers over a period of five years to receive tenure, as well as suspending tenure for those teachers who fall into the bottom 10% while allowing them the opportunity to earn it back.


Leave non-salary and benefit issues in the hands of administrators and school boards allowing them greater flexibility to manage non-contract related issues in schools.


Fund a state apprenticeship/ scholarship program for students that graduate high school in three years or less.


Support high state standards for learning and instruction in public education while resisting federal interference and mandates. This includes fighting to reform No Child Left Behind’s costly and burdensome regulations on New Hampshire’s schools and towns.


Always promote greater local control of education.


Work closely with New Hampshire’s educational and business communities to ensure that the state is producing a young workforce that is skilled and ready to participate in a 21st Century economy here at home.


Encourage greater learning opportunities for students in elementary and high school by taking advantage of New Hampshire’s innovative competency-based education requirements and allowing students the opportunity to receive academic credit outside of the four walls of the classroom.



Support a Constitutional Amendment that gets the Courts out of the education system and returns the authority to fund and make education policy to the legislature and Governor.


“A highly educated workforce is a key component of economic success. Our students deserve every opportunity to be prepared for employment in today’s global economy. As Governor, I will work to introduce real reforms to our educational system, such as school choice, while promoting partnerships among our universities, community colleges, technical schools, high schools and businesses so that academic coursework is linked to the real needs of the state’s employers.”




Kevin Smith has said that New Hampshire can’t afford to fall behind other states:

“States like Florida, Louisiana, Indiana and others have made significant progress in passing reforms, such as vouchers and merit pay. And, in each case, students have been the beneficiaries. Bureaucrats and labor unions may not like reform, but their grip on the status quo isn’t doing anyone any good. New Hampshire is falling behind other states, but when I’m governor that will change, and we’ll restore New Hampshire's position as a leader in public education." (

Smith has noted his support for a Constitutional Amendment, but says that it’s only a start:

“I’ll work tirelessly to pass a Constitutional Amendment to once and for all put the authority to make and fund education policy back in the hands of the legislature. But, a Constitutional Amendment is only one piece to improving education in our state. Students benefit from competition and choice – just like in our economy. If we can make strides in shoring up charter schools, passing a voucher program, and giving administrators and teachers greater flexibility in education, everyone benefits and schools get better.” (