Parents and charter school supporters are celebrating a small but important victory tonight as the charter school funding bill (HB563 as amended) was voted out of committee with a recommendation of "ought to pass". In a vote of 14-10, all republicans present voted in support of the modest increase in funding while all democrats present voted against it.
Last year a similar bill gained bipartisan support until it was eventually killed along party lines. If passed and signed into law, HB563 as amended would increase charter school funding by $36 per pupil next year and $1,036 after that.
New Hampshire charter schools are currently the lowest funded charter schools in the nation receiving about $5,500 per pupil or about 38% of the state average cost per pupil. When SB539 overhauled the education funding formula in 2009-10, charter schools were included. The legislative intent of SB539 was to provide NH public charter schools with permanent sustainable funding. NH charter schools were woven into the fabric of public education funding receiving $3,450 in adequacy plus a $2,000 stipend to represent disparity aid because NH public charters do not currently benefit directly from local tax dollars. Since that time, charter school funding has remained flat.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY AT A GLANCE
Bills that encouraged or discouraged public charters between 2002 & 2014
Contrasting support and opposition between 2010 & 2014.