May 15, 2015
Dear charter school parents,
We regret to inform you that yesterday the New Hampshire State Senate voted to table the charter school funding bill HB563. I know that many of you have questions and I will do my best to answer them.
The Senate initially voted to support HB563 which would have kept the bill alive and moved it to the senate finance committee. After the initial vote however Senator Bradley moved to table the bill. That vote passed so the bill will not move forward and is effectively dead.
But I thought the Senate Supported Charter Schools?
So did we. A number of bills that passed the House with strong bipartisan support have languished or died in the senate this year.
Schools will start closing next year unless the Senate joins with the House to update the funding formula.
1 - The Senate could decide to include HB563's language in their version of the budget.
2 - The Senate could agree to the House version of the budget.
3 - The Senate may decide to hold increased funding hostage for concessions from the House during budget negotiations.
What can I do as a parent?
Stay involved and hold legislators accountable for their votes. Republicans are in charge in the Senate and it is up to them to make this right.
Background on HB563
HB563 as amended would provide a modest $36 dollar increase in the first year (this is not a typo) and update the funding formula to increase per pupil aid by $1,000 starting in year two of the budget. Per pupil aid for charters has remained flat since 2009 and these schools are at risk.
"Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" Justice Louis D. Brandeis
BACKGROUND - HOUSE VOTES TO SUPPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 222-116 to support increased funding for public charter schools. All but five republicans voteds in support of HB563 joined by twenty eight democrats.
NH public 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. NH charter schools receive $3,500 in state adequacy plus a $2,000 stipend to represent disparity aid because NH public charters do not currently benefit directly from local tax dollars.