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Entries in Charter Schools (43)

Monday
Jun152015

NH Center For Innovative Schools - Fate of NH charters to be decided this week 

June 14, 2015
In this issue

Over the next week the New Hampshire state legislature will quite literally decide the fate of New Hampshire's public charter school program. New Hampshire charter schools are currently the lowest funded charters in the nation receiving about $5,500 per pupil. After six years of flat funding these schools are at risk and an update to the funding formula must occur this session. If action is not taken we risk damaging these high-quality public schools and tumbling toward a "race to the bottom" as families seek opportunity in other states.

Original Intent of HB563

According to HB563's prime sponsor Representative Ken Weyler, the original intent of HB563 was to link per pupil funding to 50% of the state average cost per pupil. This would provide a natural increase in per pupil funding as costs rise. HB563 was changed in committee however and as amended would provide a modest $36 dollar per pupil increase in year one (this is not a typo) and a $1,036 increase per pupil in year two. Per pupil funding would remain relatively static after year two. (Readers should note that HB563 received bipartisan in the House including almost all House republicans and over two dozen democrats).

 

The Senate initially voted to support HB563 (no senate democrats voted in favor of HB563) however the Senate then voted to table the bill and address charter funding in the budget. See section below, "House VS Senate Budget". 

House VS Senate Budget
Although the Senate budget appears to spend about $100 million more than the House, it cuts $3 million from the charter school line item. It does this by reducing the increase in per pupil aid passed in the House budget by 75% to $250.
 

To help illustrate the critical need to address funding this session I would point out that even State Board of Education member Bill Duncan testified in support of a $1,000 per pupil increase in February.
Saturday
May302015

Josiah Bartlett Center - Libertas Dinner and Charter School Funding 

The Busy Month of June

 
There is a lot going on in the world of politics and policy right now. In this weekly update I want to make sure you know some of what’s going on inside the Bartlett center and state government. The state budget is coming to a head just as we are unfolding our annual Libertas dinner (June 17).

The dinner is of course a celebration of economic opportunity and freedom, this year honoring Steve Forbes who reminds us that “free people and free markets are the best answer in today’s economy.” But as our beloved Granite State finds itself at a crossroads, these are more than just words, they are a guide to the policy solutions we face. Too often politicians even here get caught up and decide that competition and supply and demand are outdated concepts. We’re on the other side whether it be alternatives in education or using competition and market forces to better your health care.

If you care to join us June 17 we will celebrate the Bartlett Center itself and our role reminding policy makers of time honored truths. And of course it is our annual fundraiser which helps one check at a time to provide us with the resources to simply exist and do the work that so many count on. Without an endowment or a government sponsor or a large benefactor, we count proving our worth to individuals, one at a time, each and every year – the market forces we extol in so many other areas. Consider joining us. It is in fact the most enjoyable event of the year. To buy your tickets online, click on the invite below. 
 
In the meantime, feel free to peruse information on the funding crisis facing charter schools and their students as well as our continuing efforts to sound the alarm about a very mediocre economy.  
Hope to see you soon,                                            
 
Charlie            

                                 

 


Senate's Charter School Funding would be Devastating

Oddly, State Senators who claim to be supportive of charter schools are doing their best to destroy them. Perhaps charter schools would have been better off to have outright enemies in charge rather than pretend supporters whose token gestures will do more to close these alternative schools than active opposition would.

After years of apathy toward charter schools, the state Senate has signaled its intention to out-mediocre the House and offer these schools the most nominal of Band-Aids that will help the schools almost not at all but create the tiniest of fig leafs for a handful of politicians.
Click here to keep reading.

Wednesday
Mar252015

NHCharterSchools - NHMA says pay your property taxes or take the money from poor people!? 

Choice would force public schools to pay taxes or

take money from poor people? 

 

This morning lobbyists from the New Hampshire Municipal Association testified against a bill that would have provided property tax relief to public charter schools and sent that money back to the teachers and students where it belongs. The bipartisan bill sponsored by a democrat and a republican passed the house with huge majorities.

 

During testimony (audio file here), a lobbyist representing the NHMA produced an amendment to HB662 and suggested that instead of having municipalities refund property taxes to these public schools that charter schools should be eligible to take money from a program designed to assist low income families.


Now was the lobbyist just doing their job? Maybe, but this is outrageous. Too many groups in Concord are receiving public funds and using them to lobby against parents, students, taxpayers and any number of other issues. Logic and common sense have given way to politics, money and power.  

 

BACKGROUND ON THIS ISSUE

  

PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS 

New Hampshire RSA 72:23 offers property tax exemptions for certain entities in New Hampshire including public schools & charitable organizations that own their own buildings/land.

 

THE ISSUE

1. NH public charter schools do not receive building or construction aid to purchase their own facility.

 

2. New Hampshire state law RSA 194-b:5 prohibits public charter schools from incurring long-term debt until they have been in operation for more than five years.  

 

THE RESULT

Many public charter schools are forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes that they should not.

 

HOW TO FIX THIS

HB662 would modify RSA 72:23 granting New Hampshire public charter schools that lease facility space from an entity that is not tax exempt, a reimbursement for the amount they paid.

 

It is a common sense bill, a no brainer, at least until the lobbyists arrive.

 

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Saturday
Mar142015

Josiah Bartlett Center - Charter Schools and The Budget Trailer Bill 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

March 13, 2015
 
Over the last twelve years charter schools have become a small but critically important part of New Hampshire’s education infrastructure. Today, they are under threat by a legislative apathy that threatens to starve them to death. Some opponents are content to ignore any problems hoping no one will notice as the schools fight a struggle for survival. Soft supporters are equally guilty of destruction through apathy – one can’t claim to support something and then ignore it to the point of destruction. Click here to keep reading.
 
 
The State budget consists of two bills, traditionally numbered House Bill 1 (HB1) and House Bill 2 (HB2). HB1 is essentially a spreadsheet laying out spending levels, while HB2 contains all of the legal language to make it work on the spending side, as well as any changes needed to the tax code on the revenue side. Most of the 117 items contained in the Governor’s bill are technical details, but inevitably some new policy makes it in as well. Below are some of the major changes, and all of the tax and fee increases included. Click here to keep reading.
Tuesday
Mar102015

NH Charter School News and Updates 

In this issue

Dear charter school parents and supporters,

 

This is an important week for the future of charter schools in New Hampshire. Tomorrow morning March 10th, voters from the Monadnock Regional School District will decide the fate of the Gilsum STEAM Academy (GSA). Teachers & parents are fighting to keep their public school open by converting it to a public charter school. Learn more

 

On Wednesday March 11th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives will vote on the charter school funding bill, HB563. HB563 as amended would increase charter school funding at a time when the schools desperately need it. Learn more

 

There are so many amazing things happening in our public schools that we couldn't possibly include them all in one newsletter but we have included some highlights below. If you have any questions about NH public charters or want to learn more, we would encourage you to contact us or a charter school in your area.


Matt Southerton

Director, NH Center for Innovative Schools

matt@nhcharterschools.org 

Office: 603-224-0366

Cell: 603-303-8070  

For up to the minute news on everything charter, please visit us on Facebook and Twitter

FUNDING BILL HEADED TO FLOOR VOTE

 

Charter school supporters celebrated a small but important victory this week as the charter school funding bill (HB563 as amended) was voted out of committee with a recommendation of "ought to pass". HB563 will go up for a vote before the full House of Representatives on March 11th. 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. hb563 

 

 
Background
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.
PARENTS & TEACHERS FIGHT TO SAVE  PUBLIC SCHOOL

  

Tomorrow morning March 10th, voters of the Monadnock Regional School District will decide the fate of the Gilsum STEAM Academy (GSA). Teachers & administrators are urging voters to keep their public school open by voting, NO on article 9 .... YES on article 10. The group hopes to then convert GSA into a public charter school which would save taxpayer money.gilsum 

 

As a STEAM school, GSA's mission focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. 

  

For voter information please visit: http://www.mrsd.org/news.cfm?story=99314&school=0

 

To learn more about the movement to save GSA please visit: PTA Facebook page

ASD WINS REGIONAL SCIENCE BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP

 

This week a team from the Academy for Science and Design Charter School (ASD) won the 2015 Northern New England Science Bowl Regional Championship. The team will be competing at the National Science Bowl in Washington DC in April.

 

Our hats are off to the teachers and students of this public charter that continues to excel to new heights!

 

 

About ASD

ASD is a public charter school specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). Its mission is to graduate well-rounded students with the capacity for high achievement and leadership in their colleges, careers, and society. To learn more about ASD please visit: http://www.asdnh.org/ 

NHPCSA CHILI COOK-OFF

The NH Public Charter School Association recently held its annual "chili cook-off" in Concord. Schools from around the state battled it out for the crown but in the end it was a tie! The Birches Academy Charter School from Salem and the North Country Academy Charter School from Littleton shared the title. The event gave New Hampshire state legislators an opportunity to learn more about these public schools and cast their vote for the best chili. More photos from the event are available at: www.facebook.com/NHCharterSchools 

 

(Senator Jeanie Forrester & Senator John Reagan visit with students from GBECS)

  

 

PARENT FEEDBACK - WHY CHOOSE A CHARTER?

 

The first charter school opened in New Hampshire about nine years ago. It hasn't been an easy journey for anyone but nothing worth fighting for ever is. The reflections below are from parents who have been kind enough to share their thoughts. While this is certainly not a scientific study, it does help one to understand why some parents have chosen a charter school and the benefits that it has made in their child's life.

 

We share this feedback with you not to diminish our traditional public schools but to celebrate the power of increased education options for all families.

 

Jennifer wrote: "The charter school has ignited our son's desire to learn. Alternatively our daughter loves her district school. More choice!"

 

Amanda wrote: "We chose the Charter School because of our daughters love of the Arts & this suited her perfectly. We could not be more happy"

 

Ruth wrote: "I have never seen him so excited about going to school...The school is always looking to achieve higher standards."

 

Kathy wrote: "As a parent of a special needs student attending a charter school I have been amazed... My son is in his second year at a charter school and is finally excelling. He is treated with respect and value."

 

If you would like to share some aspect of your journey in a public charter school we would like to hear from you. Please use our Parent Feedback form and specify whether or not we may share your thoughts.

 

Thank you! 

 

Matt