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Entries in School Choice (135)


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.

NH Charter Schools - Senate votes to table HB563 putting more schools at risk

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.


What Happened?

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.


What's Next?

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



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.


Emotion overcame decorum as parents and students cheered as the vote was announced.


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.

SchoolChoiceNH - Press Conference -- Save Our Kids 

Press Conference -- Save Our Kids

April 28, 2015 at 8:30am in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building, Concord
co-hosted by NH Families for Education and School Choice for NH

The NH Senate votes shortly on the most important education bill of the year, HB 323. It is tied to New Hampshire's No Child Left Behind Waiver. As written the bill establishes a new, untested pilot program, which is to be Regionally-implemented under the control of the Commissioner of Education, not our locally elected school boards. It will require districts to adopt Common Core, in opposition to recently passed legislation to the contrary, SB 101.
In obtaining this two-year waiver Commissioner Virginia Barry committed to transitioning all our public schools over to this Regionally-controlled model. There was no advanced legislative approval for this plan. The Commissioner is seeking legislative approval after-the-fact, even though many of the details of this pilot program are still undetermined. The bill has been written in such a way as to give the Commissioner a blank check to work out these details with the US Department of Education. Why do we need to elect state senators if they are so easily persuaded to abdicate their law-making duties to the Commissioner and US Secretary Arne Duncan?
 A bill that gives broad powers to the Commissioner to re-design our entire statewide assessment system without any checks-and-balances by the legislature is absurd. If the senate approves this legislation, it will have officially abdicated its responsibility to govern.
HB 323 would enable this integrated assessment program and parents would no longer be able to opt-out, or refuse these tests. Parents' rights must be respected.
Our children's education should not be based on untested educational reforms. Local districts should not be forced to relinquish control of their districts to state and federal agencies that are remote and inaccessible. The senate should respect the checks-and-balances built into our political system and not walk away from this important issue.
The Senate Education Committee will hold an executive session starting at 9:00 am at which time they are expected to vote on HB 323.
Please join us for a press conference on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 8:30 am in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building.


Cornerstone - Common Core Prohibition Reaches the Governor's Desk 

Cornerstone Action

 Cornerstone would like to thank the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives for passing an important piece of legislation today. If signed by the Governor, will prohibit the state from requiring implementation of Common Core Standards.

Parents, students and teachers across New Hampshire sent letters and testified in support of SB101 based on the problems they are seeing in their local schools with the implementation of Common Core.  SB101 clarifies that Common Core is not a mandate on schools and that they are free to use better academic standards in their district.
Cornerstone urges Governor Hassan to listen to the people of New Hampshire and sign SB101 into law.  

Executive Director Bryan McCormack commented, "We are grateful that the House and Senate responded in favor of the testimony from numerous parents across New Hampshire. We can do better than Common Core and parents are not only seeing that but taking action for their families. We now hope to sit down with Governor Hassan and discuss the next step for this important bill."

NHCharterSchools - Conflating public schools with liquor stores is idiotic 

Lobbyist suggests liquor stores could be next if public schools get tax exemption!


(Not an April fools joke) 


Yesterday a lobbyist for the New Hampshire Municipal Association (formerly the LGC) testified for a second time against HB662, a bill that would provide property tax relief to public charter schools and redirect the money to teachers and students.


During testimony a lobbyist representing NHMA suggested that if the state were to exempt these public schools from property taxes, that liquor stores in strip malls could be next. (click here for video) Students in the audience appeared distressed at what they had heard.


This is the same group/lobbyist that had previously suggested (audio file here), that instead of requiring their clients to refund property taxes to these public schools that charter schools should take money from a program designed for poor people.


During the hearing, school Director Jennifer Cava testified that her school is forced to pay twice as much in property taxes as it can budget for student textbooks!


After the hearing I spoke with a group of students. It was clear that they were disappointed in the process and some of the legislators. Students expressed appreciation however to Senator Kevin Avard for allowing them speak and Senator David Watters for his support.





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.



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.  



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



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.