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Entries in School Choice (131)

Thursday
Apr022015

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.

 

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

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.

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
Mar212015

NH Charter School News and Legislative Updates 

Dear charter school parents and supporters,

 

Last week the charter school funding bill HB563 received strong support from the House of Representatives and now moves to the State Senate. Learn More 

 

On March 10th, voters from the Monadnock Regional School District turned out in support of the Gilsum STEAM Academy, a public K-6 focusing on the arts & sciences. Learn More

 

There are many wonderful things happening in our public schools, too many to include in one newsletter but we have included some highlights below.


Matt Southerton

Director, NH Center for Innovative Schools

matt@nhcharterschools.org 
 

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

FUNDING BILL HEADED TO STATE SENATE

 

Charter school supporters celebrated last week after the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 222-116 to support increased funding for public charter schools.

 

Emotion overcame decorum as parents and students cheered as the vote was announced. Twenty eight democrats joined all but five republicans to support HB563. The bill now moves to the State Senate where supporters hope to see it quickly move through committee and to a floor vote.

 

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
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.

VOTERS SAY YES TO GILSUM STEAM ACADEMY

  

On Tuesday March 10th, voters of the Monadnock Regional School District voted to keep the Gilsum STEAM Academy open for the next five years. As a STEAM school, GSA's mission hopes to bring alive student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. At a time when the Governor's Taskforce on STEM Education has recommended increasing options in STEM education, it would have been a shame to close this public school.

 

On Tuesday afternoon I attended a meeting of stakeholders representing the school board, administrators and parents as they worked on their application to become the state's first charter conversion school. We can't wait to see this talented group move forward!

STUDENTS COMPETE AT NH STATE TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE

 

gilsumOver eighty students from the Academy for Science and Design Charter School will be competing in the NH State Technology Student Association conference in Lincoln today and tomorrow. GL ASD!

 

 

About ASD

ASD is a public charter school specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). To learn more about ASD please visit them at www.asdnh.org

SHOWCASING STUDENT TALENT FROM GSAA

 

Granite State Arts Academy (GSAA) has produced a new video featuring artwork and commentary from their students and staff. The talent exhibited by these students in just the first year is impressive. This video speaks to the need for increased options in public education and the results that we can achieve when we allow children the freedom to find a program that is right for them.

 

To learn more please visit them at www.granitestateartsacademy.com
 

ALABAMA PASSES PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL LAW

 

Our friends at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools have been busy fighting to increase public options coast to coast. Their most recent achievement? Helping the state of Alabama to become the 43rd state in the nation to pass a public charter school law!

 

 

 

To learn more about NAPCS please visit them at: www.publiccharters.org

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

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