Press Releases


Entries in School Choice (132)


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 

Office: 603-224-0366

Cell: 603-303-8070  

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



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 


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.


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:


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



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: 


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: 


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





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! 




AmericaNext - What They Are Saying: America Next's Education Plan 


What They Are Saying About

America Next’s Roadmap to Education Reform

Read the full plan here


“His proposal, critically, leads with parental choice,’ Burke told The Daily Signal. ‘It includes smart policy such as eliminating assignment-by-Zip code policies, having dollars follow students to educational options of choice, and unbundling education financing from the delivery of services.”

The Daily Signal, "Jindal Emphasizes Teacher Tenure Reform, School Choice in Sweeping Education Plan", February 9, 2015


“Jindal bluntly charges that continuing with the current failed public education system means that American government, as created by the framers, cannot survive.”

Breitbart, "Jindal Urges Parental Choice, Limited Government, And End To Teacher Tenure In Sweeping Education Policy Plan", February 10, 2015


“[Jindal] attacked Common Core…as ‘a top-down, factory based approach’ to schooling.”

Bloomberg, "Jindal Attacks Common Core in Washington", February 9, 2015


“School choice is a central pillar in Jindal’s new education roadmap, which aims to enable education dollars to ‘follow the child,’ meaning they could be used as parents and families deem best…”

The Daily Signal, "Bobby Jindal on Anti-Common Core Moms: ‘I Wouldn’t Bet Against Them", February 9, 2015


“[Jindal] saying that supporters of Common Core are aligning with Washington bureaucrats and against families that want more control over their children’s education.”

Washington Times, "Bobby Jindal: Common Core supporters stand with D.C. bureaucrats", February 9, 2015


“…The education proposal stands out from the pack, thanks to the governor’s growing status as one of the most savage critics of Common Core.”

The Daily Caller, "Jindal Unveils National Plan To Repeal Common Core", February 9, 2015


“Jindal’s reform plan [will] expand parent choice and trust parents to make the right choices, limit the role and power of the federal government, and overhaul the way teachers are hired…”

National Review Online, "Jindal Sets Up an Early 2016 Cycle Clash on Common Core", February 9, 2015


“Jindal is taking one of his top issues and framing it as a core aspect of the most fundamental Republican issue: the scope and size of the federal government.”

CNN, "Common Core fight a larger battle over the size of government", February 9, 2015


“The plan would expand school choice policies to children nationwide and push back against Common Core, among other significant education reforms.”

The Washington Examiner, "Jindal releases education plan while ramping up for 2016", February 9, 2015


“At the heart of his proposal is a total repudiation of Common Core, as well as a general rollback of federal authority, increased school choice options for parents and greater administrative freedom for educators.”

The Daily Caller, "Jindal Unveils National Plan To Repeal Common Core", February 9, 2015


“[Jindal] said [Common Core], originally touted as a state-based effort to improve education standards, morphed into a system of greater federal control of schools.”

National Review Online, "Jindal Sets Up an Early 2016 Cycle Clash on Common Core", February 9, 2015


“Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called for reducing the role of the federal Department of Education.”

The Washington Examiner, "Jindal calls for smaller federal Department of Education", February 9, 2015


Josiah Bartlett Center - Gov's Budget, Trains, and School Choice 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

February is that exciting time of the year when the governor gives us a special valentine in the form of her budget address. Much better than candy or flowers, it is an outline of the two-year state budget – the policy document that guides every little thing the government does and defines an administration. With government currently divided, we should listen carefully to see if this critical address is meaningless theater or the first step toward something constructive happening despite political antagonism. Click here to keep reading.

This week, the Capitol Corridor Rail and Transit Study’s final report was released. The study, which began in 2013, examined a number of transit options for the corridor, with most of the public and political attention focused on the possibility of extending commuter rail into the state. The final study looked at 7 transit options, three for commuter rail, three for bus and a ‘no build’ option. These options were reduced to 5 with the elimination of two of the bus proposals from further consideration. This piece details the commuter rail options presented in the report. Click here to keep reading.

Last month we celebrated School Choice Week here at the Center, highlighting all of the great things that happen when parents are empowered to make get the best education possible for their children. 

A short documentary, Live Free and Learn, was produced by our friends at Cato, that details the School Choice Scholarship Tax Credit here in New Hampshire, and the impact it is having on education.

a podcast featuring our own Charlie Arlinghaus discussing education reform in New Hampshire. Click here to listen.


Daily Signal - Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Wedding or Go to Jail 


NH Rep O'Brien - Supreme Court decision on Duncan v. State of New Hampshire 

In 2012 the New Hampshire legislature overrode Democrat Gov. Lynch’s veto and passed the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a law intended to give the children from poor and medium income families the opportunity to get the same educational opportunities that the children of Gov. Lynch and so many of his well-heeled political and union boss friends enjoy.  This pro-educational choice law allows businesses to give a very limited amount of their pretax dollars to private charities set up to give all but a small percentage of the funds they receive to educate children from families earning no more than 300% of the federal poverty line.
Ever since this law came into effect, vested educational industry interests, led by those who do not have to send their children to failing schools, have tried to reverse Gov. Lynch’s failed gubernatorial veto with a judicial veto.  They forum-shopped for a favorable judge.  They had that judge issue a decision limiting the law based on premise that would make any liberal smile: he said, in effect, that all your money first belongs to the government, so if government leaves some to you after taxes with the knowledge that you might spend it on a religious-based education, then government is supporting religion.
This trial court decision has now been subject to review in the New Hampshire Supreme Court and fortunately, it was reversed.  The decision found the plaintiffs lack standing to be in court challenging this law.  As a consequent, the Supreme Court overturned this clearly erroneous decision. 
The Supreme Court today rejected the trial court’s decision that in effect would have told the NH Legislature to be hostile and not neutral toward religions.  Our state constitution does not lay the foundation for such a radical and harmful government.
New Hampshire scholarship students will be able to attend the schools of their choice.  They and their parents will decide and if their decisions are for religious schools or secular schools, it will be up to them and not up to vested education industry interests trying to corral all students into failed government schools.
Decades of union and liberal tinkering and reforms have tainted the splendor of what was a public education system that was the envy of the world.  We must do better for our children.  We must expand the education choices available to all families, even those not as rich as the present and past New Hampshire governors opposing educational choice and the lead plaintiff in the Duncan case.  The journey to a better education for our children must and will continue.