Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

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School Funding & Property Taxes 101 Forums

ANHPE readers are well familiar with the School Funding & Property Taxes 101 forums being held to rave reviews throughout the State.  Requests continue to flow in from school districts and communities but also Rotary Clubs and many other civic groups.  The NH School Funding Fairness Project will continue to hold forums and advocate for equity.  If your group would like to hold a forum, click here.

 

 

 

A big hurdle remains for Learn Everywhere

The following op-ed by Bill Duncan was published in the Concord Monitor on July 24, 2019.

We are at an interesting juncture in the debate over Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposed Learn Everywhere program. The legislative committee charged with ensuring that proposed agency rules conform with the statutes they implement (that’s the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, JLCAR) has, by a party-line vote of 6-4, lodged a “preliminary objection” to the Learn Everywhere program in a letter listing many problems. Central to the committee’s concerns is the provision that New Hampshire high schools “shall” accept graduation credits created by private groups accredited by the State Board of Education (SBOE).

Normally, when JLCAR sends a proposed rule back with a preliminary objection, the agency makes the required changes and resubmits the rule to JLCAR for a virtually assured final approval. That does not seem likely in this case.

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NH School Funding Fairness Project Newsletter 7/22/19

As Summer Sizzles, Let’s Turn Up the Heat on the Budget!

What’s been happening at the State House

There’s still no news on a budget deal between the Governor and legislative leaders, although both sides have been hard at work trying to gather support for their positions.  On July 11, the Governor wrote a letter to all NH select boards, explaining his rationale for vetoing the budget and asking them to send a representative to an informational meeting with him.  That meeting took place last Friday, behind closed doors.  Apparently, some municipal leaders weren’t shy about letting him know the hardships they face due to uncertainty over, and reductions in, state funding.  

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An eloquent reminder of good things happening in our public schools

Sometimes it feels as if public education is under siege.  Lately the education news has been mostly about reductions in school funding and the Education Commissioner’s latest privatization effort, Learn Everywhere.  But it’s important to stop now and then and celebrate all the good things happening in our public schools.  A recent column in the Concord Monitor, by former teacher-of-the-year Heidi Crumrine, did just that.  

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Governor’s Budget Veto Hurts Students and Property Taxpayers

The following was published in the Concord Monitor as a “My Turn” piece on July 10, 2019.

In the wake of the Governor’s veto of the budget bill, many school districts are reeling.  The bill would have given them significant new funding ($138 million across the state), with much of it directed to property-poor or low income communities whose schools and property taxpayers have been pushed to the brink by repeated cuts in state aid. These communities have less valuable property to tax than their property-wealthy counterparts, so they’ve faced a double burden –   they must tax themselves at much higher rates, but even with such sacrifices they are unable to spend as much per pupil. (more…)

As budget talks continue, keep up the pressure for fair school funding!

NH School Funding Fairness Project Newsletter, July 7, 2019

Now that budget negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, there’s no real news to report. However, as the Governor and legislative leaders try to reach a compromise on state spending, it’s important that they continue to hear from voters concerned about the school funding crisis.  Let them know that, even though it’s summer and they’re meeting outside of public view, you’re still paying attention and you expect them to do what’s right for our schools and communities.  Talking points and contact information are below. (more…)

Governor’s Veto Deals Blow to Schools and Property Taxpayers

As you may have heard, on Friday Governor Sununu vetoed the budget proposed by the Committee of Conference (“CofC”), which had passed the House and Senate on purely party lines.  Unfortunately, this means that everything the CofC put in the budget is back on the table and potentially on the chopping block – including the $138 million in new school aid and $40 M in municipal aid that districts and towns were hoping to see.  The veto leaves school districts in a quandary as they make staffing and other decisions for the school year ahead.    (more…)

Action Plan for School Funding – Call the Governor and Come to Concord!

We reported earlier about the budget deal reached by the committee of conference, which would send $138M in new aid to school districts.  See below for more detail.

Unfortunately, the Governor has threatened to veto the deal, and the veto could come as early as next Thursday, June 27.  A veto would delay, and possibly prevent altogether, the additional funding that communities so desperately need right now, and could leave school districts facing another devastating 4% reduction in stabilization funding.

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Budget committee proposes significant new funding for schools – it’s time to contact the Governor!!

Yesterday the members of the Committee of Conference on the state budget struck a deal on school funding.  If their plan is approved by the full House and Senate and signed by the Governor, $138 million in new funding will be sent to struggling school districts around the state.  This kind of increase in school funding hasn’t been seen in decades, and it’s a significant step toward addressing the inequities inherent in our current funding structure.  The plan also includes the establishment of an independent commission to study and recommend a sustainable, constitutional, long term solution to the school funding crisis.  And $40 million in municipal aid will be an additional boost to communities whose taxpayers have been stretched to their limits, in large part because of the State’s downshifting of school costs to localities. (more…)

UL: “Opposition coalesces as ‘Learn Everywhere’ goes up for a vote Thursday”

A front page story in today’s Union Leader front page tees up tomorrow’s State Board of Education vote on Learn Everywhere, Commissioner Edelblut’s personal effort to begin the process of privatizing public education in New Hampshire.  Highlights: (more…)

Union Leader editorial parodies school funding proposals to arrive at school choice as the response to the ConVal decision

Today’s Union Leader school funding editorial opens with,

The latest court decision regarding education funding in New Hampshire presents either a great opportunity or a further slide in New Hampshire’s advantage over other states

The editorial proceeds on a twisted trail trying to debunk the whole notion established in the New Hampshire Constitution that the opportunity for an adequate education is a fundamental right of every child in the state.

The great opportunity, of course, is school choice.

If that’s actually the starting point for opponents of school funding fairness, it’s hard to imagine a consensus solution.