Update: this hearing will not be held on November 9. It will now be held on December 14
The Manifest Educational Hardship (MEH) rule has expired and the State Board of Education has begun the process of revising the rule. The board has adopted an “Initial Proposed Rule” (page 3 of the board packet, here). The public hearing will be held during its next board meeting, November 9, 2017, at the department of education, 101 Pleasant St., Concord. (Time will not be set until the meeting agenda is published a week or so before the meeting).
The board’s proposed rule is the result of months of negotiation among attorneys, advocates and experts representing parents and school boards. In fact, this same draft of the rule was adopted as a “Final Proposed Rule” in February, after stakeholder meetings and a public hearing but it was pulled back by the department to give the new commissioner an opportunity to draft his own recommended revisions of the rule (here is what the department proposed at that time and here on p. 7 is the department’s revised proposal presented to October SBOE meeting). The board did not agree to these proposals but did agree to await possible legislative changes that would affect MEH. Seeing none, the board has now re-proposed the same rule, but the process must be started again from scratch.
It is not clear what changes the department will advocate for in the future but if something like these two drafts were actually implemented, it would constitute a dramatic change in the statute and its impact. Here is our detailed analysis of the proposed changes.
Any one of these changes would be a significant disruption to the functioning of New Hampshire schools. If several changes like these were incorporated into a manifest educational hardship statute, the new statute would almost create a new system of universal school choice in New Hampshire, funded by local property tax revenue as well as the state general fund.
Anyone may testify at the hearing or submit comments on the rule by email (Click here for the email addresses).