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More School Funding 101 Forums announced

ANHPE readers are well familiar with the School Funding 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.

Here are the next scheduled forums:

Plymouth:  May 1 at 6:00 p.m. in room 220, Hyde Hall, Plymouth State University

Wolfeboro:  May 8 at 7:00 p.m at Wolfeboro Town Hall, 84 South Main Street, Wolfeboro

North Conway:  May 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Kennett High School, Loynd Auditorium, 409 Eagle’s Way, North Conway



Held Back: Why N.H. Still Struggles to Answer School Funding Questions – NHPR

NHPR has inaugurated a weekly series on education funding in the State, broadcast every Thursday morning.  The first installment provides historical context.  Here are some highlights:

Last week, the ConVal School District sued the state, claiming that lawmakers are failing to fund an “adequate education” and that local taxpayers are shouldering more than their fair share.

This isn’t the first time New Hampshire has seen an education funding lawsuit. Districts across the state – from Claremont to Pittsfield – made similar arguments in court decades ago. And they won.

But many say the battle is far from over.


Do supporters consider the Learn Everywhere program viable only if it eliminates local control?

In discussing Learn Everywhere at their March 14 meeting, SBOE members appeared to consider the program viable only if Learn Everywhere groups were granted a free pass to issue graduation credits at any New Hampshire high school.  There seemed to be a feeling that there would be no point to the program if SB 140 passed.

SB 140 merely reaffirms current practice.  It says, “Each local school board shall determine whether to grant academic credit for alternative, extended learning, and work-based programs.”

But there’s another way to see the Learn Everywhere program.  Seen as a partnership between local school boards and the State Board of Education, Learn Everywhere could serve as SBOE’s effort to expand the highly successful Extended Learning Opportunities program already in place in most New Hampshire high schools.  (more…)

A comprehensive report from Reaching Higher NH on the March 14 SBOE discussion of the proposed Learn Everywhere program

Here is a full and detailed post on the Learn Everywhere discussion held by the board on March 14.  This is the kind of coverage we need to make the State Board of Education fully understandable to parents and voters.  The post itself is hard to improve upon so we will not provide highlights here.  Just read it!

One surprising element is the mention of a March 18 “invitation only” stakeholders meeting to discuss needed changes to the Learn Everywhere rules.  This kind of meeting is frequently used to gather input on a proposed rule and has always been public in the past.  The board had not been notified of the meeting and was apparently surprised to hear about it.

It’s not clear that there is any statutory basis for holding a nonpublic meeting to take public feedback on proposed rules.  Hopefully, the board’s legal counsel will straighten this out.

ConVal sues to force the State of New Hampshire to fund a constitutionally adequate education

Here are all the court documents so far, and highlights from the NHPR report:

In a move that surprised many education funding advocates, the ConVal School District in southwestern New Hampshire filed a lawsuit today against the state, claiming lawmakers have failed to fund an adequate education.

The complaint names the state of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Department of Education, Governor Sununu and DOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut as defendants.


Conway Daily Sun: “NH Senate supports local control of academic credits.” Indeed – by a vote of 24-0

As the Conway Daily Sun coverage makes clear, the Senate yesterday responded directly to the overreach represented by the governor’s Learn Everywhere proposal, voting unanimously for Senator Jay Kahn’s SB 140.  The House will surely support local control as well.

The State Board of Education, which has had massive pushback on its proposed plan, could put the issue to rest by inserting the Senate’s language into Learn Everywhere when the board next takes up the Ed 1400 rules, possibly at its March 14 meeting.

And Conway School Board member Mark Hounsell has become a forceful new statewide voice for New Hampshire public education.  His quotes from the Sun are highlighted below: (more…)

Conway School Board member Mark Hounsell: Learn Everywhere is “the biggest threat to public education”

The last paragraph of the Conway Daily Sun article sums it up:

According to Hounsell, “The essential difference between Learn Everywhere and ELO’s is that Learn Everywhere is a program of private groups that precludes participation or decision-making by local school boards.”

Here are some highlights: (more…)

In the end, Commissioner Edelblut cannot win a battle over who gets to grant high school graduation credits

Empowering private “Learn Everywhere” groups to grant academic credit leading to high school graduation is the over-the-top priority for the governor and the commissioner.  It would be an education revolution bigger than vouchers.

But Learn Everywhere as currently proposed would be just the first shot in what would become a long running battle.  Return fire will come from the school districts, where the ultimate control of high school diplomas actually lies.  They have lots of options.  They could increase the requirements for diplomas that include Learn Everywhere credits.  Or create special lower value diplomas to carry Learn Everywhere credits that don’t meet their standards.  Or..or…or… (more…)

Much embarrassment all around on Learn Everywhere lobbying misstep

We’ve never seen anything like the current battle over Commissioner Edelblut’s “Learn Everywhere” program.  Everywhere you turn, in the face of wide-spread rejection of this proposal, the commissioner is there with his sales pitch – one-on-one with state board members, in meetings to organize visible support and in direct calls to superintendents seeking their support.

But the dustup in Manchester is a telling setback for the effort. (more…)

Brad Cook in the NH Business Review: It’s time to address school funding!

Brad Cook Sheehan Phinney attorney and potential Republican gubernatorial candidate in years past, has watched the statehouse closely for what seems like forever.  He has taken to the pages of the New Hampshire Business Review to agree with Andy Volinsky and John Tobin about the need for school funding reform.  Here is what he says: (more…)