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Wrong again, Charlie. NHDOE projections of charter funding are precise and conservative

Mr. Arlinghaus’ erroneous column from two days ago has been pulled from the web.  The Union Leader, running a correction for the biggest error, agrees that NHDOE was the author of a financial analysis clearly labeled as coming from NHDOE.  (The column made  other errors as well, like misunderstanding which bill was actually under discussion.) (more…)

HB 435, to increase charter funding, sent to interim study.

The New Hampshire House voted 167-151 this afternoon to send to interim study HB 435, the bill that would have fundamentally changed how charter schools are funded in New Hampshire.

This was a good step.  Now it will be important for all who support the good work that charters do to help the study committee this summer figure out a way for New Hampshire charters to thrive alongside district schools.

NHDOE confirms the validity of its analysis that HB 435 carries a very high cost for NH

Apparently Matt Southerton, Director, NH Center for Innovative Schools, wrote to NHDOE Commissioner Virginia Barry questioning the authenticity of this clearly marked analysis of the impact of HB 435, the bill to charter school tuition aid.  This morning, the Department of Education responded with this letter to Mr. Southerton.

The first point to make is that, as I said here this morning, the projections are obviously made – with great attention to detail – by NHDOE.  In addition, NHDOE responded point-by-point to a number of the objections Mr. Southerton apparently raised in his letter – points which were faithfully repeated by Charlie Arlinghaus in his Union Leader column this morning.

This should end the back and forth about the authenticity and validity of the NHDOE projections.  The only question now is whether House members think New Hampshire can afford to build a second, state-funded, charter school system in addition to our locally-funded public schools.

NHDOE projections are realistic. HB 435 will change charter funding forever.

Take this to be bank: Charlie Arlinghaus is wrong in today’s Union Leader about the source of the charter funding projections I post here and about the impact of HB 435, the bill to change the way charters are funded in New Hampshire.  He’s even wrong about what the bill says.

Here are the facts: (more…)

Message to NH House members: HB 435 would increase charter funding by $30 million in the next 3 years

You will vote on HB 435 this week – for the second time.  When you passed HB 435 through to Finance in January, the bill may have looked like a proposal to use up a little extra appropriation in the charter schools account.  Now it is clear that HB 435 is a much bigger step than that. (more…)

New NHDOE projections show the high cost of charter schools in New Hampshire

It’s difficult to make accurate projections about future charter enrollments and costs.  How fast will existing schools expand?  How soon will new ones get started?  How much would charters cost under various funding projections?

I have done projections based on the best figures I could put together.  And now the New Hampshire Department of Education has released its own calculations.  The NHDOE projections are similar to mine but their figures suggest that, where I projected that HB 435 could cost the State $25 million more over the next three years, NHDOE thinks the figure could be closer to $30 million.

In both cases, these are predictions so it is important to read the assumptions in the footnotes, but the message is the same: charter school funding has been growing fast in New Hampshire and HB 435 will further accelerate that growth.

Should adequacy funding pay for charter school expansion?


HB 435 will come to the House floor in March with a recommendation of interim study (13-8) from the Finance Committee.

The bill carries a large price tag.

Now that charter enrollment is growing so quickly, the $1,231 per student increase in HB 435, with further automatic increases every year, would have a major impact on the General Fund.  If enrollment continues to grow at its current rate, the price tag for HB 435 could be as much as $117 million over the next 3 years. (more…)

Why NOT increase charter funding?

Charter funding is growing quickly

Pending in the New Hampshire Legislature right now are four charter bills that would significantly increase charter school enrollment and general fund appropriations.  Taken together, these bills highlight a possible transition in New Hampshire charter school policy.

The primary objective DOE gives for the New Hampshire charter program is to serve “educationally disadvantaged students most at risk.” But, as charter enrollment has been doubling every three years and expenditures have ballooned from $3.5 in 2009 to and estimated $22,7 million in 2015, the role of New Hampshire’s charters has shifted.

New Hampshire’s charter school budget is growing fast

HB 435 and the other pending charter bills represent a significant increase in New Hampshire’s already escalating charter school expenditures.

Charter enrollment and expenditures are growing quickly

Here’s a chart showing enrollment and expenditures since 2007, projected out to 2019.  Enrollment is projected at current growth rates.  Expenditures are projected based on HB 435.

Click for details

Charter school enrollment in New Hampshire has been doubling every three years.  In 2009, leaving aside the Virtual Learning Charter School (VLACS), we had 585 charter students in New Hampshire, most in charters aimed at helping at-risk children.  This school year, we have about 1,977 charter students, the great majority of whom attend high end charters.  Next year, NHDOE estimates that enrollment will be 2,884.  None of the four new charters starting up next September or the 10 charters in the application pipeline will focus on at-risk students.


Rep. Ken Weyler introduces more charter school bills to the NH House Education Committee

Rep. Weyler (R-Kingston) had two charter bills before the House Education Committee last week.  HB 1392 repeals  RSA 194-B:3-a, V(c), which says,

“Not more than 10 percent of the resident pupils in any grade shall be eligible to transfer to a chartered public school in any school year without the approval of the local school board.”

And HB 1393 requires school districts to pay charter schools a portion of the tuition under certain circumstances.

Taken together, the two bills promote accelerated growth of charter enrollments by enabling large scale replacement of district schools by charter schools as seen in recent years in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and other cities.

Here is Rep. Weyler’s testimony about HB 1392.  He does not really give a reason for wanting to remove the 10% limit on annual transfers.  He does make a couple of points, though.