Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

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Property-poor N.H. towns mull an education funding lawsuit against the state

Here is a Concord Monitor story on the “School Funding 101” forum held in Pittsfield in June.  Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky and retired New Hampshire Legal Assistance head John Tobin, two attorneys who helped litigate the Claremont cases, are educating parents, citizens, school boards and legislators across the state to the reality that our current school funding mechanism is not constitutional and they are discussing what we can do about it.

If you would like to hold a School Funding 101 forum in your community, give us your contact info, below. (more…)

Concord Monitor Editorial: Education funding is still broken

School funding will be a central issue in the next legislature so we’re catching up on some posts that tee the issue up for readers.  The Concord Monitor has been on top of this issue for quite awhile and in June published this editorial highlighting the plight of Franklin as representative of the broader issue. (more…)

How much does the State of New Hampshire actually contribute to K-12 public education? (Answer: very little)

The debates over vouchers and over whether local school boards must send students to private schools if parents would prefer that are not really about parental choice or private school choice.  They are about money – whether New Hampshire should spend millions of dollars to send a few children to private schools.

But the New Hampshire contribution to public education is already inadequate. (more…)

Why did fundamental good sense prevail on the voucher bill?

SB 193, the statewide voucher bill, appears to have been the highest legislative priority of the Governor and legislative leadership.  It had the support of many Republicans who feel that the State should provide access to private schools in support of parental choice and student needs.  Last fall, it looked sure to pass.  But in the end, the House voted it down by the thinnest of margins.

Here’s a central reason:

Voucher opponents on the State House steps

Voucher opponents on the State House steps


Here are the roll-call votes on HB 1636. Please. Express your appreciation to House members who opposed this debilitating voucher program.

Actually, we’ll present these votes differently from in the past.  There were two votes on HB 1636 on Thursday.  The first was on the motion, “Non-concur, committee of conference.”  The second was just “Non-concur.”  We had urged House members in numerous one-on-one conversations to oppose both motions, for the reasons we outlined here.  The complete official tally of each vote is available here.  We will use this post to highlight those we should thank for voting with us. (more…)

SB 193 is dead for this year! The House voted 180-163 to “non-concur.” (…but get ready for next year.)

There’s nothing much more to say than to express thanks and appreciation to the many dozens of committed parents and volunteers who expressed their opposition to vouchers.

Please.  Stay engaged.  This bill and other challenges will be back before a new Legislature next year.  Parents and others concerned about the future of public education in New Hampshire will need to maintain a strong, reasonable, rational voice in the policy process.

The House finds itself unable to fix the Senate’s voucher bill that most everyone considers a bad bill

It is widely agreed that the version of SB 193 that passed the Senate in March, 2017 is too costly to the general fund and still downshifts hundreds of millions of dollars in school funding responsibility to local taxpayers and has many other problems.  But the House is finding that its options for fixing the bill are limited.  (more…)

Reaching Higher NH: The voucher bill going to the House floor Thursday could cost millions in new state spending

As everyone knows, the Senate has sent HB 1636 back to the House amended to include the version of SB 193 passed by the Senate in March of 2017.  Here is our overview of the voucher provisions of the bill.

The Senate amendment to HB 1636 is widely considered a placeholder for more work to be done on the bill in a committee of conference.  However, some supporters prefer this swing-for-the-fences voucher program the subsequent versions that incorporated some limitations in response to a flood of criticism.  And the whole Legislature seems to have become impatient and cranky, just worn out by the Governor’s over-the-top pressure to pass something salable nationally as a school choice win.  So there’s no telling where all this will lead. (more…)

There is no need for a committee of conference on HB 1636 (SB 193) – the House should vote Non-Concur.

HB 1636, amended to include SB 193, will come before the House again on Thursday, May 10th.  It contains the version of SB 193 that the Senate passed a year ago, a bill that served as a starting point for 15 months of work by House Education and Finance committees.
The Governor is putting the Legislature though this extended process but there is nothing left to be said.  Education and Finance Republican leadership, including the House members most committed to school choice, have already invested their best efforts in this bill.  The best a Committee of Conference could do is bring back a bill the House has already voted on twice. (Here is further coverage.)


Update on the effort to resuscitate SB 193: action through the end of the session

The expectation at this point is that the House Education Committee will recommend that the amended HB 1636 be sent to a committee of conference and that the House will vote on that on May 10.  Here is the amendment adding SB 193 to HB 1636.  (This amendment, “Death Benefit for School Employee Killed in Line of Duty” was also added to HB 1636)

The House could kill the bill then and there but if it agrees to the committee of conference, the Speaker will name the committee members, probably then and there, and the committee will prepare its report.  The version of SB 193 added to HB 1636 is a version that the Senate passed in March, 2017 and that no one considers viable at this point.  The committee of conference will probably replace it with a version much like the one the House voted down this week.

The House would vote on the committee of conference report at the May 23 session.  If it passes, it will go immediately to the Senate.  If it fails, it is dead at that point.  The last day of the current legislative session is scheduled to be May 24.

Both the Concord Monitor (here) and the Union Leader (here) have provided updates on last night’s Senate action.  (more…)