Charter School Bills Scheduled for Week of January 30, 2017

There are a number of bills this year pertaining to chartered public schools, and many parents, teachers, and administrators requested a special edition of our weekly bill schedule. Here it is! This is a subset of bills from our regular weekly post that covers all school choice related bills.

This is week four of the legislative session and we’re in full stride now with several important bills scheduled for public hearings, executive sessions, and full House votes.

Public hearings are the best chance to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. For the senate bills, sign the white sheet on a side table just inside the door to indicate your support or opposition for a bill, and if you intend to speak. The protocol is a little different in the House. The public may sign the blue sheet near the room entrance to indicate support or opposition to any bill; fill out a pink card if you intend to speak. If possible, provide written copies for each member plus the committee secretary. If you are unable to attend hearings email the committee, or better yet, call them individually and indicate if you are a constituent. Exec sessions on pending legislation may happen anytime after the public hearing closes so prompt action is encouraged. Contact information for the committees are at the end of this post.

Some bills are scheduled for executive session which is when the committee decides whether or not to support bills, amend them, or send them to interim study. The public has until the executive session to make an impact on how they will vote which is very influential when the entire body votes.

And other bills will be voted on by the entire NH House of Representatives. This is when all 400 have the opportunity to vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the committee’s recommendation). Please contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.

As always, contact information is at the end of the article.



1:00 p.m. The Executive Council will hold a public hearing on the confirmation of Frank Edelblut as the next Commissioner of Education.


Public hearing for the following bill

3:10 p.m. HB 584-FN, relative to chartered public school funding


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2017: HOUSE SESSION, Rep Hall at 10:00am
full NH House will vote on the following bills; these are on the Consent Calendar and will be voted on as a group; the committee recommendations will likely go through as indicated

 **HB 113, relative to grounds for denial of a chartered public school application
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 18-0
position — SUPPORT the ITL, OPPOSE the bill
information — This is a repeat of HB 474 (2015) by Reps. Mary Gile and Timothy Horrigan. This bill would allow the state Board of Education to deny the application of chartered public schools solely for budget reasons; the legislature, not the BOE sets the budget and allocation of state funds. This is a blatant attempt to justify the charter school moratorium from a few years ago and deny additional schools; see The State Board of Ed Overreaches Its Authority.

**HB 147, relative to the laws governing chartered public schools
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 19-0
position — SUPPORT the ITL, OPPOSE the bill
information — This is another  recycled bill by Rep. Horrigan, HB 1351 (2016), that overwhelmingly failed in the House Education Committee. Chartered public schools are designed to be centers of innovation and flexibility regarding methods and processes to meet the educational needs of students not served in traditional public schools. For example, they can take a focused STEM or fine arts approach — both quite different from the traditional public school model. Even with these differences, charter schools and traditional public schools have much in common. Like other public schools, charters must comply with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination for enrollment and hiring, meet school building codes including ADA compliance, and follow the same privacy protections. Also, charters must meet all federal and state requirements regarding background checks for employees and volunteers. Teachers at charter schools may enter into collective bargaining units, just as they may at public schools. Finally, charter schools must also administer the same statewide assessment in the years they are required of all public schools. This bill is simply another attempt to put more obstacles and regulations in place to limit charter schools. NH Ed 300 applies to traditional public schools, and Ed 318 applies to chartered public schools. For more information on chartered public schools, read Charter School Truths.


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2017: HOUSE SESSION, Rep Hall at 10:00am
full NH House will vote on the following bills; they are on the Regular Calendar because the committee recommendations were more divided; these bills will have more debate on the floor

**HB 148, relative to chartered public school teacher qualifications
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 12-7
position — SUPPORT the ITL, OPPOSE the bill
information — This is another returning bill sponsored by Reps. Timothy Horrigan and Mel Myler – HB 1120 (2016). Current statute requires charter schools to have a minimum of 50% of their teaching staff with teacher credentials. Note that NH private schools have no credentialing requirement at all. Teachers are important, but there is more to making a “good teacher” than his or her certifications. Teaching is an art; certification cannot measure the rapport teachers develop with their students or the breadth and depth of knowledge and skill teachers bring to their classrooms. Note that teacher credentials alone are not correlated with student performance. Read Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: Making the Most of Recent Research, March 2008 and Educational Leadership: Research Says…Good Teachers May Not Fit the Mold, December 2010-January 2011 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

**HB 125, relative to chartered public school boards of trustees
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate, 13-4
position — SUPPORT the ITL, OPPOSE the bill
information — This is a repeat of HB 1456 (2016) again sponsored by Rep. Timothy Horrigan and another outrageous bill against charter schools. This bill would allow the Governor, with the approval of the Executive Council, to appoint members to the board of trustees of all NH chartered public schools. Not only is this hyper-politicizing public schools, it is a way for the executive branch to remove parents and taxpayers from the governance of their children’s schools. It would be no more appropriate for the Governor to appoint members to the boards of local K-12 public schools.



To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” Brief and polite phone calls and emails are effective, especially if you mention you are a constituent. Mass emails are far less effective, but the email for all Reps is