Education Bills for the Week of April 27, 2015

The legislative session is winding down as every bill has now had a public hearing. Several still need to be exec’d (voted on by the committees) and this is a critical phase. This is when the legislators negotiate votes and favors. It is still possible to impact the committee recommendations by contacting the Reps and Senators as they rarely hear from constituents. Brief phone calls are most effective, but succinct emails work, too. Contact information is at the end of this post.

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
House Session, Representatives’ Hall at 10:00am

SB 190-FN, relative to payment of costs for career and technical education center programs and administration by the department of education (as amended)
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass (OTP), vote 19-0
position — NAY on OTP
more information — Although offering vocation-focused options are positive, this bill creates regional educational programs directly under the control of the Department of Education, circumventing elected school boards and district supervision. It further distances taxpayers from those who control the schools, against local control. The program would be aligned to national technical core competencies, so it is more federal education reform in NH schools. It also significantly expands the authority of the state Board of Education to include developing the tuition and transportation costs and the distribution of funds.

SB 227, relative to calculating the cost of an adequate education
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass (OTP), vote 19-0

 

Thursday, April 30, 2015
House Education Committee, room 207 LOB

10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on retained bills
HB 242, relative to the statewide improvement and assessment program
HB 218-FN, relative to additional funding for third grade proficiency in mathematics

1:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on retained bills
HB 625-FN-A, relative to public charter schools
HB 253, relative to the requirements for filing a charter school application
HB 536, relative to payment for special education services for chartered public school students and relative to federal funds for chartered public schools

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Senate Session, Senate Chamber at 10:00am

HB 124, relative to the implementation of new college and career readiness standards
committee recommendation — Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL), vote 4-1
position — NAY on ITL, YEA on OTP
more information — This bill requires the state Board of Education to hold public hearings in all executive council districts prior to adopting or implementing any new standards, including additional College and Career Readiness Standards (aka Common Core). This bill encourages transparency and accountability.

HB 142, relative to student social media policies by educational institutions
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP/A), vote 4-0
position — YEA on OTP/A, but it should not apply to private schools
more information — The Senate Education Committee introduced an amendment (see link above) that makes it voluntary for a student to share a printed copy of the social media communication in question. Read Another Effort to Protect Students’ Social Media Privacy Rights.

**HB 206, relative to non-academic surveys or questionnaires given to students
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP/A), vote 4-0
position — NAY on OTP/A as amended by senate committee, YEA on OTP/A as amended by the House
more information — The senate committee’s amendment turns this bill into a study committee. This is very disappointing as there is a well-documented need for this legislation now. Also read Do Federal Funds Incentivize Schools to Compromise Parents’ Rights? and Controversial Surveys and Questionnaires Need Opt-Out.

**HB 332, relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP/A), vote 3-2
position — NAY on OTP/A as amended by senate committee, #2015-1261s
more information — The senate committee’s amendment inappropriately focuses blame on teachers when other faculty, such as the principal or superintendent, could be at fault for failing to notify parents. There is no need to micro-manage districts. The bill as passed by the House is consistent with parents’ rights to opt-out of controversial materials for his/her own student found in RSA 186:11, IX-c. It also seeks prior notification to parents from the schools and availability of the materials in advance so parents can make informed decisions regarding their children’s education. Also see A Parent’s Right to Opt-Out. (Note, this is an updated analysis.)

HB 520, establishing privacy protections for student online personal information
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass (OTP), vote 4-0
position — YEA on OTP
more information — This bill requires privacy protections of the various outside companies that NH schools hire to provide educational services to students.

HB 555, relative to participation of chartered public school students in school district cocurricular activities
committee recommendation — Rereferred to Committee, vote 4-1
position — NAY on Rereferred, YEA on OTP/A
more information — This bill clarifies that charter school students may participate in co-curricular activities of their resident district.

HB 577-FN-A-L, establishing a children’s savings account program
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP/A),  vote 4-0
position — NAY on OTP/A
more information — This type of program can and should be accomplished by private charities, either in coordination with each other or individually. It is inappropriate to use taxation and the bureaucratic state to fund or establish such programs. No restrictions are specified by the bill on the use of these funds. The bill which would disperse $65K to students in its first year would require creation of a position to administer the program at the cost of $30K. This is an efficient use of taxpayer funds. No position on the non-germane amendment regarding the city of Dover.

HB 604, relative to the use of mixed use school busses by special education pupils
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass (OTP), vote 4-0

HB 610, relative to a school board vote on the reassignment of a pupil
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass (OTP), vote 4-0

HB 662-FN-L, relative to property taxes paid by chartered public schools leasing property
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP), vote 5-0

 

To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” The email for all Reps is hreps@leg.state.nh.us

To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page.

The following is the Senate Education Committee‘s contact information.
John Reagan, Chairman
john.reagan111@gmail.com
(603)271-4063

Nancy Stiles, Vice Chairman
nancy.stiles@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-3093

Kevin Avard
Kevin.Avard@.leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-4151

Molly Kelly
molly.kelly@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-3207

David Watters
david.watters@leg.state.nh.us
(603)271-8631

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