Education Bills Scheduled for Week of February 29, 2016

The following is the legislative schedule for the week of February 29, 2016. The legislative session is beginning “cross over,” when the House and Senate trade bills. A handful have been reassigned; look for more in the weeks ahead. The public has until the executive sessions to make an impact on the committees’ recommendations, which is very influential when the entire body votes. Contact information for the House and Senate Education Committees, and the full NH Senate are at the end of this post. There are several important bills this week; they are identified with asterisk marks.


Regular meeting for the following study commission

9:00 a.m. Commission to study issues relating to students receiving special education services while attending a chartered public school (RSA 186-C:30).
information — This commission is the result of HB 126 (2015). Here is the link to follow this study committee. It may impact HB 536 which has a public hearing in the Senate Education Committee the following day.


Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. HB 301, establishing a committee to study New Hampshire’s statewide longitudinal data system and any other department of education maintained database that contains student level data.
position — SUPPORT
information — This retained bill from 2015 was diluted to create a study committee, but is an important step for identifying the type of student information kept in the state’s education database, how it is used, and who has access to it for what purposes.

9:15 a.m. HB 527, requiring school districts employing school resource officers to adopt a written agreement.

9:30 a.m. HB 1272-FN, relative to bus transportation for chartered public school students.
position — SUPPORT
information — Charter schools are part of New Hampshire’s traditional public school system, and yet the parents are ultimately required to provide the funding for busing costs, unlike those utilizing their local schools. This levels the playing field for all students and families in our public schools.

*9:45 a.m. HB 536, relative to payment for special education services for chartered public school students and relative to federal funds for chartered public schools
position — SUPPORT
information — This is a good bill that will direct special education funding directly to the school that provides the services to those students. It is another bill retained from 2015.

10:15 a.m. HB 1604-FN-A-L, relative to instructional methods to enable students to acquire and apply requisite knowledge and skills.
position — OPPOSED
This bill was completely rewritten in the executive session and bears no resemblance to the original bill. The amendment is located within the part of statute involving the Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program. It is prescriptive of “instructional methods” and curriculum at the state level, in violation of RSA 193-E:2-a,V, against local control. It also puts statewide competencies and the experimental and integrated PACE assessments into statute which the Board of Education needs authorized because the waiver expires August 1, 2016. The Fiscal Note indicates that this bill would increase statewide expenditures by $10.8M by year 2018. Although the bill was referred to the House Finance Committee, they waived it per House Rules and sent it directly to the Senate. They are clearly expediting this bill; that should be a red flag.

10:45 a.m. HB 471, relative to the powers of the state board of education



9:30 a.m. Executive sessions for the following bills

HB 1201, relative to withdrawal from a cooperative school district.
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill would make it easier for a town to withdraw from a cooperative district by requiring a vote of the town seeking withdrawal, not the entire district. This change will make it so towns do not have to be subjected to districting arrangements that do not serve their needs and which they no longer want. It increases accountability to local voters and choice among school districts for prospective residents. (source: NH Liberty Alliance)

HB 1274, establishing a committee to study the efficacy of changes in the community college system of New Hampshire.
HB 1303, relative to withdrawal from a cooperative school district.
HB 1364, relative to the membership of the cooperative school district budget committee.

*HB 1414, repealing the home education advisory council.
position — SUPPORT with amendment
information — Although the original purpose and function of HEAC was needed in 1990 when homeschooling was first recognized in NH, their utility has greatly diminished as home education laws have changed and support structure has developed. Unfortunately, HEAC has poor transparency and accountability to the community they are supposed to represent. In fact, the public is not allowed to speak at their meetings unless given special permission to do so. There are also concerns that HEAC no longer represents the broad and diverse homeschool community of today. Fortunately there are significant resources available to homeschoolers that are able to help when difficulties and misunderstandings arise before they get to a high-level problem. A friendly amendment was introduced that will eliminate the Board of Education’s rule-making authority. For detailed information, including the history and background of other recent deregulation efforts, read The Past and Future of NH Homeschooling and HB 1414 Testimony.

HB 1431, relative to academic freedom and whistleblower protection.

HB 1457, establishing a code of professional ethics for New Hampshire teachers.
position — OPPOSED
information — This is another bill that stems from HB 206 (2015)‘s study committee. They noted that NH is among only a handful of states that does not have an ethics code for teachers. However, this is not the proper role of the state. Local school boards can develop ethics policies and be responsible for the supervision and enforcement of those standards. There is no evidence to support that personnel matters are not being successfully handled at the local level to justify the anticipated expansion of the Professional Standards Board. While the stated standards are well-intended, they are vague and may be outside the teacher’s control.

HB 1484, relative to the election of members of the state board of education.
HB 1558-FN, requiring the university system of New Hampshire to examine the disposition of children in state custody.

HB 1612-FN, relative to the age for purposes of compulsory education.
position — SUPPORT
information — Students should be able to move on to other productive pursuits — the military, technical or trade schools, or entrepreneurial businesses — if they are not inclined to continue their formal education through graduation. Forcing teens to stay in school against their will increases disciplinary problems and safety concerns for other students. There is no empirical evidence that a higher compulsory attendance age improves graduation rates, or reduce the need for (and spending on) social programs, public safety, correctional services, and other state programs and functions. A higher compulsory age requirement alone does not address the multi-faceted problem that leads to high school drop outs. Opponents will argue that NH’s drop-out rate will skyrocket. That is unlikely as the educational support programs, which make the biggest impact, would remain in place if HB 1612 is passed. This bill restores parental rights to direct their older children’s education and gives more choices to individuals. For additional information, read Does Raising the State Compulsory School Attendance Age Achieve the Intended Outcomes? by the US Department of Education, December 2013; and a NPR story on January 27, 2012 with NH DOE Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather and Russell Rumberger.

***HB 1637-FN, relative to school attendance in towns with no public schools.
position — SUPPORT
information — This bill clarifies in statute that small towns without their own public schools may offer alternative arrangements for their students, regardless of grade level. These agreements could be made with area public and private schools. This is consistent with RSA 194:22 and RSA 193:1. It is also in line with other NH districts creating tuition agreements with private schools, even some located out of state. For additional information, read HB 1637 — School Choice for Small Towns and Guarantee of an Adequate Education. For more information regarding Croydon’s program, read NH DOE Fails to Get Injunction Against Croydon and Response to the NH DOE and Attorney General.

Reconsideration of HB 1393, requiring the department of education to report statewide assessment results for school districts receiving certain state aid


THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2016: SENATE SESSION, Senate Chamber at 10:00am
full NH Senate vote on the following bills

***SB 320, relative to non-academic surveys administered by a public school to its students.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment, 3-2
position — YEA on OTP/A
information — This bill is the result of the study committee created in HB 206 (2015) that required further research of non-academic surveys and questionnaires administered in our public schools. It recognizes that these surveys often include personal questions and students should not be compelled to participate. We also know that students are being required to share this information in class work when it is not optional or anonymous. The hearing was heavily attended by organizations that financially benefit from students’ private information. While our young people may benefit from the social programs, that does not justify ignoring privacy and parents’ rights to direct their under-aged children’s education. Let the organizations and schools persuade parents regarding the benefits to obtain active consent. There are mechanisms already in place for schools to obtain opt-in permission such as for field trips. For more information, read Non-Academic Surveys and Parents’ Rights.

SB 326, relative to the membership of the community college system of New Hampshire board of trustees.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment, 4-1

SB 370, establishing a committee to study real time threat notification systems to link schools with law enforcement when schools are under direct threat.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 4-1

SB 473-FN-A-L, repealing the cap on adequate education grant payments and making an appropriation therefor.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass, 5-0

***SB 503-FN-A, relative to pre-kindergarten education using “pay for success” financing.
committee recommendation — Ought to Pass with Amendment, 4-1
position — NAY on OTP/A (#2016-0561s)
information — This is similar to SB 69 (2015), but takes it a major step further. Instead of a study committee like last year, the current bill would create a commission to implement a public preschool program funded through “pay for success” or social impact bonds (SIBs). This new kind of funding for social policy change has not demonstrated success. The first program of this type, a NYC program to help teenage inmates was an official failure. Currently Utah has a “pay for success” early education program in place, but their boasts were determined to be inflated due to poorly defined goals. These “pay for success” experiments are still unproven to justify a launch in New Hampshire. The bill’s fiscal note is for $10M to support a grade level outside compulsory attendance. NH has many other important commitments to our public education system than to support an optional and experimental program. To complicate the proposal even more, the federal Health and Human Services (HHS) admits in a 2012 report that the longest running federal preschool program, Head Start, is a dismal failure. These early childhood programs do not produce long-term gains for our youngest learners. The preschool programs that showed success were exorbitantly expensive and in small studies that do not scale to a statewide program. For more information, read Noble Goals Funded with Public-Private Partnerships — What Could Go Wrong?. Also read Noble Goals of Pre-K Programs Fail to Deliver and Testimony for SB 69 that reference the 2015 bill, but still apply to the current one. For more information on social impact bonds, read Are Governments “Paying for Failure” With Social Impact Bonds” by Governing, August 2015. The committee amendment is negligible, reducing the number of senators serving on the commission from three to one who is appointed by the president of the senate.


To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to The General Court website is experiencing several technical difficulties (the committee’s email is not always working), so consider contact the Representatives directly. Particularly mention if you are a constituent. Emails for each member of the House Education Committee are as follows:


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

Nancy Stiles, Vice Chairman
(603) 271-3093

Kevin Avard
(603) 271-4151

Molly Kelly
(603) 271-3207

David Watters


To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page, or you can email all of them at

Jeff Woodburn — District 1, Dalton

Jeanie Forrester — District 2, Meredith

Jeb Bradley — District 3, Wolfeboro

David Watters — District 4, Dover

David Pierce — District 5, Lebanon

Sam Cataldo — District 6, Farmington

Andrew Hosmer — District 7, Laconia

Gerald Little — District 8, Weare

Andy Sanborn — District 9, Bedford

Molly Kelly — District 10, Keene

Gary Daniels — District 11, Milford

Kevin Avard — District 12, Nashua

Bette Lasky — District 13, Nashua

Sharon Carson — District 14, Londonderry

Dan Feltes — District 15, Concord

David Boutin — District 16, Hooksett/Manchester

John Reagan  — District 17, Deerfield

Donna Soucy — District 18, Manchester

Regina Birdsell — District 19, Hampstead/Windham/Derry

Lou D’Allesandro — District 20, Manchester

Martha Fuller Clark — District 21, Portsmouth

Chuck Morse —  District 22, Salem

Russell Prescott — District 23, Kingston

Nancy Stiles — District 24, Hampton