The following is the legislative schedule for the week of January 11, 2016. Unless otherwise marked, the bills are scheduled for a hearing which is the opportunity for public testimony. This is the best chance to communicate with the committee members and share your opinion on the bills. The public has until the executive session to make an impact on how the committee will vote, which is very influential when the entire body votes. The public may sign the sheet (usually near the room entrance) to indicate support or opposition to any bill. The public may give written or spoken testimony (it’s helpful to provide copies for each member plus the committee secretary) and indicate that on the sign-in sheet. If you are unable to attend the hearings, email the committee, or better yet, call them individually and indicate if you are a constituent. Contact information for the House and Senate Education Committees are at the end of this post. Note that this week has an important set of education governance bills before the Senate Rules, Enrolled Bills and Internal Affairs Committee. Their contact information is also included at the end.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
JOINT HOUSE and SENATE EDUCATION, Rooms 210-211, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 369-FN, requiring public schools to include drug and alcohol education as part of their health education curriculum.
HOUSE EDUCATION, Room 207, LOB
* 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 bussing costs, unlike those utilizing their local schools. This levels the playing field for all students and families in our public schools.
** 10:00 a.m. HB 1351, relative to the laws governing chartered public schools.
position — OPPOSE
information — Chartered public schools are designed to be centers of innovation and flexibility regarding methods and processes to meet the educational needs of students not sufficiently 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 re 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.
Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
HOUSE STUDY COMMITTEE MEETING, Room 207 , LOB
* 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).
This relates to HB 126 as amended. Here is the link to follow this study committee.
SENATE RULES, ENROLLED BILLS AND INTERNAL AFFAIRS, Room 103, State House
** 2:10 p.m. SB 354, requiring the commissioner and deputy commissioner of the department of education to be confirmed by a joint session of the general court.
position — SUPPORT
information — Currently the commissioner and deputy commissioner are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Executive Council, and serve a term of four years. The bill would change this to nominations that are confirmed by a simple majority vote of both the NH Senate and House. This bill makes both offices more representative of, and therefore more accountable to the general electorate and not just political appointments of the executive branch.
** 2:20 p.m. SB 355, requiring the members of the state board of education to be elected by a joint session of the general court.
position — SUPPORT
information — Currently positions to the state Board of Education are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Executive Council. This has been a highly politicized position in recent years, particularly in 2014 when the controversial activist Bill Duncan was appointed despite overwhelming appeals to the executive council. This bill would change the position to one elected by the general court, thereby making the members more accountable to NH citizens. For more information, read Recent BOE Appointment Still Playing Activist, BOE Activist Pressured into Editing His Remarks, and A New Group with an Old Agenda.
Friday, January 15, 2016
HOUSE EDUCATION, Room, 207, LOB
9:30 a.m. Executive session on SB 369-FN, requiring public schools to include drug and alcohol education as part of their health education curriculum.
**10:30 a.m. Department of Education explanation of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Given that the NH DOE has already made commitments on behalf of our state to this controversial federal legislation, it will be interesting to hear the department’s spin on it. The ESSA has significant impact on funding, local control, testing, and standards. For additional information on the related changes to College and Career Readiness Standards, read our notes from Marc Tucker’s presentation and group panel discussion from November 2015. Here is the While House’s information on the ESSA.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
SENATE EDUCATION, Room 103, LOB
9:00 a.m. SB 322, relative to the provision and administration of bronchodilators, spacers, and nebulizers in schools.
9:20 a.m. SB 312, relative to epinephrine administration in independent schools.
9:40 a.m. SB 314, relative to the membership of the higher education commission.
10:00 a.m. SB 326, relative to the membership of the community college system of New Hampshire board of trustees.
10:20 a.m. SB 371, relative to school lunch meal payment policies.
10:40 a.m. SB 372, establishing a fund to provide financial assistance to school districts for school lunch programs.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to HouseEducationCommittee@leg.state.nh.us
The following is the Senate Education Committee‘s contact information.
John Reagan, Chairman
Nancy Stiles, Vice Chairman
The following is the Senate Rules, Enrolled Bills and Internal Affairs Committee‘s contact information.
Russell Prescott, Chairman