Education Bills Scheduled for Week of January 25, 2016

The following is the legislative schedule for the week of January 25, 2016. Unless otherwise marked, the bills are scheduled for a public hearing which is the opportunity to provide testimony or commentary. This is the best chance to communicate with the committee members and share your opinion on the bills. The public may sign the sheet (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. 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. Several bills are scheduled for executive sessions this week.

Note that one bill, HB 1301, is not directly an education bill, but is relevant to parents’ rights and has a more direct impact on home educated students. The House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee will hold a public hearing on this bill on Tuesday, January 26. See below for more information about this bill and how to contact the committee.

There is another important education-related bill, HB 1192 relative to the tax-credit scholarship program, in the House Ways and Means Committee. The public hearing is on Thursday, January 28 at 1:00pm. More information, including the committee’s contact information, is below.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016
10:00 a.m. Continued public hearing on HB 1561-FN, relative to freedom of expression on college campuses.

10:30 a.m. Executive session on the following bills
*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.

**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.

*HB 1563-FN-LOCAL, relative to funding for full-day kindergarten pupils.
position — OPPOSE
information — Kindergarten is not included in compulsory school attendance (RSA 193:1), and is therefore optional to families. Our public school system has many needs that are not sufficiently addressed and should have a higher priority than funding an optional program. Additionally, the benefits of full-day vs half-day Kindergarten program are short-lived at best.

HB 1551-FN-A, establishing the John and Molly Stark scholarship program and making an appropriation therefore
HB 1644-FN, relative to screening and treatment for dyslexia and related disorders and establishing a reading specialist in the department of education
HB 1189-FN, relative to aid granted to Dartmouth College to assist indigent students from New Hampshire
HB 1652-FN-A, establishing a teacher preparation for mathematics education scholarship program
HB 1667-FN-L, repealing the statutes authorizing the department of education.

Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.

9:00 a.m. SB 328-L, relative to school districts exercising joint powers with other public agencies.
9:10 a.m. SB 370, establishing a committee to study real time threat notification systems to link schools with law enforcement when schools are under direct threat.
9:20 a.m. SB 453-FN, relative to comprehensive criminal background checks for individuals in registered and licensed child day care agencies, child care institutions, and child care agencies.
9:30 a.m. SB 483-FN, establishing the position of chartered public school program officer.
9:40 a.m. SB 454-FN, requiring public school students to receive CPR training.
9:50 a.m. SB 473-FN-A-L, repealing the cap on adequate education grant payments and making an appropriation therefor.


1:00 p.m. HB 1301, relative to the issuance of youth employment certificates.
position — SUPPORT
information — The current statute, RSA 276-A:5, presents an unfair burden for home educated students who seek employment certificates as it requires authorization by a school principal who is not involved in his/her education. This bill puts the authority in the hands of parents, as they know how their children are performing academically and what strain, if any, employment would put on their school work. Some may argue that the statute provides some kind of safety net if the child is employed in a dangerous job. The assumption is unreasonable. That duty goes far beyond the scope of any superintendent’s responsibilities and is not the function of the authorization in this statute. The role is to oversee any impact the job has on the student’s academic performance; one that a parent may fulfill. Federal and state safety requirements are well established and are intended to protect all workers with consequences to employers who put their employees in jeopardy. That is not changed by this bill and these concerns go far beyond the scope of this legislation. Apparently many superintendents find it awkward to be authorizers for students they do not know, so why not put the responsibility in the hands of the adults closest to them, their parents.


Thursday, January 28, 2016
**9:30 a.m. HB 1231, relative to school district policy regarding objectionable course material.
position — SUPPORT
information — This is the same bill as HB 332 from last year that passed both the House and Senate, but was vetoed by the governor. It seeks to address a gap in RSA 186:11 IX-c  by requiring parents be given  two weeks advanced notice and access to classroom materials for subjects pertaining to human sexuality. While this statute can be used for any subject, it does not address the loop hole that parents must first be aware of what material is being used and when. The bill would allow parents to make informed decisions regarding their children’s education. For more information, read Parents’ Rights Vetoed by Governor Hassan.

10:00 a.m. HB 1303, relative to withdrawal from a cooperative school district.

10:30 a.m. 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)

11:00 a.m. HB 1364, relative to the membership of the cooperative school district budget committee.

*11:20 a.m. HB 1414, repealing the home education advisory council.
position — SUPPORT
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 will be 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.

12:45 p.m. HB 1205, including libraries that provide children’s programming in the definition of drug-free school zone.

**1:10 p.m. HB 1120, relative to teacher qualifications at charter schools.
position — OPPOSED
information — 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 requirement at all. Teachers are important, but there is more to making a “good teacher” than his or her certifications. Note that teacher credentials alone are not correlated with student performance. This bill is about employment protection, not the quality of education or serving students. For more information, 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).

***1:40 p.m. HB 1456, relative to chartered public school boards.
position — OPPOSE
information — This is 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 public schools.

2:15 p.m. HB 1137, relative to the adoption of school administrative unit budgets.

2:45 p.m. Executive session on the following bills
HB 1561-FN, relative to freedom of expression on college campuses.

Executive session on pending legislation may be held throughout the day, time permitting, from the time the committee is initially convened.

1:00 p.m. HB 1192, repealing the education tax credit.
position — OPPOSE
information — They’re at it again…for the third attempt. Once again there is a contingent who think private donations belong to the state. Just as donations to other private organizations like the Red Cross or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital are charitable donations, so are those made to the Children’s Scholarship Fund New Hampshire (formerly the Network for Educational Opportunity). It is just as absurd to argue that someone’s income belongs to the state before he/she pays taxes. This young scholarship program has helped 243 children and awarded $300,000 of scholarships in its first three years of operation. It helps needy New Hampshire families afford tuition at out-of-district public and private schools, and covers many homeschooling expenses. Wealthy families already have choice; this program puts those educational options — funded with private donations — within reach for underprivileged NH children. For more information, read What Do They Have Against Needy Students? based on the 2015 repeal attempt.


To contact the entire House Education Committee, you may send one email to

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

The following is the House Labor, Industrial, and Rehabilitative Services Committee‘s contact information. This committee is considering HB 1301, a bill relative to the issuance of youth employment certificates. The entire committee can be emailed at

The House Ways and Means Committee is considering HB 1192, a repeal of the tax-credit scholarship program. The committee can be emailed at HouseWays&