Schedule for Week of February 4, 2019

You are encouraged to attend the Save Our Scholarships public hearing on HB 632, the bill that intends to repeal the Education Tax Credit program. It will be on Tuesday, February 5th starting at 11:00am in room 202 of the Legislative Office Building. The hearing may be relocated to a larger room. More details about the hearing are available here; more information on HB 632 is in the article below. We were also on ManchTalk recently to discuss the Education Tax Credit program.

We are closely following HB 711, a bill that has a provision that would cut state funding for chartered public schools in half, likely forcing them to close. It is in one of the many bills regarding adequacy funding. It is important to not only monitor what happens to this particular bill, but all the others as well, because any of them can be amended. In other words, even if the House votes Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) to kill HB 711, similar provisions could be included in any of the other adequacy funding bills. With roughly two dozen funding bills, this will require very diligent monitoring. The House Education Committee has two subcommittee work sessions scheduled this week on this bill and others re adequacy funding. Read more about HB 711 in Attack on Chartered Public Schools.

The House and Senate have a busy week ahead – public hearings, subcommittee meetings, and executive sessions. See below for the full schedule. The most important hearing this week is on HB 632, the bill that would repeal the Education Tax Credit program, as mentioned above. Several sessions pertain to nonpublic schools, some that impact chartered public schools, and multiple re education funding. We are monitoring numerous bills this year and those will include our analysis and commentary.

Legislators’ contact information is at the end.


OVERVIEW

Public hearings are the best opportunity to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. The Legislative Office Building (LOB) is located immediately behind the State House at 33 N. State Street in Concord. For Senate hearings, 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. Generally, committee chairmen limit remarks to three minutes or less. Personal stories are most effective. If you are unable to attend hearings, email the committee, or better yet, call members individually. Indicate if you are a constituent.

Bills may have an executive session any time after the public hearing. This is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation, and amendments may be introduced. The committee makes one of three recommendations: Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) which is to kill the bill; Ought to Pass (OTP) which is a recommendation to support the bill; or to send it to Interim Study (IS) which is to continue work on the bill. Committee recommendations are very influential when the entire chamber votes. Consequently, prompt action on legislation is highly recommended.

Once bills are exec’d, they are usually scheduled for a vote by the entire body soon after. This is when all members of the House or Senate will vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the recommendation). Contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.

Legislators’ contact information is at the end of this article.

Additional resources:

Legislative Process

Common Legislative Abbreviations and Terms

State Resources


SCHEDULE

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 142-L, requiring feminine hygiene products in school restrooms.

9:15 a.m. SB 139, establishing a committee to study options for lowering student debt.

9:30 a.m. SB 198, relative to review of job candidate applications by school board members.

9:45 a.m. SB 141, establishing a committee to study violence against school personnel.

10:00 a.m. SB 12-FN-A, establishing the New Hampshire college graduate retention incentive partnership program and making an appropriation therefor.

EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Executive sessions and public hearings for the following bills

10:00 a.m. Executive session on

HB 123, relative to emergency response plans in schools.

HB 131, establishing a commission on mental health education programs.

HB 164, relative to reporting statistics on student behavior.

HB 170, requiring a civics examination as a high school requirement.

HB 171, establishing a commission to study equal access and opportunity for students with disabilities to participate in athletics.

HB 175, relative to the requirements for school building aid grants.

HB 176-FN-A, relative to grants for school building aid and making an appropriation therefor.

HB 177-FN, relative to the calculation of stabilization grants.

HB 184-FN, relative to the calculation of kindergarten students in the average daily membership and repealing prorated kindergarten funding based on Keno revenues.

HB 435, relative to certain terminology in the rulemaking authority of the department of education.

HB 226, relative to the renomination of teachers.

HB 677-FN-A, relative to discipline of students, addressing students’ behavioral needs, and making an appropriation therefor.

HB 231, requiring school districts to establish policies relating to suspensions and expulsions.

HB 251, relative to criminal background checks for education personnel.

This bill is similar to last year’s HB 1432 and HB 916 (2008). It seeks to impose redundant requirements on private schools that they must already satisfy, including the federal National Child Protection Act of 1993, regarding background checks. The law already allows nonpublic schools to conduct background checks, per RSA 189:13-a and RSA 189:39-b,I. The statute says that background checks are conducted on employees, prospective employees and certain types of volunteers classified as “designated volunteers,” which is not specified in law. Local School Administrative Units (SAUs), school boards, charter schools, and public academies independently determine the categories of volunteers for background-check purposes, as may nonpublic schools. This is an intrusion in the operation of private organizations and businesses which is a dangerous precedent. Additionally, the bill as introduced is broad and vague, saying that it applies to any school “receiving public funds, directly or indirectly.” In public testimony the prime sponsor, Rep. Linda Tanner, incorrectly stated that this bill would also apply to the Education Tax Credit program that is funded via private donations to a 501c3 non-profit that awards scholarships to low-income children. She also said that recipient families, not only nonpublic schools, would need to comply with criminal background check policies.

HB 383, relative to nondiscrimination in public and nonpublic schools.

Like HB 251(2019), this bill is similar to last year’s HB 1432 and HB 916 (2008), both of which were voted Inexpedient to Legislate. This bill seeks to impose redundant nondiscrimination requirements on private schools that they must already satisfy per federal laws. Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and numerous Supreme Court decisions state that no private school may discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. To do so would jeopardize their IRS non-profit status. Private schools must also follow the Equal Employment Opportunity’s requirement re nondiscrimination on the basis of gender for hiring practices, unless the institution is religious-affiliated. There are also protections for students with special needs. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, nonpublic schools must provide “auxiliary aids and services” to children with special needs if they are otherwise qualified for admission. This bill also would set a dangerous precedent for undue intrusion and regulation of nonpublic schools. Additionally, the bill as introduced is broad and vague, saying that it applies to any school “receiving public funds, directly or indirectly.” In public testimony the prime sponsor, Rep. Linda Tanner, incorrectly stated that this bill would also apply to the Education Tax Credit program that is funded via private donations to a 501c3 non-profit that awards scholarships to low-income children. She also said that recipient families, not only nonpublic schools, would need to comply with nondiscrimination policies.

HB 258, establishing a committee to study teacher preparation and education programs.

HB 275, relative to school nurse certification.

HB 289, relative to the recitation of the Lord’s prayer in public elementary schools.

HB 302, relative to communications between school administrative units and certain other entities.

HB 357, relative to the public school infrastructure fund.

1:00 p.m. Subcommittee work session on

HB 678-FN, relative to state funding of the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education for all New Hampshire students.

HB 713-FN-L, relative to education funding.

HB 711-FN-L, relative to funding an adequate education.

A provision in this bill would cut state funding for chartered public schools in half, to only the per student state adequacy funding level. Charter schools already operate on one-third the total funding that other public schools receive. This bill, if enacted, would likely close our charter schools, forcing nearly 4,000 students back into their local public schools, environments that are not the best fit for them, and at a higher cost to taxpayers. Read more in Attack on Chartered Public Schools.

HB 709-FN-A-L, relative to the formula for determining funding for an adequate education.

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2019: HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, ROOM 202, LOB

Public hearing for the following bill

11:00 a.m. HB 632-FN, relative to the education tax credit.

The Education Tax Credit (ETC) scholarship program is facing multiple legislative attacks this term, of which HB 632 is one. This program is the only one of its kind to put educational opportunities within reach for low-income students across the Granite State. The scholarship program began in 2013 and to date has helped 877 children; 413 low-income students utilize scholarships for the 2018-2019 school year. Of those students, 16% are children will special needs. The ETC program allows private donations – not state funds – to be given to a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to low-income children. Scholarships may be used for tuition at out-of-district public schools, private school tuition, or approved home education expenses. Donors receive a credit against their business enterprise or profits tax; individuals receive a credit against their income taxes. As defined in statute, the program can only help low-income students, those at or below 300% of the federal poverty limit. The 2018 guideline for a family of four is a maximum annual income of $75,300. These families also qualify for a range of federal assistance programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Of this year’s scholarship children, 62% are at the Free and Reduced income level which is $46,400 annually for a family of four.  Poverty is a major contributor to a range of long-term academic problems. According to The Condition of Education (2018) by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), living in poverty has a great impact for the duration of a child’s academic years, from kindergarten through high school. The report says, “…and living in poverty are associated with poor educational outcomes, including low achievement scores, having to repeat a grade, and dropping out of high school.” These private scholarships put educational opportunities within reach for families that they otherwise could not access. Educational opportunities close the academic gap for at-risk students. The average scholarship award is $2,762; it is higher, $4,833.50 for children with special needs. While this small program makes all the difference for struggling students, it does not have a negative financial impact on local or state education funding. In fact, supporting educational opportunities for at-risk children produces positive outcomes for our communities. Forcing these at-risk students back into educational settings that do not fit their individual needs will not only cause long-term harm to their educational outcomes, but will also cost local districts more money as they would now be responsible for integrating over 400 children back into their schools. Per the NH Department of Education, the average cost per pupil is $15,865.26; the cost per pupil with all expenditures is $18,991.10. The ETC is a win-win for students and communities across the Granite State. Repealing the Education Tax Credit program would have a devastating effect on our most vulnerable children and local districts.

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Subcommittee work session and public hearings for the following bills

8:30 a.m. Subcommittee work session on

HB 677-FN-A, relative to discipline of students, addressing students’ behavioral needs, and making an appropriation therefor.

10:00 a.m. HB 529, prohibiting a school district employee from assisting a person convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor child.

10:30 a.m. HB 545, prohibiting law enforcement officers from questioning a minor at school without a parent or guardian present.

11:00 a.m. HB 544, relative to the governance of the Manchester school district.

11:15 a.m. HB 569-FN-L, relative to innovation schools.

HB 569 proposes a way of allowing more flexible use of resources among public schools within a single district or across districts. It allows schools that share common interests or serve similar cohorts of students to work cooperatively in such areas as school staffing, curriculum and assessment, class scheduling, use of financial and other resources, and faculty recruitment, employment, evaluation, and compensation. It may be used to enhance services in special education, gifted and talented resources, programs for students participating in English Language Learners, services for at-risk students, and more. This is a creative idea to enable local district schools to adapt to their communities’ needs and be responsive to budget constraints and declining student enrollment. This bill suggests a way for public schools to have more opportunities to be flexible and innovative to meet these challenges.

1:00 p.m. HB 570, establishing a commission to study career pathways from full-time service year programs to postsecondary education and employment opportunities in support of New Hampshire’s future workforce needs.

1:30 p.m. HB 721-FN-L, relative to special education in towns with no public schools.

This is redundant with RSA 189:49 that already authorizes school boards to provide nonpublic schools the following special education services: health and welfare services including speech correction and remedial and diagnostic services; programs for the deaf, blind, emotionally disturbed, children with disabilities; and programs for the improvement of the educational studies of pupils with disabilities. Also, RSA 193:3, commonly referred to as the Manifest Educational Hardship statute, is frequently used by districts to place children with special needs in nonpublic schools, if appropriate for their learning needs. When these students are reassigned by their home district, the special education funds or services follow the child to the new school assignment. This already exists in the statute this bill seeks to alter. There are also existing federal protections for students with special needs. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, nonpublic schools must provide “auxiliary aids and services” to children with special needs if they are otherwise qualified for admission.

2:00 p.m. HB 723-FN, relative to requiring a criminal history records check for applicants for teaching certification.

2:30 p.m. HB 733-FN, relative to emergency kits in classrooms.

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB

Public hearings for the following bills

9:00 a.m. SB 268-FN, providing in-state tuition rates at any university system of New Hampshire institution for any person registered to vote in this state.

9:15 a.m. SB 265-FN-L, relative to maintaining stabilization grants at the current level.

10:45 a.m. SB 303-FN, relative to state aid to school districts.

11:30 a.m. SB 143, relative to administrative costs of state aid for special education.

EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019: HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 207, LOB

Subcommittee work sessions for the following bills

10:00 a.m. Subcommittee work session on

HB 678-FN, relative to state funding of the cost of an opportunity for an adequate education for all New Hampshire students.

HB 713-FN-L, relative to education funding.

HB 711-FN-L, relative to funding an adequate education.

A provision in this bill would cut state funding for chartered public schools in half, to only the per student state adequacy funding level. Charter schools already operate on one-third the total funding that other public schools receive. This bill, if enacted, would likely close our charter schools, forcing nearly 4,000 chartered public-school students back into their local public schools, environments that are not the best fit for them, and at a higher cost to taxpayers. Read more in Attack on Chartered Public Schools.

HB 709-FN-A-L, relative to the formula for determining funding for an adequate education.


CONTACT INFO for LEGISLATORS

The lists of education committee members with their contact information are available here. Brief phone calls are most effective; personal stories can be particularly compelling. Mention if you are a constituent.

 

The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee list is below.

[table id=17 /]

 

The House Education Committee list is below. A list of the committee members’ emails is below the table for an easy copy/paste.

[table id=19 /]

 

Mel.Myler@leg.state.nh.us
dluneauNH@gmail.com
beshaw3@comcast.net
patricia.cornell@leg.state.nh.us
Tamara.Le@leg.state.nh.us
David.Doherty@leg.state.nh.us
linda.tanner@leg.state.nh.us
Art.Ellison@leg.state.nh.us
Sue.Mullen@leg.state.nh.us
Cole.Riel@leg.state.nh.us
Mark.Vallone@leg.state.nh.us
Steve.Woodcock@leg.state.nh.us
ladd.nhhouse@charter.net
glenn.cordelli@leg.state.nh.us
JC.Allard@leg.state.nh.us
bob.elliott@leg.state.nh.us
Dan.Wolf@leg.state.nh.us
rgboehm@comcast.net
docrlf@yahoo.com
rep.alicia.lekas@gmail.com

 

 

The House Ways and Means Committee contact information is below. A list of the committee members’ emails follows for an easy copy/paste.

[table id=26 /]

 

susan.almy@comcast.net
Richard.Ames@leg.state.nh.us
dennis.malloy@leg.state.nh.us
David.Karrick@leg.state.nh.us
Thomas.Southworth@leg.state.nh.us
Tom.Schamberg@leg.state.nh.us
edith.tucker@leg.state.nh.us
Lisa.Bunker@leg.state.nh.us
Jennie.Gomarlo@leg.state.nh.us
Willis.Griffith@leg.state.nh.us
Tom.Loughman@leg.state.nh.us
Jerry.Stringham@leg.state.nh.us
norman.major@leg.state.nh.us
repulery@comcast.net
patrick.abrami@leg.state.nh.us
Charles.Burns@leg.state.nh.us
Fred.Doucette@leg.state.nh.us
jess.edwards@leg.state.nh.us
Alan.Bershtein@leg.state.nh.us
susan.almy@comcast.net
Richard.Ames@leg.state.nh.us