Arguably the most important charter school bill of the year has a critical House vote this Wednesday, March 19th. HB 435, passed the House 177 to 124 in January to be forwarded to Finance. It is now ready for center stage again. The House Finance Committee recommends sending it to interim study where it would likely die a quiet death; the minority recommends an Ought to Pass with Amendment.
The new amendment would raise funding from the current level of 40% of the average per pupil cost to 47.5%. Currently New Hampshire public charter schools receive the lowest level of funding in the nation. No new money is needed for this increase because the state budget’s line item for charter schools has a surplus. State adequacy will not increase from existing levels per the Legislative Budget Office. Adequacy costs will decrease, with surpluses projected at $6M and $11.8M in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Additionally, if HB 435 passed, charter schools would receive only 2% of the state adequacy aid with the 98% going to traditional public schools.
It is important to remember that NH charter schools are part of the public school system. Charters receive state adequacy aid and disparity aid because they do not receive local tax funding. While education costs have continued to rise, charter school funding has remained flat. HB 435 addresses this issue for a public school educational option.
Please contact your Representative TODAY, urging them to vote NAY on the study and flip it to YEA on the Ought-to-Pass with Amendment recommendation.
**Update following the House vote on 3/19/14:
Frustrating news — HB 435, the charter school funding bill, was sent to interim study by the House today. The roll call vote was close, 167 to 151. Find out how your Representatives voted. If they voted YEA that means they voted to send the bill to study (bad). If they voted NAY it means they did not support sending it to additional study and supported the underlying bill (good).
Please thank your Reps who voted NAY, especially if they are Democrats. They voted against their party leadership to support charter schools.
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