Friends of public Education

Dear friends of public education:

Here are four bills currently under consideration in the NH House. Email commentary from us would be very helpful:

  1. No guns in schools. What follows below is a sample of emails House Edu is receiving in opposition to HB 101 and 564.  Would be good to get support emails banning guns in school.  

From: XXXX

Date: February 17, 2019 at 11:48:25 AM EST

Subject: HB 101 and HB564

Dear Representatives:

The public hearings on February 13 revealed how naive the supporters of HB 101 and HB 564 really are.  Many testified that if you enact this law it will make our children and our schools safer.  It is absurd to think that a murderer will be stopped by a law and a sign.  All of the recent tragedies occurred in gun free zones.  Until now, New Hampshire has not suffered such a tragedy because we do not have very many gun free zones and thus allow otherwise law abiding adults to carry self defense firearms.  Please, vote HB 101 and HB 564 “inexpedient to legislate”.  Both of these measures are an attempt to prohibit the mere possession of a firearm in a school.  Fortunately, New Hampshire has not had a tragedy in any of our schools.  Someone who is contemplating a horrific crime has no way of knowing whether or not his intended victims will be able to offer armed resistance if you enact either HB 101 or HB 564 murderers will be assured that their intended victims will not be able to offer armed resistance.  Please do not make our children potential victims.  Vote HB 101 and HB 564 “inexpedient to legislate”.
  1. Two important bills impacting school funding will be heard on Tuesday, Feb. 19, one right after the other.
1) SB 309Tuesday 2/19 at 11:00, Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee, Legislative Office Building room 103
SB 309 would repeal the annual 4 percent stabilization grant reductions, but freeze them at current levels.This bill is similar to SB 265, which had a hearing last week in front of the same committee. If you weren’t able to attend last week’s hearing, consider coming to this one. The committee needs to understand the catastrophic impact of the reductions in stabilization grants.
Recommended testimony:  Explain how your district has been harmed by these cuts.  Urge the Senators to go beyond just freezing the cuts (though that’s a good first step) and to restore what the districts have lost since 2016.
If you can’t testify in person, please contact the committee members by phone or email. Here are their names and contact info:
Jay Kahn  603-271-3077
Jeanne Dietsch  603-271-4151
David Starr 603-271-7875
Jon Morgan 603-271-8631
Ruth Ward 603-271-3092
2) SB 280Tuesday 2/19 at 11:30, Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee, Legislative Office Building room 103
Last week we alerted you to this bill, but the time of this hearing has been changed from 11:00 to 11:30.   As a reminder, this is a 2-part bill, and while we support the first part, we don’t support the second.  The part we like would increase adequacy funding from $3,700 to $7,500 per student per year.  This would go a long way toward providing interim financial relief to districts and taxpayers until a study commission can do its work and arrive at a better way of fully and equitably funding public schools.
What we don’t like is that SB 280 permits school districts to send students and public funds to religious schools, and appears to provide that $7,500 per student in public adequacy money would go to homeschoolers as well.
If you testify, you do not need to check off “support” or “oppose” on the sign-in sheet; you can explain in your testimony that you support the increase in funding but oppose the provisions allowing public funds to go to religious schools and homeschoolers.
If you are unable to testify, please consider sending the committee members an email (see contact info above).
Additional meetings of interest this week:
On Tuesday 2/19 at 10:00, the House Education Comm. will be in Executive Session (i.e. no public input, but the public may sit in and listen).  It will consider, and probably vote on, the four funding bills we’ve been following (House Bills 678, 709, 711 and 713) and the bill creating an independent commission to study school funding (HB 551). Legislative Office Building room 207.  We’ll let you know what happens.
On Wed. 2/20 at 10:30, Division II of the House Finance Committee will work on HB 734 (stabilization grants) and HB 176 (building aid). Legislative Office Building room 212.  Again, no public input is taken but anyone is welcome to sit in.
Other news:  in his budget address, the Governor indicated that he’d like to send building aid to property-poor districts and increase the State’s contribution to Special Ed costs.  He didn’t mention adequacy aid to school districts.  We’ll follow budget discussions in the legislature and keep you informed.