Letter: Hostile to charter schools
I don’t know what is in the water in Concord, but in the last year the House has gone from strongly supportive of public charter schools to outright hostility. Last week the House Finance Committee continued its assault on charters in a party-line vote to cut about $2.5 million from charter school tuition and leave charter school lease aid at $0.
While public charter school students represent only 1.4 percent of the public school population and the federal government wants to give the state $5.6 million to open new schools, charter students are still perceived as some great threat to the status quo. A gentleman from Democrats for Education Reform was recently quoted as saying, “Hey, if New Hampshire doesn’t want the money, I know states that would love to take it.”
Still, the House isn’t done yet. Legislators have crammed HB 2 full of poison pills for public charter school students. For example, HB 2 would release the Department of Education from its duty to apply for all federal charter school funding. Yes, this is the same agency that can’t accurately project student enrollment, even when it’s written into each charter application. Yes, this is the same agency that was completely unaware that it was statutorily required to include charter school lease aid until I notified it last November.
Now can you imagine what would happen if someone tried to play these games with traditional public schools? It wouldn’t happen. The House knows that a tidal wave of lobbyists would rain down upon it. How many lobbyists do charter schools have? That would be zero.