New Hampshire Dems block accepting $46 million federal grant for charter schools

By Sarah Downey | The Center Square

The disposition of a $46 million federal grant to fund public charter schools has been tabled by New Hampshire legislators.

The decision came after the Legislative Fiscal Committee denied a request to move forward on the first $10 million installment, saying it needed more time to study how the funds would be allocated.

Wikimedia Commons

There are currently 28 charter schools in New Hampshire, according to the New Hampshire Board of Education.

Charter schools – independently operated public schools that work according to an authorized contract or charter – have grown in popularity in recent years. The system can provide parents of public-school students more choice in how their child is educated.

“Democratic leadership should be ashamed of themselves for turning their backs on New Hampshire’s students,” Gov. Chris Sununu said in a news release. “This game-changing grant would have cost New Hampshire taxpayers nothing and would have supported public charter schools across the state. It is clear that Democrats would rather see these innovative, public-school programs fail rather than support our successful system. It is a sad day for New Hampshire when improving educational outcomes becomes a political issue for Democrat-leadership.”

The $46 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation & Improvement was the largest in the country; the next highest amount was $25 million to Alabama.

In a statement after the vote, posted on the New Hampshire Public Radio website, state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, said, “These grant dollars do not come without strings attached – they require investments from the state not accounted for in the current two-year budget and pose unanticipated costs to municipalities, including transportation costs for in-district busing. It is prudent legislators weigh this decision carefully while looking at the full education landscape in New Hampshire.”

When legislators will resume talks on the issue is unclear.

In a story posted on Patch.com, New Hampshire Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said, “For the past five years, public charter schools have consistently outperformed traditional public schools in New Hampshire, despite receiving less taxpayer funding and often serving an at-risk student population.”

There are currently 28 charter schools in New Hampshire, according to the New Hampshire Board of Education.

“This grant would build on that success by giving both public charter and traditional district schools a chance to try new ways to reach students most at risk. We should focus on students, rather than defending the status quo,” Edelblut added.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6 thoughts on “New Hampshire Dems block accepting $46 million federal grant for charter schools

  1. This may be a blessing in disguise. Charter schools have included those funded by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to name just two. There are other problems with them that deserve attention, but little room to address them here. It would be better for New Hampshire to decentralize public schools, provide vouchers or a tax cut for school choice, and do everything possible to encourage homeschooling without government oversight and regulation of those who choose to educate their children outside of the government entities.

    • Ken, your statements don’t make sense and are not backup up by any facts. Charter Schools at least provides an option to centralized government run systems – so how can this be a negative? Sure school vouchers would be great, but we have to start somewhere. Competition is a good thing and these schools provide it. Most are very successful. There may not be one single bullet solution (like vouchers which are strongly opposed by Dems), this may require a multi pronged approach and Charter Schools should be part of that equation.

  2. The NEA strikes again. It has never been about accountability, results, and merit promotions, it’s always the teacher’s seniority comes first. If the kids get thrown under the bus along the way, that’s their problem. Further these opposers know that Charters are the kiss of death to the business as usual in public schools.

  3. One could guess this would happen. The NEA (National Education Association – the biggest Union in the country) owns Democrats in every state where the educational system is concerned. They absolutely hate any interference and any challenge or competition to the public school system. The old canard that grants come with “hidden unaccounted for expenses” is just a red herring to kill the grant.
    The hope is that there will be enough blowback in NH from citizens that, once returned to the statehouse, the legislators will reconsider any negative action concerning this wonderful opportunity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *