Ouch: New Hampshire Charter School Cap Proposed

I just received this from the Academy of Science and Design, where I teach robotics, and where Isaac attends:

As almost all of you probably know, New Hampshire is facing major budget issues. The New Hampshire State Senate is currently trying to grapple with the deteriorating situation as state incoming revenue declines. This week, an amendment was proposed and approved in the Senate Finance Committee that would cap total charter school enrollment in the state for the coming 2009-2010 year at a level of 850, which is below current enrollment levels.

If this limitation stands as the bill moves through a full NH State Senate floor vote (likely this coming Wednesday June 3) and the following conference committee, this would be a MAJOR issue for the school. Depending on the exact level allocated to the school, this could mean ALL accepted incoming students would have to have their acceptance reversed, and it could even mean that there would have to be a “reverse lottery” to eliminate existing ASD students.

We strongly encourage you to take action on this issue, as it will affect your child’s educational choices and ASD’s quality.

One action you can take is to send mail to your elected representatives. The following link can be used to do this:
http://tinyurl.com/lmku2l

Some parents may also want to call their representatives. While this can potentially be helpful, it is also very important that you express support constructively, perhaps with personal stories, but DO NOT ARGUE with them! Remember that the legislators are dealing with a very major set of issues around funding, and are facing many difficult decisions at this time. Being hostile and/or combative can easily create irate representatives, which would hurt much more than help and can be very hard to reverse. Please only call if you are sure you can keep the conversation positive.

The ASD and other charter schools have been through this before, but it has always required work to get the legislature to see our side. Right now, we are all working through the NH Chartered Public School Association at all levels of government to make sure that this amendment does not get passed into law. While we are working hard with all the charter schools, we will not know the final outcome until the end of June. We will do our best to keep you informed as we move forward.

Kent Glossop
Board Chairman, Academy for Science and Design

Chris Franklin
Director, Academy for Science and Design

Here’s what I added to the petition I submitted:

Please help public education continue to improve in New Hampshire by rejecting the proposed cap on charter school enrollment.

Our son is attending the Academy for Science and Design Public Charter School in Merrimack. We have seen firsthand just how much he has learned at such a place, which is far more challenging than the private school he attended previously.

5 Replies to “Ouch: New Hampshire Charter School Cap Proposed”

  1. Here's what I added:Please help public education continue to improve in New Hampshire by rejecting the proposed cap on charter school enrollment.Our son is attending the Academy for Science and Design Public Charter School in Merrimack. We have seen firsthand just how much he has learned at such a place, which is far more challenging than the private school he attended previously.

  2. So … a bunch of us, including Nichelle and I, went to the State House in Concord to show our support for public charter schools.

    We were sure there was a pretty good chance everything would have to be straightened out in committee, so today’s vote wasn’t a disaster. Here’s an update from Kent Glossop:

    The vote today to remove the charter school cap from the Senate budget did not pass.

    This is an excerpt of a message from Eileen Liponis, of the New Hampshire Public Charter School Association:

    “First thank you all for your participation this morning in Concord. We had a positive visible presence for the House members, Governor’s Council and the Senators.”

    “Unfortunately, the vote on the amendment introduced by Senator Carson to remove both the cap and the moratorium failed 15-9. There was lively and informative discussion on the floor which is good and both Maggie [Hassan] and Martha [Fuller Clark] spoke as supporters but, said there was more information that was needed and it would be done in the Committees of Conference and if they accepted this amendment it would send a budget to the House with a $5.8 million deficit and they thought that irresponsible given that more information is needed. “

    “The [Senate Democratic Leadership] had just made up their minds that they were going to push everything through as is and fix it in Committee with the House. We should continue to make ourselves heard positively by our Senators and now our Reps of our concerns as we work through this to a positive resolution…”

    “The turnout today was great and the pictures of the students was very effective. Thank you all again…”

    The ASD Board and Director want you to know that we are committed to doing everything we can so that we can proceed with all returning and accepted students for the coming year. We encourage you to be involved over the next couple of weeks to make sure that the legislators are aware of support for charter schools.

    We know this is a difficult situation, and if the lower cap comes out of the conference committee, it will be a major disruption for a lot of people. We hope the legislature will at least have the sense to allow accepted students to attend, but obviously there are no guarantees. We also note that ASD has come through a number of very challenging situations. While it may have been preferable to have avoided them, the school has continued to move forward for the benefit of the students, and we hope that the school will be able to come through this as well.

  3. Good news …. after much debate and pressure, I have just learned:

    The NH Legislature has passed the budget for next year, which does not include enrollment caps for existing charter schools like ASD.

    Yeah!

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