AFT-NH: House Should Reject Budget
Proposed Budget Would Raid State’s Education Trust Fund
Howes: It Would Become a Reverse “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” Scheme
CONCORD, N.H.—The following is a statement from AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes, urging the New Hampshire House to reject the proposed budget for many reasons, including the fact that it would raid the Education Trust Fund for any non-education purposes and make public schools depend on even more local property taxes and lottery revenues:
“All 165,000 Granite State public school students should be guaranteed safe and welcoming public schools that are fully staffed, well-resourced and provide curriculum to meet their learning needs. Instead, the proposed budget would raid the Education Trust Fund of hundreds of millions of dollars for non-education purposes, even tax cuts for the wealthy. This would become a reverse ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ scheme that would mean more tax cuts for the rich, less money for our public schools, and therefore inadequate and inequitable education funding. Our public schools would be totally dependent on lottery revenues and local property taxpayers, who already are buckling under the burden. This budget demonstrates that New Hampshire couldn’t care less about properly supporting our public school students. Budgets are about values; this proposed budget gambles with our children’s future. The House must reject it.”
# # #
We made it into April, which in New Hampshire means 3 things: mud season is in full swing, the Red Sox are playing baseball and every other year the wrangling over the state budget kicks into high gear. Next week the NH House will vote on the budget of the next two years. While this budget does not contain many of the non-budget related policy items we saw two years ago, it still fails the needs of most Granite Staters in many areas. One key area is public education. This budget begins to fully bring Frank Edelblut’s vision of education as a commodity rather than a public good for the community to life. It makes major cuts to public education, puts the current school voucher program on steroids, and changes the public education funding formula to hurt towns that need help the most. These cuts to public education are combined with tax cuts for ultra-millionaires at our expense, as local property taxpayers are left to pick up even more of the burden when the state provides almost no aid to property-poor towns.
We scored a major victory this week in keeping our public schools safe and welcoming places for ALL of our students and preventing teachers and school staff from being punished for respecting their students’ privacy. That is the good news. The bad news is that we will have to fight the same fight again next week as a very similar bill crosses over from the NH Senate.
Recap The full House was in session two days this week up against a major deadline and they had almost 100 bills to get through. These bills included HB 10, the House version of the so-called parental bill of rights, HB 331, a
CONCORD, N.H.—The following is a statement from AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on today’s N.H. House defeat of parental bill of rights legislation and the tabling of two voucher bills:
“The defeat of these bills signals that the Granite State doesn’t support extremist politicians’ efforts to wage culture wars in the classroom and divert more public dollars for expanded voucher programs. Students and families deserve a state government and Legislature that is laser focused on ensuring that our public schools provide robust academic programs and offer appropriate social and emotional assistance to students.
“The proposed parental bill of rights legislation was a shameful effort straight out of a culture war handbook, rather than a sincere effort to enable teachers and parents to work together in the best interest of students. Let’s hope this brings an end to a terrible foray into the euphemism of parental rights but really was an abuse of students’ and educators’ rights.
What unions do
In AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest New York Times column, she describes what it is exactly that unions do. Though unions are the most popular they have been in decades, anti-union sentiment still thrives in red states and across the nation. “Several years ago, The Atlantic ran a story whose headline made even me, a labor leader, scratch my head: ‘Union Membership: Very Sexy,’” Weingarten writes in the column. “The gist was that higher wages, health benefits and job security—all associated with union membership—boost one’s chances of getting married. Belonging to a union doesn’t actually guarantee happily ever after, but it does help working people have a better life in the here and now.” Click through to read the full column.
Public News Service - March 20, 2023
Educators in New Hampshire say a proposed "parental bill of rights" before lawmakers discriminates against LGBTQ students.
The legislation requires schools to inform parents of a student's sexual orientation or gender identity should a parent inquire. Educators could be sued in civil court, face fines or even jail time if they fail to truthfully respond.
Deb Howes, president of the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire, said teachers should not be forced to "out" students, and parents should talk with their children themselves.