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Radical Budget Full of Attacks on Education Set to Become Law

Yesterday was the final day of session and House and Senate Republicans passed one the most radical anti-education budgets that New Hampshire has ever seen. Make no mistake this is a continuation of the work of Frank Edelblut to dismantle the education system as we know it.

The budget as passed by the House and Senate allocated less money than the last budget for education funding, it furthered New Hampshire’s already dangerous educational divide by giving more money back to property-rich communities while leaving communities that struggle further and it allocates millions of dollars of public school funds to private schools without oversight or accountability.  Not to be outdone the budget also attempts to silence your voices in the classroom on important and historically undeniable presence of racism and sexism.

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CONCORD, N.H.—Statement by AFT-New Hampshire President Deb Howes on passage of the state budget, which drastically reduces funding for public education:

“This budget sends a caustic message to Granite Staters that public education and our children’s futures don’t matter. The budget not only cuts hundreds of millions of dollars of public education funding but, to add salt to the wound, diverts millions of taxpayer dollars to mostly unaccountable private schools through vouchers. Students, schools, communities and property taxpayers, who will have to make up the difference to adequately fund

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Bow, NH ~ June 4, 2021

There is no sugar coating this session. It has been hard. We have seen attempts to dismantle public education. We have had to fend off numerous attacks on labor and attacks on many of the issues that we care about. This is why it is important to take a moment and celebrate wins when you have them. On Thursday, the House voted against SB61, the so-called Right to Work bill. Not only did the house vote against it this year, but they also used a motion that does not allow it to be brought up next year either. We want to thank our brothers and sisters in labor for all their hard work and I want to thank YOU for your hard work. We know that wins don’t always come easy so take this moment and celebrate—you deserve it.

I wish we could offer you more than a moment but sadly Right-to-Work was not the only thing we are facing right now. As we said last week the Senate Finance Committee added vouchers to the budget. This week the full Senate voted to approve that measure. The next step in the budget process is for a committee of conference to be formed. During that committee of conference anything, including vouchers, is negotiable. We need the folks on the committee of conference to know that keeping vouchers in the budget is unacceptable.

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Bow, NH ~ May 28, 2021

We are heading to the end of the legislative session. The House will meet twice next week to finish their bills and the Senate will meet next week as well to finish their work which includes the budget (more on that in a minute). The last day of the legislative session is June 24. Once the House and Senate finish their work next week, they will begin the Committees of Conference process where they will work to figure out differences to bills that passed either the House or Senate with amendments. This will include the budget. Committee of Conference will form on June 10th and their work will conclude on the 17th. After that,  the House and Senate will have to vote on whether they will accept the bills as amended so they will become law. That will happen on the 24th.

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AFT-NH is proud to award two $1,000 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year. The Cascio scholarship will be offered to one graduating senior who has been accepted at an institution of higher learning, while the Donovan scholarship will go to one continuing student at an accredited institution of higher learning for the 2021-2022 academic year.  Prior scholarship winners are ineligible

Applicant’s parent or guardian must be a current member of AFT-NH.  Winners will need to provide proof of enrollment (continuing or as a new student) for the 2021-2022 academic year in order to receive their

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May 2, 2021 ~ Bow, NH

This is a very short bulletin for the upcoming week.  The most important action is the public hearing on the State budget, to be held by the Senate Finance Committee this coming Tuesday, May 4. There are actually two hearings, starting at 1 pm and again at 6 pm, though this is largely a ploy to allow time for senators to take a break and grab some dinner.

Why is this important?  It is the only opportunity for the public to weigh in on possible additions and deletions to the State budget.  After this, much of the work will be done behind closed doors amongst Senators, the governor, and House Republican leadership, with a budget to be voted upon by the Senate at the start of June and sent back to the House for either acceptance, rejection, or a Committee of Conference to try to iron out differences between House and Senate versions.

What can you do?  Register your opposition to the bills in question (HB1 or HB2, does not really matter) but even better sign up to write to members of the Senate Finance Committee.    Write to the senators--make your voice heard!!  Links for registering opposition and for writing to senators are below. What follows are the primary points of concern to AFT-NH, but we have additional useful material that can be made available to you.

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