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March 5, 2018 - Bow, NH

Welcome back to everyone who has been on winter vacation this past week.  Hopefully, you found the break restful and relaxing.  The Legislature has also been on break for the past week, though some committees continued meeting and pushing legislation forward.  This coming week, however, will be a busy one in Concord, especially for the NH House, which will meet three days and confronts a calendar with nearly 400 potential pieces of legislation to be considered.  Nearly two-thirds of these proposals are on the Consent Calendar, where legislation goes that has a unanimous or near unanimous committee recommendation (inexpedient to legislate, ought to pass, etc.).  One vote at the start of Tuesday’s session will dispose of all legislation on the Consent Calendar by approving the Calendar and all the recommendations contained therein.  The only exceptions will be pieces of legislation that individual legislators remove from the Consent calendar for later debate.  Thus, it is likely the House will vote on and discuss/debate over 150 pieces of legislation over the course of three days this week.  So fasten your seat-belts. 


February 23, 2018 - Bow, NH

This week was a relatively slow week in Concord, and neither the Senate nor the House will convene again until March 6, 2018 (everyone is off for Winter vacation week).  What this means, however, especially for the House, is that there is an oncoming avalanche of legislation heading to the floor.  Between March 6 and March 22, hundreds of pieces of legislation will need to be considered and dispensed with by the House, so there are some long session days impending. 

School Nurse Certification  Yesterday, the House passed HB 1217, which reduces the certification requirements for school nurses.  Proponents of the bill emphasized cost savings to school districts of fewer certification standards to be met by school nurses, while opponents of the bill pointed to the complexities facing school nurses.  Dealing with injuries, chronic illnesses, serving as a resource for psychological issues, all these involve school nurses.  But in NH, we reduce standards to prior levels, rather than render pay more commensurate with more rigorous standards.  And all of our school employees know we do not employ enough school nurses in our schools. The bill now moves to the Senate, which is likely to pass the bill and send it to the governor.


The Timberlane Teachers' Association and the Timberlane Support Staff Union are pleased to release its First Annual Voter's Guides for Timberlane Voters. These voter's guides cover the election for the Timberlane Regional School Board and Budget Committee positions. 

The Timberlane Teachers’ Association and Timberlane Support Staff Union submitted pertinent questions to all registered candidates for the Timberlane Regional School Board and Budget Committee for our first annual public voter’s guides.  These guides are not an endorsement or recommendation of any one candidate, but an effort to assist residents in making an informed decision at the polls on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

You can download the voter's guides here:

TRSD School Board Voter's Guide

TRSD Budget Committee Voter's Guide


February 20, 2018 - Bow, NH

A busy week in the State House, though a relatively quiet one when it comes to legislation of direct concern to AFT-NH.  In terms of actual legislation, the Senate passed SB 441, which requires school districts to create policies upholding the finality of grades assigned by teachers.  Except in limited cases (technical or clerical error), this would make teacher-assigned grades the final word, preventing administrators from altering grades of athletes or certain vociferous parents.  Consider it a rare recognition of the professionalism of our public school teachers! 


February 12, 2018 - Bow, NH

The House failed this past week to finish its scheduled business, due to the snow-day granted by the Speaker on Wednesday.  That left one day for work, which simply was not enough, so the backlog of House legislative work will be made up on this Thursday, February 15.

Death Benefit for School Employees   Last week featured both victories and defeats.  HB 1415, providing a death benefit to families of school personnel killed in the line of duty, passed the House and now goes to the Finance Committee for a final review.  We hope there is never any necessity for payment


Given the length and detail of the past couple of bulletins, I will keep this one short.  It was another busy week up in Concord, with committees holding hearings on numerous bills of interest to AFT-NH.  The Education Committee held a public hearing on HB 1277, to reduce from five to three years the time in which a teacher is an ‘at will’ employee with no right to a hearing or explanation for a termination.  I testified in favor of the bill, but it is unlikely the bill will get a positive recommendation from the committee, largely because the current system (in place since 2011) gives districts two additional years in which budgetary issues can be easily addressed by terminating teachers.  Uncertainty on the job is not the best way to treat education professionals, and the current five-year ‘at will” period only makes recruitment and retention of teachers that much more difficult.  Nevertheless, I do not hold out much hope for a positive outcome this session.