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Take Action to Stop Expansion of School Vouchers in NH Now is the time for action to stop school voucher expansion in NH.   The State of New Hampshire has had 30 years since it lost the first Claremont lawsuit to fix the broken way we fund public education in the Granite State. The NH Supreme Court found that the funding system which relied overwhelmingly on revenue from local property taxpayers to provide a public education was unconstitutional because taxpayers in some towns got a much better education while paying much lower tax rates than those in other towns. Every two years the NH Legislature must decide how much of the state tax money it will give each public school district to provide an adequate public education. The funding formula passed by the NH House, while not perfect, at least provides the most financial support to schools in the cities and towns that need it the most. MORE
AFT-NH testimony on HB 464 and HB 367 From Debrah Howes, President AFT-NH Thank you, Chair Ward and Members of the Senate Education Committee, for reading my testimony. My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers-NH. AFT-NH represents 4,000 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, higher education faculty and town and municipal employees across New Hampshire. My members work with nearly 30,000 of the 165,000 public school students in New Hampshire in one way or another as well as working with thousands of public university students. I am writing in opposition to HB 464 and HB 367, both of which would make many more students eligible for a state education voucher each equivalent to what the State of New Hampshire pays the local public school district for the education of a single student. As we know, and the New Hampshire courts have repeatedly agreed, our state has a constitutional duty to provide the opportunity for an adequate – even robust - public education to the children of every city, town and school district in the Granite State. It has yet to live up to that duty, as evidenced by ongoing court proceedings as recent as last week. By competing for the limited tax dollars available to the state, HB 464 and HB 367 make it even more difficult for NH to fulfill its obligation to the 165,000 students and their families who rely on neighborhood public schools to get their constitutionally  MORE
School vouchers back up for consideration    School vouchers are a failed policy. These programs take tax money away from public schools and give it to families to spend as they choose on private schools that can reject students as well as on educational supplies, online classes, technology, enrichment programs, tutors or whatever. School vouchers have been shown in numerous studies in states across the country to be damaging to student achievement, increase school segregation and drain much needed resources away from neighborhood public schools. In fact, the overall negative impact on student achievement has been measured as equal to or greater than Hurricane Katrina or the disruptions of the COVID epidemic! So why would the notoriously frugal Granite State be pursuing expanding a policy that shows such poor return on the use of our valuable tax dollars?  The NH Senate will be considering expanding eligibility for NH’s existing school voucher system.  Next week on Tuesday, April 25th at 9:00am and 9:30am respectively, HB 367 and  HB 464 will be heard by the Senate Education Committee. It has been a while since we have talked about these bills, so let’s recap. HB 367 increases the eligibility of the voucher program to 350% of the federal poverty rate up from the current 300%. HB 464 increases the eligibility for certain subgroups, including whole geographic areas, some of which could potentially encompass most of the state, by totally removing the income cap from the voucher program. MORE
AFT-NH Testimony on SB 272 From Debrah Howes, President of AFT-NH Thank you, Chair Ladd and Members of the House Education Committee, for reading my testimony. My name is Debrah Howes. I am the president of the American Federation of Teachers-NH. AFT-NH represents 4,000 teachers, paraeducators and school support staff, public service employees and higher education faculty across New Hampshire. My members work with approximately 29,000 of the 165,000 public school students in New Hampshire in one way or another as well as working with thousands of university students. I am writing today in opposition to SB 272, establishing the parental bill of rights. I urge you in no uncertain terms to vote “no” on SB 272 the so-called “Parental Bill of Rights.” This bill has very little to do with actually helping students or parents. Instead, it would force schools to divert their limited resources from teaching and supporting kids, into spying, reporting on and in some cases, actually endangering, children who are just trying to be themselves and live their lives in peace. It will hurt vulnerable students and drive good teachers and staff away from New Hampshire schools. It’s pure “performance politics.” MORE
2023 HONEY CASCIO SCHOLARSHIP And BILLY DONOVAN SCHOLARSHIP AFT-NH, AFT, AFL-CIO (Deadline: Postmarked by May 1, 2023) AFT-NH is proud to award two $1,500 scholarships for the 2023-24 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 2023-2024 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 2023-2024 academic year in order to receive their scholarship check. All applications must be postmarked by May 1, 2023.    MORE

A budget is a statement of what a society values.  We know the Granite State has a poor track record in how it supports its public school students, and with your help we have been working hard to change that. We want to make sure that every public school student in New Hampshire has small class sizes, expert teachers, learning support from dedicated paraeducators and all the school support staff that help our children learn and thrive.

We need a state budget that:

  • helps towns and school districts with lower property tax bases by increasing the state education aid they get.
  • doesn’t expand the