DNHPE 4/20/12 Update: Bedford students take charge of the IB debate - and some great voucher testimony.

posted Apr 20, 2012, 4:24 AM by Bill Duncan

Defend local control against HB 1403, the anti-International Baccalaureate bill

Here's an easy way to help.  Click here and sign the petition the Bedford folks have put up opposing HB 1403.  No hearing has yet been scheduled on the bill, but the Facebook page that Bedford High students made has been lively.  

Next Tuesday: One last opportunity to testify against vouchers - SB 372

We had a great turnout for the Senate Education Committee hearing on HB 1607 last Tuesday.  Every witness opposed the plan.  I and many others submitted our testimony in written form because time was short, but there was still time to voice our arguments.  

And it was an eloquent voice.  Here is a highlight video to prove it.  It starts with Tom Southworth, of Dover, in his own heart-felt critique of the voucher plan, grounded in personal experience. (Does anyone know Tom?  He got away before I could meet him.)  Then Profs. Tom Newkirk and Joe Onosko of UNH present reasoned, economical critiques.  Stephanie Willer, of Bedford, makes the connection to state adequacy aid.  And we end with a bang - long-time, conservative House member, Neal Kurk (R-Weare), pounding the podium on the House floor, saying that if we want school choice, we need to pay for it, not downshift the cost to the local property taxpayers.  Don't miss it.

Next Tuesday at 2:00 in LOB 202 we need to put on the same show one last time.  This is the House Ways and Means Committee, where some of the strong House support for the plan resides.  When we're done, I'll send highlights of the testimony to all House members and follow up with those who voted against vouchers last time or were absent. Please plan to testify if you can.

The plan in the Senate is to "Lay on the Table" (set aside) HB 1607 and use SB 372 as the vehicle for passing the voucher plan.  SB 372 could be voted on any time after Tuesday's hearing, possibly Wednesday, May 2.  This will be an important vote to establish how well we are maintaining our veto-sustaining numbers - the 49 Republicans who voted last time with all the Democrats against the bill.

Here, again, is the list of representatives who voted against HB 1607.  If your representatives are Republicans and are on this list, please call or email them.  Thank them for their opposition to the voucher bill and let them know how important it is to you that they continue to oppose it.  Ask them if they will continue to oppose the plan when SB 372 comes to the floor and if the Governor vetoes it.  

Here are the key points:
  • The plan is complex.  Passing it would mean committing future Legislatures to an unknown.
  • It would be costly to our school districts and increase local property taxes. 
  • Business tax revenue would be reduced.
  • The $2,500 scholarship will not be enough to make a difference.
  • There is no accountability.  See this great piece in the Huffington Post today on how voucher advocates are becoming boxed in on the accountability issue.  It describes just what is happening in New Hampshire.
Don't hesitate to call this "a terrible bill."  Our Republican allies do.

The education funding debate takes an interesting turn - CACR 12

The first Committee of Conference meeting has not been scheduled, but the opportunity for the Governor, the Senate and the House to agree on an amendment may be slipping away, if negotiations in the  press are any indication.