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January 31. 2013 8:32PM

Charter schools group drops state's rank due to moratorium

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has dropped New Hampshire's ranking from one of the most friendly states for charter schools to one of the most hostile, citing a State Board of Education moratorium on the approval of any new state-authorized charters. In its 2013 assessment of state charter school laws, New Hampshire dropped from No. 11 in 2012 to No. 30.

"The state had been making incremental but positive gains," said the report authors. "In 2011, a change to state law made the State Board of Education a permanent charter school authorizer. Only a year later, however, the board denied all pending charter school applications, enacting a moratorium on new schools."

The state Legislature has been largely supportive of charter schools, and two bills have been submitted this session to end the moratorium.

HB 299 amends the statute governing tuition payments to chartered public schools, while HB 424 requires local school boards and the state board of education to "undertake all actions necessary to promote the establishment and operation of chartered public schools in this state." The Department of Education request in the most recent budget cycle allowed for enough money to fund the students enrolled or anticipated to enroll in the existing 17 charter schools in the state, but made no provision for growth. Four new schools were well along the application process and hoping for funding. Those schools are in Nashua, the Seacoast, the Concord area and the Rochester area.


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