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New Hampshire has divided government. The governor is a Republican, who chooses the State Commissioner. But in the last election in 2018, Democrats won control of the legislature.
The State Commissioner is a home-schooling parent who is hostile to public schools. He comes from the Betsy DeVos mold.
Speaking of DeVos, she gave New Hampshire $46 million from the federal Charter Schools Program, which is her own $440 million slush fund to promote charters.
If spent, this money would double the number of charters in the state, a dramatic expansion.
But the Legislature used its powers to hold up the grant. They want answers to their questions about how the state’s public schools would be affected, and how the charter expansion would affect the state’s finances.
The pending charter expansion grant – the largest earmarked for any state – aims to double the number of charter schools in New Hampshire over the next five years. It is currently on hold, after Democrats on the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee cited concerns that building more charter schools would lead to unanticipated costs for the state and harm existing, non-charter public schools.
Governor Chris Sununu criticized the hold, calling the money a “game-changing grant [that] would have cost New Hampshire taxpayers nothing.”
But an analysis by the public education non-profit Reaching Higher estimated that, because charter schools are typically funded by the state rather than local districts, the state’s plan to expand charters with this grant money could cost the state over $100 million in the next ten years.
Is this a pig in a poke?