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Charter School Advocates Push For More State Dollars

Sam Evans-Brown

Charter school advocates are hopeful this could be the year the legislature passes a bill aimed at increasing their funding.

Dozens of charter school students packed the halls of the New Hampshire State House, Wednesday, to push for a bill that would increase state funding for charters by more than $2 million dollars per year.

Currently, these alternative public schools make do with just a hair less than $5,500 dollars of state funding per student. They use fund-raising and donations from parents to fill in the gaps. New schools can receive federally funded start-up grants for a few years, as well.

Traditional public schools in the state spend an average of $14,000 dollars per student, which comes from local, state and federal sources.

Jacki Rice, a teacher at the Seacoast Charter School who came to the rally says her school has a new principal who comes from the public school world, and “he can’t believe the fact that to order pencils would require fundraising.”

The proposed bill would send an additional $1,036 dollars per student to charters, and would increase that funding every year at the rate of inflation. During the two-year budget cycle, it is estimated that it will cost the state $4.7 million dollars.

A similar bill was presented in last year’s legislative session that would have indexed state funding of charter schools at 50% of the cost of the average public school’s per-pupil spending. The House of Representatives rejected that bill by 9 votes.

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