New Hampshire Charter Schools Warn Of Financial Fallout From Pandemic | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire Charter Schools Warn Of Financial Fallout From Pandemic

Aug 25, 2020

About 2 percent of NH public school students attend charter schools.
Credit Dan Tuohy for NHPR

The New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools says its members need more money to handle costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Like traditional public schools, charter schools received federal CARES Act relief money, but some say it wasn't enough to cover the cost of new air filtration units, PPE, and laptops for students.

The state's online charter school - the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School - is also stretched thin, after a spike in enrollment and long waitlists of students wanting to opt remote this year.

Unlike traditional schools, charters get most of their support through a mix of state funding and private sources rather than local property taxes.

Matt Southerton, the president of the New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools, is asking lawmakers to increase government funding for public schools, and accept a large federal grant charter schools.

That grant - worth $46 million - has been on hold for nearly a year. Before the pandemic, Democrats and teachers' unions fought it, saying it would lead to problems for traditional public schools and the state budget down the road.

Now, the Alliance for Public Charter Schools says the financial needs of the pandemic underscore the importance of New Hampshire accepting these funds.

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COVID and The Classroom: NHPR wants to understand how this unusual school year is playing out across the state. Every few weeks, we'll ask you to answer a new question. The latest: How has going back to school been different for you this year? Give us a few examples here to help us tell the story.