03-20-2014 News

The New Hampshire House of Representatives was in session yesterday and you know what that means.  Here’s some of what they did, didn’t or tried to do us.  House Bill fourteen eleven, which would reopen the budget to spend surplus funds from the state’s last budget rather than deposit them into the state’s nearly depleted Rainy Day Fund NH State Legislatureas urged by State Treasurer Catherine Provencher, won the day in the house.  An amendment co-sponsored by Republican Leader Gene Chandler of Bartlett and Representative Neal Kurk, Republican of Weare that would have deposited the fifteen plus million they were looking to spend failed on a vote of one fifty seven to one seventy two.  Bartlett decried the move as one that jeopardizes the state’s bond rating and sets a bad budget precedent.

The House tabled House Bill twelve sixty four.  That’s the bill that Representative JR Hoell, Republican of Dunbarton, sponsored to have the state recognize gun permits issued by other states as valid so their citizens could legally carry their firearms in New Hampshire.  As we’ve discussed on this show, an amendment changed the bill into one that created a study committee to evaluate gun violence and its causes, which led Hoell to oppose his own bill.  In a statement released yesterday, Leader Chandler said that the one hundred eighty six to one hundred fifty vote to table was evidence that gun rights were alive and well in New Hampshire and that the House disapproved of the procedural shenanigans used by amendment supporters to pervert the bill into something entirely different than what was proposed.

The House also referred House Bill four thirty five, which would fund additional charter schools, to interim study.  Representative Ralph Boehm Republican of Litchfield said charter schools operate on one third the budget of traditional schools and provide a valuable alternative for many families.  He said it was sad the House didn’t believe in the value they offered the next generation.

While we’re on the topic of choices in education, The Network for Educational Opportunity, the outfit that raises funds using the state’s business tax credit to provide scholarships to low to moderate income families, is hosting an open house tonight starting at seven o’clock in offices located at eighty nine South Street in Concord.  Scholarships are available from the Network and the open house is being held to help families explore their choices.  Several private and independent schools will be present to introduce themselves and give families an idea of what’s out there for them and their kids.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Dr. Sandra Stotsky is coming to town to meet with the high school English teachers working on The Manchester Academic Standards.  Stotsky, the English Language content David Ryanexpert who refused to validate the Common Core national standards despite being  hired by Common Core to do so, offered her assistance to the city as it embarked on developing its own standards.  Assistant Superintendent David Ryan announced at the last school board meeting that the district had forwarded the first draft of the standards to Stotsky for her review.  Well, she’s apparently got something to say about them and will do so in a meeting with the standards writers tomorrow.  StotskyRyan told Girard at Large that based on conversations that he and Superintendent Debra Livingston have already had with Stotsky, they were hopeful her input will be helpful, saying that the district would take whatever time was necessary to ensure the best standards were developed, even if it meant delaying their release and implementation past the current timeline.

The Manchester School District announced the receipt of a twenty five thousand dollar grant from The Bean Foundation that will help underwrite the district’s Ready for Success program.  Ready for Success offers instruction to Kindergarteners Monday through Thursday, three hours a day, for four weeks.  Teachers work with identified students on early language and literacy skills that will prevent difficulties when it comes time to learn how to read in school.  The grant from the Bean Foundation will fund four classrooms for incoming first grade students from the city’s six non-Title I schools.

Religious groups are circulating a petition opposing a proposed constitutional amendment in the state that would add sexual orientation to the list of barred discrimination items.  As reported here last week, the Senate passed C A C R Seventeen which would change current language to read quote Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex [or], national origin, or sexual orientation” End quote Religious leaders aren’t in favor of discrimination of course.  They are, however, concerned that amending the state constitution to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation will force them to perform services, such as gay marriage, that violate their religious beliefs.  They believe if this amendment is ratified, there will be very serious ramifications for churches, religious schools, and businesses run by Christian men and women in New Hampshire.  We’ve linked to the petition and the amendment from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.