Tags: schools | new | hampshire

Fight Brewing Over NH Schools Amendment

Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012 08:41 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is fighting with Republican lawmakers over a proposed constitutional amendment that would change how public schools are funded.
 
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Republicans contend the amendment’s language could allow the courts too much authority to intervene in how public school funding is allocated. Lynch argues their objections reflect a belief that the state “shouldn’t have any responsibility for public education.”
 
“That’s absurd,” Lynch, a Democrat, told a meeting of Portsmouth Rotarians recently.
 
Lynch’s comments prompted House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt to fire off an angry letter Monday, charging that the governor’s “negative comments” aren’t helping to reach a compromise on differing House and Senate versions of the amendment.
 
Specifically, Bettencourt and other GOP leaders object to the Senate language, which says the state has a “responsibility” to provide public schools and set standards. They say the wording could open the way for state courts to impose even more restrictions than they have already on how and where the legislature targets school funding.
 
“What is a concern is its placement, and the effect its placement will have on the overall goal we are trying to achieve,” Bettencourt said of the amendment wording. “There are other important aspects of the amendment that require clarification, such as its effect on charter schools, school choice, and homeschooling.”
 
Bettencourt insists, however, that “there is room for compromise” in the responsibility language.
 

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