Saturday, May 18, 2013
The Associated Press
CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Board of Education has placed an indefinite moratorium on authorizing new charter schools after learning past approvals have increased state aid by more than $5 million.
The Nashua Telegraph reported that the board voted Wednesday at its meeting in Whitefield to hold off on approving new charter schools. In the past two years, the board has authorized eight new charter schools. The state gives charter schools about $5,500 in aid per student annually.
State board chairman Tom Raffio said the state money isn't there to support new schools.
"The problem now is that while we're certainly supportive of the concept of charter schools, we need to make sure that parents and students are protected, and to make sure that schools are sustainable," he said.
He said there is no appropriation to fund the aid needed for the schools. About 15 charter proposals are at various stages of development, he said.
Matt Southerton, executive director of the New Hampshire Center for Innovative Schools, said the decision could put a federal grant at risk since the money was awarded after the Legislature removed an earlier moratorium.
"The state board should authorize or deny any applicant based on the merits of their application. It is the elected Legislature's responsibility to fund or not to fund the budget," he said.