Governor Sununu presented his budget this week and for the most part, it was positively received. It has a ways to go yet before it is finalized, but a few things stand out.
He has committed to fund full day kindergarten, but with a few caveats: the $9 million budgeted will be targeted to the most needy school districts, and will only cover 50% of the state’s per-pupil grant for kindergarten students.
In the same budget, increased funding of $15 million is being proposed for NH charter schools. There are 24 charter schools in NH with 2,985 total students.( NH DOE). Just seven charter schools offer kindergarten and have just 108 students overall.
Based on last year’s traditional public school kindergarten enrollment numbers ( 9,127 per NH DOE), giving full adequacy grants to all districts with full day kindergarten would cost $14,5 million.
(NH public schools have 177,84 total students enrolled in 2016.)
This is a crystal clear example of diverting much needed funding away from our traditional public schools in favor of a tiny group of schools. Providing 2,985 students $15 million instead of fully funding all 9,127 kindergarten students for an additional $6.5 million is illogical and strikes me as the Governor playing to the ideological base that got him nominated and elected.
The cry for " education freedom" will cost us on our property tax bills as they continue to nudge the camels nose under the tent.