HB 1707-FN-A-LOCAL – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1707-FN-A-LOCAL
This bill establishes a school choice certificate program which makes available a certain number of school choice certificates to be used at participating nonpublic schools.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six
AN ACT establishing a school choice certificate program.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Statement of Purpose. It is the purpose of this act to maintain and improve the quality of education in all schools in the state by providing to all parents or legal guardians in the state enhanced opportunity for the exercise of parental choice in the education of their school-age children.
2 New Chapter; School Choice Certificate Program. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 193-H the following new chapter:
SCHOOL CHOICE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM
193-I:1 Program Established. A school choice certificate program is hereby established for the purpose of allowing the parent or legal guardian of a child to receive, on request, a certificate that may be used for tuition at a nonpublic school in New Hampshire selected by the child’s parent or legal guardian.
193-I:2 Eligibility and Funding.
I.(a) School choice certificates shall be available as set forth in this section for payment of tuition at an eligible approved nonpublic school up to the value of the certificate. Funding of school choice certificates shall be made through the education trust fund established in RSA 198:39.
(b) Entry into the program shall be limited to those pupils entering grades 1-12. Pupils entering grades 2-12 must have been enrolled in a New Hampshire public school for the full academic year preceding the year of entry into the program.
(c) Only students whose family income does not exceed 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, as established and updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. section 9902 (2), are eligible for entry to the program. The department of education shall require proof that a pupil is a legal resident of this state as a prerequisite to participation in this program and shall annually verify the income eligibility of each program participant.
(d) Applications for the program shall be submitted to the appropriate department of education official, on a form provided by the department of education, not earlier than December 1 and not later than June 30 of the academic year preceding the year of participation. The department of education shall notify applicants of acceptance or non-acceptance into the program during the month of July.
II. Certificates shall be made available as follows:
(a) In the first year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 2,000 certificates statewide.
(b) In the second year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 4,000 certificates statewide.
(c) In the third year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 6,000 certificates statewide.
(d) In the fourth year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 8,000 certificates statewide.
(e) In the fifth year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 10,000 certificates statewide.
(f) In the sixth year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 12,000 certificates statewide.
(g) In the seventh year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 14,000 certificates statewide.
(h) In the eighth year of the program, to children entering grades 1-12, up to a maximum of 16,000 certificates statewide.
III.(a) The number of certificates allocated to a school district in a given year shall be a percentage of the total number of certificates available in that year. Such percentage shall be calculated by dividing the most recently available average daily membership in residence (ADMR) in the school district as defined in RSA 198:38, VI, by the most recently available total statewide average daily membership in residence as calculated by the department of education.
(b) For any school district, however, the increase in the number of certificates offered between successive years shall be limited so as not to be greater than the difference between the ADMR used for the most recent calculation of per pupil aid and the ADMR used for the calculation in the immediately preceding year. Such limitation shall not affect the number of certificates available to any other school district.
(c) A pupil participating in this program shall be counted in the ADMR of the pupil’s resident school district.
IV. In any school district where there are more applicants for certificates than certificates available in a given year as determined under paragraph III, a lottery shall be held by the department of education and certificates shall be allocated according to the following criteria:
(a) First, to pupils who were awarded certificates in the immediately preceding year.
(b) Second, to pupils from families where the family income is below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines as established and updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. section 9902 (2).
(c) Third, to pupils from families where the family income is below 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines as established and updated periodically in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. section 9902 (2).
V. Pupils enrolled in the school choice certificate program shall notify the department of education no later than June 30 of each year of their intent to remain in the program.
193-I:3 Value of Certificate.
I. The value of a school choice certificate for any individual pupil shall be 80 percent of the state calculated per pupil aid for the municipality in which the student resides as determined by the department of education.
II. In this chapter, “per pupil aid” shall be defined as the total state funding, including that raised by the statewide enhanced education tax under RSA 76:3, divided by the ADMR used for the calculation of state aid for that year, provided that:
(a) No parent shall receive a school choice certificate whose total household adjusted gross income for federal income tax purposes is greater than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines as set by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
(b) Parents whose total household adjusted gross income for federal income tax purposes is not greater than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines as set by the United States Department of Health and Human Services shall be eligible for 100 percent of the school choice certificate amount established in this section.
(c) The remaining 20 percent of the per pupil aid amount shall be directed to the pupil’s district of residence.
(d) For a municipality which receives no moneys from the education trust fund, the value of the school choice certificate shall be based on a municipality’s statewide enhanced education tax assessments under RSA 76:3.
193-I:4 Participating Schools.
I. The appropriate official for each nonpublic school shall decide whether to participate in the certificate program.
II. A nonpublic school may admit a child with a certificate, up to the limit of the school’s capacity, after reserving places for children admitted in accordance with the school’s regular admissions practices.
III. A nonpublic school shall establish criteria for the admission of children with certificates that are consistent with the admissions criteria that it regularly applies.
IV. Participating schools shall be permitted flexibility to educate pupils in accordance with the school’s educational mission.
V. Only nonpublic schools approved by the state of New Hampshire shall be eligible to participate in this program.
193-I:5 Redeeming Certificates.
I. The appropriate official in the department of education shall administer the certificate program for each pupil who participates in the program. Each nonpublic school which participates in this program shall, no later than June 30 of each year, submit verification of each student in attendance for the full school year under this program on a form provided by the department of education. Such verification shall list the name, address, dates of attendance, and the tuition cost for each student attending under this program.
II. The value of the certificate shall be issued by the state treasurer, made out to the pupil’s parent or legal guardian and mailed to the nonpublic school of choice. Distributions made under this section shall coincide with the schedule set forth in RSA 198:42. A parent or legal guardian shall endorse the check for redemption by an official of the nonpublic school.
III. The value of a school choice certificate shall be prorated on a per diem basis for pupils attending a nonpublic school for less than a full school year.
193-I:6 Transportation. Any transportation costs for transporting a child to a nonpublic school outside of the local school district shall be borne by the child’s parent or legal guardian.
193-I:7 Testing. Each nonpublic school which accepts a pupil who is a participant in the school choice certificate program shall submit to the department of education, no later than June 30 of each year, the test scores of any standardized test taken while such pupil was enrolled in the nonpublic school. No personally identifiable information shall be released with the test scores. This provision shall apply only to pupils in the third, sixth, and tenth grades. The standardized test shall be a test that is nationally accredited or recognized and which offers an objective, comprehensive estimate of a pupil’s educational development in areas such as language arts, reading, mathematics, and social studies.
193-I:8 Liability Limited.
I. Except as specifically provided in this chapter, a nonpublic school shall not be required to comply with additional laws or rules as a result of attendance by pupils whose parents receive school choice certificates.
II. A nonpublic school shall not be required to accept pupils whose parents receive school choice certificates.
III. No school district shall be held liable for damages in an action to recover for bodily injury, personal injury, property damage as defined in RSA 507-B:1, or failure to educate pupils, where the action arises out of a parent’s exercise of options under the provisions of this chapter.
193-I:9 Rulemaking. The state board of education shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the development of forms necessary to implement this chapter.
193-I:10 Severability. If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.
3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2007.
HB 1707 FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT An act establishing a school choice certificate program.
The Department of Education states this bill will increase state expenditures by $97,747 in FY 2008, $102,043 in FY 2009, and $106,425 in FY 2010. Local revenue will be decreased by $6,684,000 in FY 2009, $13,368,000 in FY 2010, and by greater amounts in future years as additional certificates are issued. There will be no fiscal impact on state and county revenue or local and county expenditures.
The Department assumed a new Educational Consultant, labor grade 26, and a Program Assistant, labor grade 12, will be necessary to implement this bill at the following salaries:
FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010
Educational Consultant Salary $43,680 $ 45,630 $ 47,678
Program Assistant Salary 24,200 25,233 26,228
Benefits @ 44% of salaries 29,867 31,180 32,519
Total Salaries and Benefits $97,747 $102,043 $106,425
The Department assumes that in order to establish the program, the positions will require funding the year before the first certificates are first issued, which will be in FY 2009. The Department assumes certificates will be paid from 80% of the sending school district’s education grant received from the education trust fund attributable to the student for whom the certificate is issued; therefore, the value of certificates issued will equal the reduction in local revenue. The Department further assumes students receiving certificates will remain in the sending districts average daily membership in residence, and the district will continue to receive 20% of the previous grant amount. The Department determined, based on the statewide average per pupil education grant, the average certificate will be $3,342, and all of the certificates authorized by this bill in each year will be issued as follows:
FY 2009 FY 2010
Certificates issued 2,000 4,000
Average Certificate Value x $3,342 x $3,342
Total Value of Certificates
(Reduction in local revenue) $6,684,000 $13,368,000