Education

Manchester Schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas presented his budget proposal to the city’s board of alderman Tuesday night. The plan looks to make up for the district’s projected $5 million shortfall.

The state’s largest school district has been squeezed financially in recent years by a combination of factors including reduced aid from the state and declining student enrollment.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was confirmed for a full, four-year term by the Executive Council Wednesday. Edelblut had earlier been appointed to fill out the remainder of the term of his predecessor, former commissioner Virginia Barry.

Edelblut was approved 3 to 2, in a party-line vote of the five-member council.

http://www.newmarketschoolprojects.com/

Voters in several towns weighed in on school construction projects yesterday

In Hampton, voters approved a $26 million renovation of the town’s middle school after rejecting the idea last year.

Kathleen Murphy is Hampton School District Superintendent.

“This is pretty good, this is pretty exciting. It’s a project that is long overdue but one that I think will be a testament to the Hampton community.”

Town meeting day is next week and for many communities the item that will be getting the most attention has to do with schools.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon joined All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to talk about what’s on the ballot for schools around the state this year.

UNH Law

The University of New Hampshire School of Law has named an expert in intellectual property law as its new dean.

After what school officials call an ‘extensive national search,’ Megan Carpenter, currently on the faculty of Texas A&M’s law school, will take over as dean of UNH Law in July.

unh.edu

The New Hampshire College and University Council has named prominent Democratic political operative Mike Vlacich as its new president.

Vlacich is best known in New Hampshire political circles as an advisor to the state’s most successful Democratic officeholders. He’s worked for John Lynch, Jeanne Shaheen, and Maggie Hassan.

Last year, he was state director for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

His new role at the College and University Council will begin in June when current president Tom Horgan is set to retire.

Two major school construction projects on the Seacoast will go before voters this month. Similar proposals for both projects have been defeated in the past.

School districts looking to build or renovate have been in a tight spot ever since the state’s school building aid program was put on hold almost a decade ago.

Case in point: the Hampton and Newmarket school districts.

Officials with both districts say the renovations are long overdue and that taxpayer money is being wasted caring for out-of-date school buildings.

With Republicans in full control of New Hampshire’s State House for the first time in more than a decade, Republicans have been moving quickly to enact policies that have long been on their wish list.

That’s been particularly true in public education.

The state senate passed a bill today that would allow school districts to use tax money to send students to qualifying private schools if there is no public school available in the district.

The so-called Croydon Bill was born out of a legal dispute between the Croydon school board and state officials.

Croydon, which does not have a public school for grades 5-12, began paying for a handful of students to attend a private Montessori School in nearby Newport.

A judge ruled that illegal and ordered Croydon to stop the payments.

The state Senate has passed, and then immediately tables, a bill that would increase state funding for school districts that offer full-day kindergarten programs.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Compared with the University System of New Hampshire, which was flat funded under the budget Republican Governor Chris Sununu presented earlier this month, the community college system did pretty well.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

The University of New Hampshire has announced a new scholarship program that will allow some in-state students to attend the university tuition-free.

Beginning next fall, UNH will offer free tuition to New Hampshire students who qualify for federal Pell Grants. The scholarships will go to around 285 incoming freshman and will cost the University roughly $300,000.

The announcement comes as lawmakers in Concord debate how much state support the University system should receive in the next budget.

Ryan Lessard for NHPR

The University of New Hampshire has received a grant to support training for early childhood math teachers in the state.

UNH will receive two-hundred thousand dollars to support an online professional development program for pre-k through third grade math teachers in New Hampshire.

The two-year program includes online coursework, in-person coaching, and an annual conference.

The money comes from the national non-profit 100Kin10 The group’s goal is to train 100,000 K-12 STEM teachers by the year 2021.

CREDIT MIKE ROSS, UNH

Officials with the state University System are registering their disappointment with Governor Chris Sununu’s proposal not to increase state funding for New Hampshire’s public universities.

The University System of New Hampshire requested an increase of about 12 million dollars over the next two fiscal years. They said the increase would allow them to keep tuition flat for in-state students.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

It’s been a busy year for Frank Edelblut. First, he rose from political unknown to near-upset in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, he’s poised to become the state’s next education commissioner. 

Edelblut’s background and philosophy would mark a significant break from his recent predecessors in that job.

playground
Brady Carlson / NHPR

Results from a new survey of public schools in New Hampshire shows that most elementary students aren’t receiving as much physical education as they should.

The survey of public school P.E. teachers was conducted by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

It found that none of the elementary school students in the schools who responded to the survey received the recommended average of at least 150 minutes of physical education each week.

Governor Chris Sununu has nominated former political rival Frank Edelblut as commissioner of the state Department of Education.

The announcement was a brief, unceremonious item on the Executive Council’s agenda Wednesday morning as Governor Chris Sununu read off a list of nominations.

“For the Commissioner of the state of the New Hampshire Department of Education I nominate Frank Edelblut of Wilton New Hampshire.”

But the choice signals a big shift in priorities for the state agency.

Some call it the toughest job in the state of New Hampshire: superintendent of the Manchester School District. To know why, it helps to understand just how different the district is from most in the state.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Parents, teachers, and city officials met in Manchester last night to discuss a projected six million dollar budget gap for the Manchester school district.

In recent years the Manchester school district, the state’s largest, has been beset by declining enrollment, reduced aid from the state, and rising pension costs. Those trends have now added up to a projected budget gap for next year of six million dollars. That’s out of a total operating budget of around 180 million dollars.

Dartmouth College and the town of Hanover are in a stand-off over a new $18 million athletic facility the college wants to build.

Last month, the Hanover Planning Board denied Dartmouth a permit for the proposed 70,000 square foot building. The structure would house training facilities for student-athletes to practice their sports during the winter.

The decision was a victory for neighbors who oppose the project for its size and proximity to a residential area.

Boston Public Library via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/bbjDXk

There’s a new lesson plan at Concord High and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Anna-Marie DiPasquale, the school’s social worker, started a new project this past fall called “Travel around the World.” The project allows Ms. DiPasquale to visit different classrooms with small groups of refugee students sharing their cultures and traditions firsthand.

Southern New Hampshire University has announced it will freeze tuition for the next academic year.

The freeze applies to SNHU’s online degree program as well as its on-campus undergraduate program.

The current sticker price for an undergraduate student living on campus at SNHU is currently around $44,000.

This marks the fifth year without a tuition increase at the private university.

Typical annual increases at other private universities have been around three percent in recent years.

Next school year, some high school students on the Seacoast will be able to hit the snooze button a few more times. The Oyster River and Portsmouth School Districts recently voted to move the start of their school days to 8:15 and 8:30, respectively. Research shows the change can help students get more sleep, but the decision was not without controversy.

“Get your clothes on, ok? Get dressed. Then come on down and meet me for breakfast.”

It’s 6:30 a.m. at the MacManes household in Durham, and that means it’s time to get ready for school.

Facing a projected operating loss of $2.6 million, New Hampshire's Colby-Sawyer College says it will "restructure" and lay off 18 employees.

College President Sue Stuebner says seven faculty members and 11 staffers at the New London college received notice Monday. Another 11 learned their hours will be modified and more than a dozen who are leaving won't be replaced.

The Valley News reports Stuebner attributes the current year's operating loss to recent fluctuation in Colby-Sawyer's enrollment, which went from about 1,500 four years ago to 1,100 this year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

New Hampshire has long lagged behind other states when it comes to the availability of full-day kindergarten. Legislators are likely to take up the issue this year, as they have in years past. But the ideas being debated in Concord this year likely won’t change the situation for school districts who can’t already afford to offer a full-day kindergarten program.

The Portsmouth School Board voted Tuesday night to make the start of the school day about an hour later for middle and high school students.

Next year, middle and high schoolers in Portsmouth will start the school day at about 8:30. The current start time is 7:30.

Research shows the extra time can make a big difference for students in everything from emotional well-being to academic performance.

Board member Patrick Ellis voted in favor of the change.

unh.edu

Last week, students, faculty and staff at the University of New Hampshire received an email from UNH president Mark Huddleston condemning a recent spike in incidents of hate speech on campus. NHPR’s Jason Moon visited campus to see how the school community was responding to the letter.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

Amid uncertainty about the future of the country’s immigration laws under a Trump administration, Dartmouth is trying to reassure undocumented students that they’re welcome on campus — and that the school will try to protect them from potential changes in the law that might be in store.

University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire President Mark Huddleston sent a campus-wide email Tuesday condemning what he says has been a recent increase in hate incidents on campus.

File Photo

New Hampshire’s Community College system asked lawmakers for an increase in state funding at a budget hearing in Concord today. College officials say the increase is needed to avoid a hike in tuition.

Officials with the state Community College system are asking for about 49 million dollars for next fiscal year and 52.5 million for the year after. That’s up from their current annual budget of 44 million dollars.

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