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.

New data released today by the U.S. Department of Education shows students — in New Hampshire and elsewhere — who graduate from career training programs at public universities tend to earn more than those who attended private, for-profit institutions.

Jason Moon for NHPR

The Portsmouth School Board held a public hearing last night on whether to push back the start of the school day for middle and high schoolers next year.

Among the roughly 60 parents and teachers who attended last night's meeting, there was broad agreement that a later start time could benefit students. A growing body of research suggests later start times can help teens get more sleep and be more productive during the school day.

Portsmouth superintendent Steve Zadravec outlined two proposals to push middle and high school start times back by an hour.

The Portsmouth School Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday evening on whether the school day should begin later for the city’s middle and high school students.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today, millions of Americans around the country are performing their civic duty at the voting booth. But here in New Hampshire, there’s growing concern that students aren’t learning enough about the historical foundations behind that tradition. 

The Community College System of New Hampshire today announced it had been awarded a 1.2 million dollar grant from the federal department of labor.

Mike Ross, UNH

The University of New Hampshire is waiving its fifty dollar application fee for all in-state undergraduate applicants this year.

Last year, UNH had a record number of total applicants – over 20,000. But less than 25 percent of those were New Hampshire residents. The number of in-state applicants is down from five years ago.

Victoria Dutcher, head of enrollment management at UNH, hopes waiving the fees for in-state applicants will help change that.

Johannes Thiel via Flickr cc

 

Breaking up is hard to do. But in New Hampshire, multi-town school districts and administrative units (SAUs) are doing just that. Some say the process should be made easier, particularly for cooperative districts that were designed to discourage dissolution. But others warn of unintended consequences for students.  

School enrollment throughout New England has been declining, a demographic change that has prompted Maine and Vermont to encourage districts and towns to combine schools and resources to save money and provide educational opportunities for students.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Senate president Chuck Morse is calling for the state to enter into a settlement with Dover after a judge ruled a spending cap placed on the districts’ schools was unconstitutional.

Last week a judge ruled a legislative spending cap that had kept money from fast growing schools districts like Dover, was unconstitutional.

Now, Senate President Chuck Morse, who had intervened to defend the cap in the lawsuit, says the state Attorney General should settle the case for the amount the cap cost Dover in fiscal year 2016. Dover says that’s about $1.5 million.

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