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AFT-NH Legislative Update For Week Of June 23

HB 142 TEACHER EVALUATION BILL AND NH WAVIER UNDER NCLB

It’s taken some time to write this because this has been a very busy week in Concord.  As the legislative session races to an end, there are many simultaneous meetings happening and news developing, and it all changes by the hour!

First we have HB 142 teacher evaluation which the Senate amended by taking out the language regarding collective bargaining. The House requested a Committee of Conference. The committee hearing lasted no more than an hour by which time they agreed on the following:
Amend RSA 189:1-a, III as inserted by section 1 of the bill by replacing it with the following: III.

School boards shall adopt a teacher performance evaluation system, with the involvement of teachers and principals, for use in the school district. A school board may consider any resources it deems reasonable and appropriate, including any resources that may be provided by the state department of education. In this paragraph, “teacher” shall have the same meaning as in RSA 189:14-a, V.

This is not the outcome we wanted. The Commissioner of Education stated that because the collective bargaining language was in the Federal waiver it was not needed in HB 142. Within seconds the Commissioner told me and the rest of the committee that she would write an advisory memo state that the collective bargaining language was in the Federal waiver and that districts need to abide by that language.
It was later stated that this bill and SB 48: relative to school performance and accountability, needed to pass in order for the NH waiver to be approved by the Federal Department of Education. Which in fact did happen—this Monday afternoon the NH DOE received word that the NH wavier was approved.  However it is not known if there will be any caveats in the approval letter. When more is known I will update you.

All in all the entire waiver is better than “No Child Left Behind” but there are many improvements that can still be made.  The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee of the US Senate will be reviewing the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013 (the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act). The bill is an improvement over existing law. Specifically, there is transition language to allow two years for the new assessments to stabilize, and to allow teachers, states, and school districts to focus on implementation of the Common Core State Standards before imposing consequences.  This is hugely important. However, there are additional concerns regarding this legislation that your Senators need to hear.   By clicking here you can send a letter to our two US Senators with these concerns.

STANDING UP FOR EMPLOYEE PROTECTION

The NH Senate amended HB 357 (which would have prohibited an employer from using credit history in employment decisions), by tacking on SB 100 which would have abolished paper paycheck options and made paycards a possible condition of employment.  At the Committee of Conference hearing on Tuesday the House members would not concede to the Senate position thus defeating the bill. AFT-NH would like to thank Representatives Andy White, Chuck Weed, Doug Ley and Michael Cahill for standing up for working families in NH.

STATE BUDGET

The budget Committee of Conference reached a deal early Thursday morning. When they started they were many agreed upon items but also many areas of disagreement.  In the end, a compromise was reached and an agreement will be voted on by both House and Senate this coming week.

From what I understand school districts will receive at least what they received last year.  This is good news but we would have liked to have seen districts receive an increase in funding.

To read the final amended version on HB 1 click here, and to read the final amended version HB 2 click here.

Here are some links to articles on the budget:

Governor Hassan Applauds Bipartisan Budget Agreement

Concord Monitor:  Compromise crafted on N.H. state budget

Union Leader: $10.7 billion, two-year state budget officially endorsed

Nashua Telegraph: State budget leaders reach agreement

UPCOMING SUBCOMMITTEE WORK ON RETAINED BILLS

The House Education committee retained the following charter school bills:

HB 435-FN, relative to funding for chartered public school pupils,
HB 243, relative to the board of trustees of a chartered public school,
HB 424-FN, relative to review of chartered public school applications by the state board of education.

The subcommittee will be meeting on Tuesday, June 25 at 10 am in room LOB 207. We will monitor these committee hearings and will send out updated on the progress of the meeting.

If you have any questions or concerns please email me at lhainey@aft-nh.org

In Solidarity,
Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.
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