Measuring Up to the Model



New Hampshire

TOTAL SCORE:
128 out of 228

Rank: 30 out of 43

Year Charter School Law Was Enacted:  1995
Estimated Number of Public Charter Schools in 2013-14:  19
Estimated Number of Public Charter School Students in 2013-14:  2,133

This year, New Hampshire enacted a budget that made some technical fixes to how the state funds charter schools. This had been an issue for the state board of education when it instituted a moratorium on charter schools last fall. With that problem fixed, the state board lifted its moratorium this summer and approved four new schools to open.

New Hampshire’s score increased from 113 points in 2013 to 128 points this year.  The score changed because of a change in state policy for Component #1 (No Caps), a change in state practice for Component #3 (Multiple Authorizers Available), and a change in our methodology for Component #4 (Authorizer and Overall Program Accountability System Required).  Its ranking stayed at #30.

Potential areas for improvement in New Hampshire’s charter school law include providing additional authorizing options for charter applicants, ensuring authorizer accountability, providing adequate authorizer funding, and ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

Do New Hampshire's laws align to the model law?

Model Law Component

Matches

New Hampshire's Charter Law

Score

1. No Caps

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

New Hampshire law allows up to 10 conversion or new charter schools per year for those approved by both a local school board and the state board of education.

New Hampshire law also provides that no more than 10% of the resident pupils in a district in any grade are eligible to transfer to a state-authorized charter school in any school year without local school board approval.

There are 19 charter schools in the state.

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1A. No limits are placed on the number of public charter schools or students (and no geographic limits).

1B. If caps exist, adequate room for growth.

2. A Variety of Public Charter Schools Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law allows public school conversions and new start-up schools. It is silent on virtual charter schools, but one is operating.

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2A. New start-ups.

2B. Public school conversions.

2C. Virtual schools.

3. Multiple Authorizers Available

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

In one route, New Hampshire law provides that the local school board and the state board approve the application. It also allows applicants denied by the local school board to appeal to the state board.

In a second route, New Hampshire law allows applicants to apply directly to the state board of education.

For any public school conversions, New Hampshire law provides that approval can occur by vote of the local school board following an affirmative vote by a majority of teachers in the district or 2/3rd of teachers in a single school district, as well as the principal and district superintendent. In addition, the state board must approve such applications and grant the charters.

There is some authorizing activity by the state board of education but little activity by local school boards.

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3A. The state allows two or more authorizing options (e.g., school districts and a state charter schools commission) for each applicant with direct application to each authorizer.

4. Authorizer & Overall Program Accountability System Required

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

To become an authorizer, New Hampshire law requires the local school district to vote to participate and determine what percentage of their students is allowed to participate in charter schools, but it does not require local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state.

While the law does not require the legislature and governor to regularly review the performance of the state board of education as an authorizer, they can do so at any time. In addition, the ability of the state board of education to continue authorizing can be removed by the legislature and governor (the entities that gave it that authority).

By statute, the state board of education must convene one or more working committees to study and make recommendations regarding the implementation and effectiveness of charter schools, with such recommendations provided to a joint legislative oversight committee. In turn, the joint legislative committee must prepare an annual report regarding any recommended legislative changes.

However, it does not require authorizer submission of an annual report that summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio, a regular review process by authorizer oversight body of local school board authorizers, and an authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction local school board authorizers, including removal of authorizer right to approve schools.

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4A. At least a registration process for local school boards to affirm their interest in chartering to the state.

4B. Application process for other eligible authorizing entities.

N/A

4C. Authorizer submission of annual report, which summarizes the agency’s authorizing activities as well as the performance of its school portfolio.

4D. A regular review process by authorizer oversight body.

4E. Authorizer oversight body with authority to sanction authorizers, including removal of authorizer right to approve schools.

4F. Periodic formal evaluation of overall state charter school program and outcomes.

5. Adequate Authorizer Funding

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law includes none of the model law's provisions for adequate authorizer funding.

0

5A. Adequate funding from authorizing fees (or other sources).

5B. Guaranteed funding from authorizing fees (or from sources not subject to annual legislative appropriations).

5C. Requirement to publicly report detailed authorizer expenditures.

5D. Separate contract for any services purchased from an authorizer by a school.

5E. Prohibition on authorizers requiring schools to purchase services from them.

6. Transparent Charter Application, Review, and Decisionmaking Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

New Hampshire law includes a long list of items that must be included in an application. It also contains additional application elements specific to conversion schools and specific when using educational service providers. It does not require additional application elements specific to virtual schools and replications.

It does not require authorizers to issue requests for proposals, but statute and regulations require a thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

New Hampshire law requires that application decisions be made at a public meeting, with written reasons specifying areas deemed deficient provided for denials.

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6A. Application elements for all schools.

6B. Additional application elements specific to conversion schools.

6C. Additional application elements specific to virtual schools.

6D. Additional application elements specific when using educational service providers.

6E. Additional application elements specific to replications.

6F. Authorizer-issued request for proposals (including application requirements and approval criteria).

6G. Thorough evaluation of each application including an in-person interview and a public meeting.

6H. All charter approval or denial decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for denials in writing.

7. Performance-Based Charter Contracts Required

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

New Hampshire law requires the use of a charter contract and provides a detailed list of required contractual items that focus on the responsibilities for the school but do not cover the roles and responsibilities of the authorizer.

It requires the contract to include academic and other learning goals and objectives as well as achievement tests to be used to measure pupil academic and other goal achievement for specific subject areas, but does not include a more robust list of academic and operational performance expectations based on a performance framework.

New Hampshire law provides that the initial charter contract is for a five-year term.

It does not include requirements addressing the unique environments of virtual schools.

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7A. Being created as a separate document from the application and executed by the governing board of the charter school and the authorizer.

7B. Defining the roles, powers, and responsibilities for the school and its authorizer.

7C. Defining academic and operational performance expectations by which the school will be judged, based on a performance framework that includes measures and metrics for, at a minimum, student academic proficiency and growth, achievement gaps, attendance, recurrent enrollment, postsecondary readiness (high schools), financial performance, and board stewardship (including compliance).

7D. Providing an initial term of five operating years (or a longer term with periodic high-stakes reviews.

7E. Including requirements addressing the unique environments of virtual schools, if applicable.

8. Comprehensive Charter School Monitoring and Data Collection Processes

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

New Hampshire law requires each charter school’s board of trustees to report to their authorizer at least quarterly, for public information purposes, the progress of achieving the charter’s stated goals and their finances.

New Hampshire law requires all charter schools to complete an annual financial audit and submit the result to the state board (similar to all school districts). In addition, the law requires that charter schools be subject to a first year program audit by the state department of education or its agent and to a program audit by the state department of education at least once every three years thereafter.

Statute also includes many monitoring responsibilities for authorizers. Statute requires the state board to give notice of any concerns and allows them to require the implementation of a remedial plan and to place schools on probationary status for up to one year.

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8A. The collection and analysis of student outcome data at least annually by authorizers (consistent with performance framework outlined in the contract).

8B. Financial accountability for charter schools (e.g., Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, independent annual audit reported to authorizer).

8C. Authorizer authority to conduct or require oversight activities.

8D. Annual school performance reports which are made public.

8E. Authorizer notification to their schools of perceived problems, with opportunities to remedy such problems.

8F. Authorizer authority to take appropriate corrective actions or exercise sanctions short of revocation.

9. Clear Processes for Renewal, Nonrenewal, and Revocation Decisions

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

Regulations require the charter school board of trustees to apply for renewal no later than one year before the original charter is set to expire and require this application to include the school's fourth-year annual report for their first renewal and the most recent report for future renewals.

New Hampshire law requires that a charter school must meet or exceed the objective academic test results or standards and goals as set forth in it application in order to be renewed.

During the term of a charter, New Hampshire law provides that any charter school parent (or local school board involved) can submit a written petition to the state board or request the revocation of a charter. The law provides that after reasonable notice has been provided to all affected parties, the state board may revoke a school's charter prior to the expiration of its term under the following circumstances: the school commits a material violation of any of the conditions, standards, or procedures set forth in its charter application and contract; the school fails to meet generally accepted standards for fiscal management; the school significantly violates the law; or the school makes a material misrepresentation in its application or contract application; the school becomes insolvent or financially unstable.

Statute indicates that renewals are for a term of five years.

The law provides charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions including a written notice of concerns and the right to a public hearing.

The law requires renewal, nonrenewal, and revocation decisions to be made in a public hearing, with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

Statute requires provisions for dissolution of a given charter school (including disposition of its assets) be detailed in the contract, as well as a plan for the education of the school’s pupils. In addition, statute details the disposition of assets if not clear within the charter contract.

New Hampshire law does not require authorizers to issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year, require authorizers to issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans, and provide authorizers the authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

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9A. Authorizer must issue school performance renewal reports to schools whose charter will expire the following year.

9B. Schools seeking renewal must apply for it.

9C. Authorizers must issue renewal application guidance that provides an opportunity for schools to augment their performance record and discuss improvements and future plans.

9D. Clear criteria for renewal and nonrenewal/revocation.

9E. Authorizers must ground renewal decisions based on evidence regarding the school’s performance over the term of the charter contract (in accordance with the performance framework set forth in the charter contract).

9F. Authorizer authority to vary length of charter renewal contract terms based on performance or other issues.

9G. Authorizers must provide charter schools with timely notification of potential revocation or non-renewal (including reasons) and reasonable time to respond.

9H. Authorizers must provide charter schools with due process for nonrenewal and revocation decisions (e.g., public hearing, submission of evidence).

9I. All charter renewal, non-renewal, and revocation decisions made in a public meeting, with authorizers stating reasons for non-renewals and revocations in writing.

9J. Authorizers must have school closure protocols to ensure timely parent notification, orderly student and record transitions, and property and asset disposition.

10. Educational Service Providers (ESPs) Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law allows charters to contract with outside entities to manage the school and requires them to include the terms of any such outside contract within an addendum in the school’s charter contract, with such terms reviewed and approved by the authorizer.

Statute also specifically requires any conflict of interest between a board of trustee member and any for-profit entity in which a contract is being sought for services to be made public and requires that board member to recuse himself from any issues related to that entity. If not, the law gives the state commissioner of education the authority to void the contact and provides that the board member can be held personally liable to the charter school for any damages caused by such contract.

The law does not require the charter application to include performance data for all current and past schools operated by the educational service provider and an explanation and evidence of the educational service provider’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

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10A. All types of educational service providers (both for-profit and non-profit) explicitly allowed to operate all or parts of schools.

10B. The charter application requires 1) performance data for all current and past schools operated by the ESP, including documentation of academic achievement and (if applicable) school management success; and 2) explanation and evidence of the ESP’s capacity for successful growth while maintaining quality in existing schools.

10C. A performance contract is required between the independent public charter school board and the ESP, setting forth material terms including but not limited to: performance evaluation measures; methods of contract oversight and enforcement by the charter school board; compensation structure and all fees to be paid to the ESP; and conditions for contract renewal and termination.

10D. The material terms of the ESP performance contract must be approved by the authorizer prior to charter approval.

10E. School governing boards operating as entities completely independent of any educational service provider (e.g., must retain independent oversight authority of their charter schools, and cannot give away their authority via contract).

10F. Existing and potential conflicts of interest between the two entities are required to be disclosed and explained in the charter application.

11. Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Public Charter School Boards

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

New Hampshire law provides that charter schools must operate as a nonprofit secular organization, be independent of any local school board, and be managed by a board of trustees having general supervisory control and authority over the operations of the chartered school.

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11A. Fiscally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to receive and disburse funds, incur debt, and pledge, assign or encumber assets as collateral).

11B. Legally autonomous schools (e.g., schools have clear statutory authority to enter into contracts and leases, sue and be sued in their own names, and acquire real property).

11C. School governing boards created specifically to govern their charter schools.

12. Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Lottery Procedures

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. However, it also provides that students who are a resident of the district where the school is located must be given admission preference over a nonresident pupil.

New Hampshire law requires a lottery to be used if interest exceeds capacity.

New Hampshire law requires that students in conversion schools be given preference in such schools and that prior year students within chartered schools be given preference.

Regulations require a charter application to describe the preferential status, if any, of children of the founding members of the charter school, but offer no restrictions on a maximum percentage.

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12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Lottery requirements.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

12D. Optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

13. Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

New Hampshire law provides that charter schools are fully exempt from state laws and rules that otherwise apply to public or nonpublic schools.

New Hampshire law requires at least 50% of charter school teaching staff to be certified or have three years teaching experience.

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13A. Exemptions from all laws, except those covering health, safety, civil rights, student accountability, employee criminal history checks, open meetings, freedom of information, and generally accepted accounting principles.

13B. Exemption from state teacher certification requirements.

14. Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

New Hampshire law does not require charter schools to participate in existing district bargaining agreements. Statue also specifies that any bargaining units at a charter school must be separate from other bargaining units.

12

14A. Charter schools authorized by non-local board authorizers are exempt from participation in any outside collective bargaining agreements.

14B. Charter schools authorized by local boards are exempt from participation in any district collective bargaining agreements.

15. Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law is silent regarding these arrangements.

2

15A. Oversee multiple schools linked under a single contract with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

15B. Hold multiple charter contracts with independent fiscal and academic accountability for each school.

16. Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

There is nothing in statute or regulation that provides eligibility and access to charter schools. Instead, statute encourages charter schools and their host school districts to enter into mutually advantageous contractual relationships in the sharing of transportation, instructional, athletic, maintenance, and other services and facilities.

1

16A. Laws or regulations explicitly state that charter school students and employees are eligible to participate in all interscholastic leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships, and recognition programs available to non-charter public school students and employees.

16B. Laws or regulations explicitly allow charter school students in schools not providing extra-curricular and interscholastic activities to have access to those activities at non-charter public schools for a fee by a mutual agreement.

17. Clear Identification of Special Education Responsibilities

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law provides that the funding and educational decision-making process for children with disabilities attending a chartered public school is the responsibility of the resident district and must retain all current options available to the parent and to the school district.

Although the law clearly indicates that the district is the local educational agency responsible for providing special education services, it does not specify how low-incident, high cost services are to be handled.

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17A. Clarity regarding which entity is the local education agency (LEA) responsible for providing special education services.

17B. Clarity regarding funding for low-incident, high-cost services for charter schools (in the same amount and/or in a manner similar to other LEAs).

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

For any charter schools approved by a local school board, New Hampshire law provides that a minimum of 80% of the per-pupil expenditures in the school district follows a student to schools.

For charter schools approved by the state board of education, New Hampshire law provides that the states’ annual per pupil contribution to public education (that is, adequacy and disparity aid) follows a student to school.

In theory, charter schools are eligible for all applicable categorical funding, but clear guidance regarding some funds is not available.

In reference to transportation, New Hampshire law provides that pupils who reside in the school district in which the charter is located must be provided transportation to the charter by that district. However, it also provides that the charter school must cover any added costs for such transportation services. In addition, a charter application must provide a pupil transportation plan, including reasonable provision from the charter school’s own resources for transportation of pupils residing outside the district in which the charter school is physically located.

The bulk of the state’s charters are authorized by the state board of education, not local school boards. According to recent data, the state-authorized charters receive $5,498 per pupil, as compared to state average for district students of $13,159 per pupil.

0

18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding, and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

New Hampshire law provides that charter schools are also eligible to access tax-exempt financing through the New Hampshire Health and Education Facilities Authority.

New Hampshire law allows charter schools to lease, through the school district, buildings that receive state school building aid.

New Hampshire law also provides that charter schools are eligible for state grants for leased space similar to other public schools, but the state has not appropriated any dollars to fund these grants.

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19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance which annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19D. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allow charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19E. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for public charter school facilities.

19F. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to non-charter public schools.

19G. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.

19H. Prohibition of facility-related requirements stricter than those applied to traditional public schools.

20. Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

New Hampshire law provides that a charter school may choose to participate in the state teacher retirement system, with service in a charter school counting like any other public school.

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20A. Charter schools have access to relevant state retirement systems available to other public schools.

20B. Charter schools have the option to participate (i.e., not required).