Charter schools ask N.H. to make local districts pay

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Charter school supporters are asking New Hampshire lawmakers to make local taxpayers help finance them so they don’t close.

Kingston Republican Kenneth Weyler told the House Education Committee yesterday that property taxpayers should help fund charter schools because they are public schools. Weyler said if legislation to require the local support isn’t passed, many of the schools will close.

But Dean Michener of the New Hampshire School Boards Association said that would be an unconstitutional unfunded mandate. Michener said the charter schools in question couldn’t get local support to open their doors, and instead turned to the state Board of Education for permission to open. He said they now want the state to force local taxpayers to pay for the state’s decision.

Charter schools get about $3,500 in per pupil state aid, but not all get local support. Some got started with the help of three-year federal grants, but the federal support has ended.

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