March 2021 Newsletter
Giving voters a voice by empowering elected school district officials to reclaim control over budgets and curriculum.
Webinar: Tool Kit for Newly Elected School Board Members
Newly elected school board members face a steep learning curve. Get an overview of responsibilities, timelines, common issues and necessary resources. Conducted by Donna Green, President of the School District Governance Association of NH.
Friday, April 23, 7:30 – 9:00 pm.
Registration is free but required in order to receive a Zoom invitation.
May 1 SDGA Annual General Meeting Once a year all members gather to vote in new board members, approve a budget, and most importantly, give direction to the board for legislative initiatives, model policies, bylaw changes and the direction of the organization. Please plan to be with us either in person in Concord or via Zoom. Approximately 10 am to 2:30 pm. It’s free but registration would be appreciated. A separate registration email will follow in a few days.
A Virtual Happy Hour!
Raise a glass of cheer with your SDGA friends on Zoom and talk about your favorite topics outside the structure of a meeting.
Happy Hour will resume in May. Watch for the date in April’s newsletter.
Agenda for our Annual General Meeting
The SDGA board is seeking to increase our impact on education in New Hampshire. It may require a change to our nonpartisan status. Please take a look at this draft agenda so you can see the issues we are trying to address and for which we very much would like your input. (It may be changed somewhat before being approved by the SDGA board at our April 3 board meeting via Zoom. We have found a very nice venue in Concord for our meeting…
AND… if at least 20 people commit to attending the Annual General Meeting in person, then I will commit to flying up from Tampa to attend the meeting in person. Who’s in? A registration link will follow in a few days.
SDGA-NH Annual General Meeting
Saturday, May 1, 2021
10:00: President’s Address
10:10: Vote to accept new members
10:15 Discussion and vote on proposed by-law changes
Article V, B Voting
Add: “The board may vote electronically on issues that arise outside of meetings when a sufficiently large members of the board has a chance to respond.”
Article X Standing and Ad Hoc Committees
“Each standing committee shall be chaired by a member of the Board,” should be “Each standing committee shall elect its own chairman who must be a member in good standing of the SDGANH. When a committee lacks a chair, it may become inactive until such time as it is possible to reactivate it.” BUT THEN…. what happens to our board? Do we replace standing committee chairmen with non-portfolio positions? If so, then Article VII: Elections, must be changed as Standing Committee chairs would not be elected by the membership at AGMs.
Article I: Name
Delete: “nonpartisan” from description of SDGANH
11:30 – 11:40 Discussion and approval of 2021-2022 budget
11:40-12:00 What should be public on our website?
12:00- 12:30: BREAK FOR LUNCH
12:30- 1:30: If “non-partisan” by-law change passes, discussion of positions on:
- Critical Race Theory instruction in schools and the 1619 Project
- School Choice
- Should we used Gencourtmobile to influence school board elections across the state?
1:30-1:45 Nomination and election for board positions:
(Contested seat candidates get 2 minutes each to speak.)
- Glenn Cordelli to stand for chair of Legislative Affairs
- Susan Morin to stand for Treasurer
- Jon DiPietro to stand for Communications and Outreach
- James LaFabvre to stand for At Large
- Policy vacant
- Accountability vacant
- Curriculum and Assessment vacant
- VP: Incumbent Karen Testerman is not standing for re-election.
1:45-2:15: Legislative Agenda for 2021-2022
2:15 – 3:00 Networking
SDGA Legislative Initiatives
We have initiated these bills to make budgets and collective bargaining much more transparent.
HB 206 Making Collective Bargaining Public
Read our testimony:
HB 348 Public Notice of Collective Contracts
Read our testimony:
HB 243, 454 and 415 Municipal budgets transparency
Read our testimony:
All our bills will be before legislators in the NH House. Then they will go to the Senate for vote. It is always helpful to call or email your local representative asking them to support our bills. When they understand that their constituents do care about transparency in government, they are more likely that take an interest in understanding the need for more legislation in this regard.
Upcoming Board Meetings
April 3, 9 am – 11 am
Monthly SDGA Board meetings are over Zoom. Members and interested people Email me if you wish to attend as you will need a Zoom invitation.
NH DOE News
State Senate Votes for Educational Freedom Accounts
Choice programs empower families to find education settings that work for their children
CONCORD- Today, the New Hampshire State Senate passed and tabled Senate Bill 130 establishing Education Freedom Accounts.
Below is a statement from New Hampshire Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.
“I am encouraged by the Senate actions today on Senate Bill 130. This moves forward the important policy of creating education options for all families and is a big step in the process of ensuring that all families and students across the state have a voice in their education. The tabling of the bill is just one more step in the legislative process and I am confident that New Hampshire can continue to work on this policy. Choice programs empower families to find education settings that work for their children. Choice programs such as this are taking shape in states across the country and it is only a matter of time before New Hampshire finds a place for a similar policy in our state.” -March 28, 2021
While New Hampshire “is continuing to work on this,” look what the Governor of West Virginia just signed:
HB 2013 creates an education savings account for children in West Virginia called the Hope Scholarship Program. It is the first school choice program in the state. The value of the ESA is 100 percent of the prior year’s average state aid per pupil. This year, that works out to being about $4,600 per pupil. Eligibility is expansive. Every kindergartener in the state is eligible for the ESA. All children grades 1-12 are eligible for the program with a prior public enrollment requirement of 45 days. If less than 5 percent of the net public school enrollment adjusted for state aid purposes for the previous year is enrolled in the ESA on July 1, 2024, then effective July 1, 2026, every child in the state of West Virginia will be eligible for the ESA. This would include all students already enrolled in private schools and all homeschool families. There is no income limit on this program. There is no cap on the number of the students that can be enrolled.
Thank you to Jan Bettencourt for bringing this to our attention.
Membership Fees Due on Jan. 1
A lifetime membership is only $200!
Your organization is funded exclusively through membership fees, seminar receipts and fund raising activity. Thank you for your continuing support! (New members who joined in the last quarter of the previous year have their membership carried forward to the end of the next year.)
Get Involved in SDGA
Help us with outreach: Are you involved in groups interested in school-related issues? Local GOP and taxpayer groups come to mind. Invite us to speak!
If you’re not already a member, and you want to support what you’re seeing and/or get involved, please join SDGA. Fill out an application on our web site! Dues are $20, which we’ll ask you for after we process your application.
Next time you renew, consider a Lifetime membership for $200! Renew your yearly membership here.
Or make a donation! We run on a shoestring, and every little bit helps.
President, School District Governance Association
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School District Governance Association of New HampshireP.O. Box 95
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