About 30 people attended Thursday’s Croydon School Board Meeting to hear about options after a ruling forbidding Croydon from sending students to private schools. The school board gave a quick overview of various they could take after receiving the permanent injunction last Friday.
One option was to ask Judge Brian Tucker for a clarification on his ruling since some of the rulings were based on Croydon belonging to SAU #43, but now is SAU #99.
Another option was to take the case to NH Supreme court and ask for a stay until the case is heard. Chairman Jody Underwood said they haven’t met with their attorney yet but estimates the costs would be about $20,000. The district plans to raise the funds through crowd funding as they did for this court case.
Executive councilor and candidate for Governor Chris Sununu told the school board that they have many people on their side.
Sununu encouraged the school district to keep fighting.
School board member Jim Peschke said he wants to explore the costs the fighting the case against the odds of winning before making a decision.
L-R Superintendent Greg Vogt, Jody Underwood, Angi Beaulieu, and Jim Peschke
Croydon School District is now SAU 99 and has hired a part time Superintendent. Superintendent of SAU 99 Greg Vogt is retired from the Plainfield School District. This follows a vote in March by both Croydon and Newport voters to leave SAU 43. Newport School District has maintained the number 43 for their new SAU. The Croydon School Board introduced Vogt at their board meeting Thursday night. Superintendent Vogt started on July 1, 2016.
Croydon students who attend the Newport Montessori School will not be allowed to have their tuition paid by the town. Sullivan County Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker issued the decision on Friday on the case that was heard in March. The judge sided with the State Board of Education who argued that private schools may not be meeting adequacy requirements and that the law prevents using public funds for private schools. The state won the permanent injunction they requested but back tuition or legal cost does not have to be paid by Croydon. The Croydon School Board will meet on Thursday August 4 at 6:30 to discuss this matter and the public is invited to attend. See related story here.
Stevens’ High School students will return to the former 4X4 block schedule from 2014 for school year 2016-17. The move comes after two offers from the Claremont School Board to the Sugar River Educational Association (SREA) to resolve the issues with the new schedule failed.
On Thursday, the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) issued a ruling ordering the Claremont School District to revert to the former Stevens High School 4X4 block schedule for the upcoming school year.
At this time, the School Board is considering an interlocutory appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
However, to ensure Stevens students are served regardless of any continued legal proceedings, the following changes are now being considered for 2016-2017:
• Students’ and teachers’ schedules.
• Discontinue advisory periods.
• Discontinue flex block
•Adjust the 2016-2017 Program of Study, student handbook, core academic course sequencing, curriculum documents, and programs in place for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Regional accrediting association visit for this October.
• Also the 8% additional SHS staff compensation planned for 2016-2017 will be eliminated.
Kaileigh Davis of Newbury was one of 18 New England high school seniors from to receive a $5,000 Hood® Milk Sportsmanship Scholarship. Davis received her scholarship at a ceremony held at the TD Garden in Boston on Monday. Three high school seniors from each six New England states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Students were honored for their integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the playing field. All the students will be included in the Sportsmanship Exhibit inside The Sports Museum at the TD Garden – one of the only sportsmanship exhibits in the country.
Davis will be attending The University of Rochester.
Newport’s Towle School will be closed. The building will no longer be the elementary school for fifth and sixth grades starting with the 2016-2017 school year. The Newport School Board voted unanimously to move fifth graders to Richards School and sixth graders to the Newport Middle High School. The vote came after a public comment session where only Kurt Menich expressed his desire to sell the building and use the proceeds for a gym at Newport Middle High.
Towle school gym is the only school that houses a regulation size gym. The gyms at Richards Elementary and the Middle High School are both 3/4 size and cannot accommodate basketball games.No plans for the building were discussed, but Finance Manager Terry Wiggins said shutting the building down will save money.
The Administration has until April 15 to notify all certified staff if their positions will be lost.
Croydon School District received a small victory on Wednesday regarding their policy on school choice. The NH House approved 208-143, HB 1637, which would allow Croydon and other districts without a school containing a grade for which a student is in, to attend non-religious private schools. The bill clarifies existing law. The bipartisan bill now goes to the senate for approval.
The district has been in a battle with the NH Department of Education over sending five students to the private Newport Montessori School.
The District won a temporary injunction in November when the NH Department of Education asked for the students to be removed from the private school immediately.
Croydon School District is waiting for a decision from Sullivan County’s Superior on whether they will be able to send their students to non-religious public schools next fall.
See related stories here
Erin McIntyre Attorney for the State and Virginia Barry BOE Commissioner listen to testimony
Croydon residents and school choice proponents filled Sullivan County Superior Court yesterday afternoon for NH Board of Education vs. Croydon School District. The State Board of Education was seeking a permanent injunction to stop Croydon School District from sending students to private schools.
The state argued that private schools may not be meeting adequacy requirements and that the law prevents using public funds for private schools.
Three parents who have or had students attending private schools testified saying they weren’t sure their students received an adequate education while attending Newport Schools since Newport were deemed a District in need of improvement for several years.
Croydon School District’s Attorney Sean List and Chuck Douglas argued that the law says “not limited to” when referring to public schools allows for students to be assigned to private schools.
Jim Peschke a member of the Croydon School Board and former Chair when Croydon started choice said he thought the hearing went well.
Attorney Sean List said he has how now idea which way Judge Brian Tucker is leaning.
Judge Brian Tucker will notify Croydon School District and the State Board of Education of his decision by mail.
Besides electing school board members Newport voters rejected most warrant articles on their School District Warrant. Newport voters chose former School Superintendent, Virginia Irwin for a 2-year school board term. Incumbent Linda Wadensten and newcomer Tim Renner for three-year school board seats. Article 3’s proposed operating budget of $17,592,889 was defeated. The district will fall back on its default budget of $17,274,889.
Article 4 for teacher’s raises was defeated as well as support staff raises in Article 5.
Although residents voted for Newport to withdraw from SAU 43 in Article 7 with a 3/5 vote, voters defeated Article 8 that would fund Superintendent and Business Services for $71,721 for the withdraw. This means the Newport School District will need to address the short fall that remains from the Croydon contribution within its operative budget, the default budget in warrant article 3.
This budget for 16-17 will include a 1.6 million dollar cut and will involve reduction in personnel and to the operating budget. It comes a year after the district made more than 1 million dollars in cuts, including a reduction of 19 staff positions.
Superintendent Gallagher said, “I refuse to see the vote as anything less than an illustration of just how unfair the school funding/property tax equation really is. The Newport voters were honest. They cannot afford the model that was proposed in the budget…that does not defeat education! However, it does require the community members and district staff to participate in a process in which proposals are made to the School Board on March 24. We need to look at the distribution of building resources and staff resources.”
Newport school district will host two community meetings facilitated by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Community Economic Development Specialists. These proposals should help prioritize education for academic year 16-17 and look forward to help the new board make important decisions.
Colby Sawyer College welcomed their President Elect on Tuesday. Susan D. Stuebner Ed.D will be the college’s ninth president. On a recommendation of a 12-member search committee, the College Board of Trustees unanimously approved Stuebner’s appointment. Stuebner has over two decades of experience in higher education and is currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Allegheny College in Meadville PA.
Stuebner replaces President Thomas Galligan Jr. who announced in September that he would not seek a third term after 10 years in office. Galligan accepted the position of dean of Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center where he starts on July 1. On July 1, Stuebner will assume her duties as the college’s president.