To The Daily Sun,
The Commissioner of Education is responsible for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of services to all public schools in New Hampshire. Gov. Sununu has nominated former state representative Frank Edelblut to be our next Education Commissioner.
In my opinion, Mr. Edelblut does not have the qualifications or experience to fill this critical position. Furthermore, he is a school choice supporter who sponsored legislation to allow towns with no public school to use taxpayer funds to send students to a public or private school of their choice.
As commissioner of Education, he would be the leader of all New Hampshire school superintendents, even though his education degrees include an undergraduate degree in business administration and a Master's degree in theology. He may be well qualified to be a business CEO, but his degrees do not qualify him to be a certified teacher in the state of New Hampshire, let alone be a certified administrator.
Mr. Edelblut's advocacy for the use of taxpayer dollars to send students to private schools is most disconcerting. Parents certainly have the right to send their children to private schools, but the funneling of public school tax dollars to private schools would be disastrous for public schools. Such a system would further segregate our schools on the basis of social economic status. This is already the case today.
N.H. Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney's district includes the K-12 school districts in Claremont, Conway, Governor Wentworth, Inter-Lakes, Laconia, and Newfound. It also includes elementary schools in Bartlett, Hill, Madison, and Tamworth. I make note of these school districts because in 2015-16 each one of them had a higher percent of students who were eligible for Free/Reduced Lunch (F/RL) than the statewide average of 28.6 percent, and each had a higher cost per pupil (CPP) than either the statewide average of $15,034 for elementary schools or $14,902 for K-12 school districts.
For example, 54.4 percent of the students in the Laconia City School District were eligible for F/RL (25.8 percent more than the statewide average) and the CPP in Laconia was $16,137 — or $1,103 more than the statewide average. At the high ends, 60 percent of the students in Tamworth were eligible for F/RL and the CPP for Bartlett and Tamworth both exceed $20,000.
All of the school districts above have a higher percentage of students who are eligible for F/RL and a higher CPP than school districts statewide. These districts would all be very negatively impacted by the funneling of taxpayer dollars from their budgets to the budgets of private schools. The New Hampshire Commissioner of Education is responsible all public schools in New Hampshire. He or she is not responsible for private schools in New Hampshire.
Former Superintendent of Schools