Last week, House Republican’s took direct aim at the wallets and pocketbooks of every educator in the state and removed hundreds of dollars from them all.
Desperate for the support of Bill O’Brien and his acolytes, they passed a last-second amendment transferring $2.5 million from the education credentialing fund to local municipalities. This amendment was offered on the House floor, with no advance notice and no chance for the public to weigh in at an open hearing.
House budget writers made this transfer despite explicit language stating:
Fees to be paid to the commissioner of education for the administration of proficiency exams and other competence evaluations and other related fees including, but not limited to, fees for late filing and duplicate credentials, and for the issuance of educational credentials. These fees must bear a reasonable relationship to the actual costs related to such activities. Funds collected from these fees shall be expended only for purposes of fulfilling the requirements of this paragraph. No portion of the funds collected from these fees shall lapse, nor be used for any other purpose than fulfilling the requirements of this paragraph, nor be transferred to any other appropriation.
This transfer also violates the promise made by the Legislature years ago when the fee for credentialing was raised from $70 to $135.
What effect will this have on you? In order for the Department to replenish the $2.5 million, credentialing fees would have to more than double for each and every teacher in the state over the next three years.
“This is a targeted tax and fee increase aimed directly at the tens of thousands of hard working licensed and credentialed educators across the state. NEA-New Hampshire will not let its members foot the bill for the budget writers’ handout to the radical Tea Party wing of the Republican Party,” said Scott McGilvrey, NEA New Hampshire President. “Educators deserve better than to be a pawn in an internal power struggle between the Speakers office and Bill O’Brien.”
The budget now heads to the Senate where we hope to have the funds replaced. We will keep you updated on our progress and on what you can do to help.