Friday, February 20, 2009

Thank you for getting us elected now here is a ton of money.

In 2008 all levels of government spent about 837.7 billion dollars on the education of our K-12 students in the U.S. We spent 108 billion dollars more on education than we did on defense (mind you we are fighting two war fronts).

The Democrats have decided to thank the teachers unions for getting them elected by adding 87 billion dollars for education to the stimulus package. What will happen down the line when the feds are not contributing this extra 87 billion dollars toward education? Will our local and state governments ask us to pick up this portion of the tab or will those who have been hired because of this stimulus money be let go when the money is longer available. I can here the cries now "It's for the kids! You must pay more taxes."

The following piece appeared on One News Dems thank teachers unions with 'stimulus' money. Click here to read the story.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Jim Peschke Only Candidate on Ballot For School Board

As reported in the Eagle Times Jim is the only candidate on the ballot for School Board. Jim is running for the three year position which is currently being held by Carol Marsh. Jim has attended numerous school board meetings over the past two years. Jim will strive for financial transparency of all Croydon taxpayer dollars spent on education. Jim is set to meet with the Croydon selectmen this Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Keep an eye out for more information about Jim's candidacy for school board member.


More recent posts can be found below this post.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Homeschoolers do save taxpayers billions so why the fuss?

With all that is happening with HB 367 and 368 I thought the following piece I found on the Heritage Foundations Blog was very timely.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Homeschoolers Save Taxpayers Billions Per Year
Posted February 19th, 2009 at 9.45am in Education.

State governments are facing fiscal emergencies with declining revenues and widening budget deficits. Now is a good time for policymakers to appreciate the growing homeschooling movement.

Across the country, 1.5 million children are currently being educated at home. Just how much would it cost taxpayers if these students enrolled in their “free” public school? We conservatively estimate the cost to be between $4 and $10 billion annually. These savings will mount as the number of families choosing to teach their children at home grows.

But instead of these families, policymakers in some states are instead trying to place new regulatory burdens on homeschooling parents. Brandon Dutcher of the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, a homeschooling father, writes An open letter to state Sen. Mary Easley reminding her why taxpayers should be thanking homeschoolers.

"I wanted to point out something that might be of interest to you as you grapple with the huge budget shortfall at the state capitol this year. I was doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation the other day and determined that my wife and I have saved our fellow taxpayers more than $200,000 (so far) by educating our own children at home rather than asking taxpayers to foot the bill."

As states struggle to navigate their budgetary challenges, guaranteeing that families have the freedom to homeschool will ensure taxpayers continue to benefit from these vital savings.

The Heritage Foundation is a great site for research, you may want to bookmark the site for future reference. Cathy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

School Choice Article in the Valley News

The Valley News had a great article yesterday about school choice. Readers of the Blog should pick up a copy of the Valley News if still available, contact Valley News to purchase a copy or go to your local library to see the map in the article.

It appears that 10 public schools are vying for students in the real world prices go down not up when you don't have enough customers. It would seem that these schools should try to control costs to get their neighboring district's students into their buildings.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Making Their Pitch
Valley's High Schools Court Tuition Students

By Kristen Fountain
Valley News Staff Writer
The eighth-grade students trooping through the hallways at Windsor High School one morning last week were quiet, very quiet, as they peered over the metal railing at a gym class under way and listened to the school's technology coordinator describe how different classes use the computer labs.

“I hope you brought plenty of questions,” Windsor Principal Hank Ruppertsberger said to the group from Weathersfield Elementary School at the beginning of the tour. “It's your chance to get out in the building and see how our teachers are teaching and our students are learning.”

Ruppertsberger and other high school principals are making their best sales pitch to eighth-graders and their parents from the 10 Upper Valley “choice” towns. As the number of high school students declines, competition for tuition students is heating up.

Corinth, Hartland, Sharon, Tunbridge, Weathersfield and West Windsor in Vermont and Cornish, Lyme, Piermont and Unity in New Hampshire do not have a high school in their school district, do not belong to a regional or union high school district and have not contracted solely with a particular high school in another district to educate their students. (See map.)

The law in both states allows parents in these towns to choose the high school, and in some cases the middle school, they want their children to attend for high school. Their school districts pay the tuition to the districts students choose to attend. This arrangement is special to Northern New England.

“It's kind of historic Vermont,” said Bill Talbott, chief financial officer at the Vermont Department of Education and a former state legislator. “It evolved as the academies went away and the union schools emerged.”

It is popular among parents and often cited as a selling point in area real estate ads. And for decades, school choice advocates have pointed to the practice as an example of a competitive voucher system in action.

The choice is especially wide in Vermont, where the law allows parents to apply public funds toward tuition at private schools as well, as long as the schools have been approved by the Department of Education and do not actively teach from a religious perspective. As a result, students from Tunbridge, for example, frequently attend The Sharon Academy, a private school.

In the case of private or independent schools, a student's home district in Vermont is required to pay only up to the average tuition of union high schools across the state, which is $10,921 annually for the 2008-2009 school year. Parents make up the difference. However, the law states the district must pay the full tuition at any public school that a resident chooses.

In New Hampshire, public funds cannot be paid to independent or private schools, except for a group of old private academies that include Thetford Academy and St. Johnsbury Academy. Both are considered public schools by the state a Vermont, another quirk of history.

The cost of public school tuition can vary widely from $10,300 this year at Hartford High School and $12,500 for Windsor to $14,877 at Thetford Academy and $17,200 at Hanover High School.

Various “choice” towns have tried different policies to manage the wide disparity in cost. In Piermont, for example, the school district limits the choice to high schools with which the district contracts. A vote at Town Meeting several years ago determined that the district will only contract with schools that have tuition within given range, one that now excludes both Thetford Academy and Hanover, said Piermont Elementary School Principal Joann Torsey.

Concern about tuition costs was one reason that the nearby town of Warren, N.H., recently decided to affiliate with Woodsville High School in Haverhill, said Torsey. But for her community, the limited choice was preferable to no choice. “Piermont definitely embraces the school choice philosophy and loves it,” Torsey said.

For the high schools, as demographic changes in the Twin States have caused enrollments to dwindle, drawing in additional students from “choice” towns has become more and more important to maintaining the size of the student body and keeping costs down.

Almost half of the students at Windsor High School are from the surrounding tuition towns, said Ruppertsberger. “You can bet those dollars are important to offset costs in our budget,” he said.

Dresden School District Superintendent Wayne Gerson calls the tuition students at Hanover High School “vital,” both to the diversity of perspectives in the school and to the district's bottom line.

The competition for students among high schools is another advantage to being a “choice” town, said Cornish Elementary School principal Mary Bronga. “Enrollment is down all over so it is a buyer's market.”

For the students and their parents, a variety of considerations come into play when they are making their choices, some practical, some sentimental and some academic.

Because few high schools offer bus transportation to these tuition students, many end up attending schools close to their homes or in the community in which their parents work. For example, Corinth students in the main attend Oxbow Union High School in Bradford. And Unity students generally go either to Stevens High School in Claremont or Newport High School.

The decision is often based on where students' parents went or their siblings go or where most of their friends are going, said principals and guidance counselors. It can also be the result of connections made to teachers and coaches through sports teams and other extracurricular activities. But school administrators also try to push their students to consider a school's academic offerings and its culture when thinking about what would be a good fit for them.

“Our kids take that decision very, very seriously, which is good to see,” said Jeff Valence, principal at Lyme Elementary School. “Siblings do have an influence and some are influenced by friends, but quite a number of students are making a decision purely on how they see the school.”

In their pitch last week, Windsor's administrators and staff stressed the school's active drama program and the no-cut policy for its sports teams, but also said that the school, with roughly 300 students, is a nice size. It is big enough to offer a diversity of courses and activities, but small enough that students can develop close relationships with their teachers, said Ruppertsberger. “It's neither too big or too little; it’s just right.”

On the tour last week, it became clear that among this group of 19 Weathersfield students, most seem to be headed for Springfield High School.

“We're glad that you guys locked into Springfield are at least giving us a chance,” said Windsor Athletic Director Bob Hingston.

It might have been because their minds were already made up. Or perhaps they were silenced by uncertainty. But the Weathersfield eighth-graders didn't have any questions, even after an informational video in the auditorium and visits to a math and a civics class. But they did pay close attention all morning and their wide eyes took in everything.

Emma Rous Outrageously Biased at HB 367 and 368 Hearings.

Jim sent the following to the Union Leader as a result of Emma Rous's behavior during the HB 367 and 368 hearings. Below Jim's letter is a letter from a different homeschooler that appears in the Concord Monitor mentioning the same behavior on the part of Emma Rous.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Approximately 1,000 homeschoolers attended hearings on HB367 and HB368 for an opportunity to voice concerns over these poorly designed bills. Emma Rous chaired the hearings in ways antithetical to representative democracy.

Representative Rous' bias and disdain towards the position of homeschoolers was obvious and unnecessary. She repeatedly admonished speakers whose only missteps consisted of well thought out, articulate presentations in opposition to these bills. This contrasted sharply to her pampered treatment of the bills' supporters, providing them ample time and tremendous latitude during their speeches.

Public hearings work best when the chairperson provides equitable access from all sides of an issue. Emma Rous' stewardship of these hearings fell woefully short of this standard.

Jim Peschke

The following LTE appeared in the Concord Monitor.

Poor treatment at State House hearing
Dawn Lincoln, Westmoreland
For the Monitor
February 18, 2009 - 12:00 am

I was one of the 1,000 home-schoolers who spent many, many hours in Concord on Feb. 11 to attempt to testify on two anti-home-school bills, House Bills 367 and 368. I traveled 1½ hours to the State House, paid for parking and had to arrange a ride for my daughters to get to ballet class. I'm sure my sacrifice pales in comparison to many.

Imagine my disappointment at being told by House Education Committee Chairwoman Emma Rous that I (and countless others) would not be allowed to testify on HB 368, even after the hearing started 20 minutes late.

I was appalled at her discourteous treatment of the people who came to testify against these important bills. She interrupted several of her fellow representatives to complain about their testimony. People testifying in favor of the bill were not given this same treatment.

She scolded the overflowing crowd and threatened that she would shut the hearing down without giving everyone who wished to testify an opportunity to do so.

Behavior such as this is not befitting an elected official in a leadership position. It was an embarrassment to our citizen legislature.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Words of wisdom from yet another homeschooler.

The following LTE about HB 367 and 368 appeared in the Concord Monitor.

The great picture above was found on DangItBill.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Unnecessary bill

Passion and purpose: Both are important when trying to convince people to take action. That is what was desperately missing in Rep. Judith Day's presentation to the House Education Committee and then 1,000-plus home-schoolers whom she incited to gather last Wednesday.

Where was her passion for all those kids falling through the cracks? Where were her facts to back up her argument that the extreme overhaul of a 20-year law was necessary - especially when a committee declared this law sufficient last year? There were none.

The question is why she would go before the Education Committee and submit herself to this inquisition without any real purpose or facts, or without having done her homework? I ask the public school teachers, principals, superintendents and parents of public school children who are falling through the cracks why she is not crusading for your obvious needs.

Let's call Rep. Day and ask her to drop this unnecessary legislation and propose solutions where problems truly exist.



New Link - Parental

We have added a new link...the link is Parental The site listing came about as a result of a discussion on a homeschool list. Someone listed a link to the UN rights of the Child and responded they did not see anything wrong with the list. Both my husband and I thought he was joking, actually we still do not know if he was joking or serious.

There are great problems with the UN rights list first and foremost the government will override your parental rights. If your child does not like the fact that you grounded him or asked him to study before play he could sue and say his rights have been violated. Read more about it here, here and here.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Send Your Special Ed Bills to the Feds

This situation illustrates the yawning chasm between what is truly needed for "special education" and what school districts would like to spend. So your student is bored in school? Label him "special ed", ruin his educational life, and collect huge money from gullible taxpayers.

Worst of all, under the "privacy" rules, "special ed" money does not endure the level of scrutiny afforded other funding structures in public ed. Sounds like a great way to launder public funds without the threat of oversight.

This should also serve as a warning about the perils of channeling money through the federal government. As usual, if they want to impose a rule they cannot do by force, they will threaten to withhold federal money until states comply. Remember the 55mph speed limit federal funding fiasco?
- Jim Peschke, Croydon, NH

The following piece appeared in the Union Leader. Cathy

SAU 53 schools plan to bill Uncle Sam for special ed costs
Special to the Union Leader
Monday, Feb. 16, 2009

Citing an unfair burden on local property taxpayers, the five school districts in SAU 53 will be billing the United States government for special education balances left over after federal aid has been applied.

Superintendent Peter Warburton said school boards in all his districts, encompassing Allenstown, Chichester, Deerfield, Epsom and Pembroke, have voted in support of an initiative by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

According to a letter from Mary Kusler, a representative of the AASA, the project is a revival of one in Barrington several years ago. The AASA sent letters to all its members across the country, including a template for the bill, to the federal government.

The letter said that when Congress passed the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) in 1975, it promised to pay 40 percent of the average expenditure for every pupil in special education. The letter went on to say that Congress is currently at 17 percent, instead of the 40 percent originally promised.

"The project is intended to bring increased attention to the federal shortfall for funding special education," Warburton said.

The demands on educating this segment of students are increasing, Warburton said. While No Child Left Behind has had an influence, the real bite comes with unanticipated special education costs, he said. For example, he said, a special education student moving to town in the middle of the year could cost a district $100,000 or more in services, money that is not always budgeted.

The gesture is both symbolic and one that may have results, Warburton said. The current economic stimulus bill has money set aside for special education, and if the government increased its share of the funding even to 25 percent, "That would be very nice," he said.

But they also hope to send a message to Congress with the invoices. "If enough districts respond nationally, we will have a voice," Warburton said.

Barbara Noonan, chairman of the Epsom School Board, said, "I hope they take it seriously. We've just started talking about the unfunded federal and state mandates, and asked the SAU to list the cost for the past three or four years." She said business administrator Peter Aubrey was compiling a list of the mandates and what they cost the towns.

Noonan credited Epsom principal Patrick Connors for making it work. "We're fortunate to have the principal we do," she said. Because of his budgeting skills, the proposed increase this year is 0.83 percent, she said.

"Every time we turn around there's another mandate," Noonan added, and the burden is "on the backs of the taxpayers."

While so-called "catastrophic aid" is helpful, it comes a year after the special ed expenses have already been incurred, she said. "And you have to have spent in excess of a certain amount of money. But it's the nickels and dimes' that are breaking us," she said.

The Deerfield School Board voted unanimously in its last meeting to endorse the move and bill the feds. While board member Don Gorman wasn't present for the vote, he said he's been angry for years about unfunded federal mandates. "I think it's a great idea," Gorman said. "I've been yelling about it for years." Gorman called the current funding system a "shell game. The feds tell the states, if you want our money, you'll play the game." If the states don't play by the federal rules, they'll lose what aid they do get, Gorman said.

There are other unfunded mandates, but special education is one of the most costly, according to Gorman. IDEA mandates that the district educate the child and provide services, but "a kid could come into the district tomorrow and cost us $100,000," he said.

Gorman compared the billing of the government to a straightforward business transaction. "If I were making airplanes, I'd send them a bill," he said. "Will they take it seriously? Who knows what they'll do?"

For Noonan, it all depends on how many districts bill the feds. "If a volume of districts is doing this, they'll have to take us seriously," she said.

Two More Reasons Not to Have an Income Tax in New Hampshire

School, local, state and federal Governments have a spending problem and not a funding problem. Today's economic woes are due in part to bad legislation and pandering to the unions within all levels of these said governments. Below are two articles that point out why New Hampshire should not get an income tax. No matter how much money said governments have they always either want more tax dollars, carry a deficit and/or carry a debt. If all these governments had lived within their means and not signed Ponzi Schemed labor contracts our governments would not be in the state that they are today. Governments exist to serve the people unfortunately many government employees believe people exist to serve the government.

Now is the time for all levels of governments to cut spending or go bankrupt. Taxpayers should not have to bail out irresponsible government leaders. It is time for taxpayers to take back their government that has been hijacked by government employees, unions and leaders.

The following pieces appear at The Witch Eagle on and The Sacramento Bee.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Kan. suspends income tax refunds, may miss payroll
Associated Press Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas has suspended income tax refunds and may not be able to pay employees on time, the state's budget director said Monday.

The state doesn't have enough money in its main bank account to pay its bills, prompting Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to suggest transferring $225 million from other accounts throughout state government. But the move required approval from legislative leaders, and the GOP refused Monday.

Budget Director Duane Goossen said that without the money, he's not sure the state can meet its payroll. State employees are due to be paid again Friday.

Goossen said the state stopped processing income tax refunds last week.

GOP leaders are hoping to pressure Sebelius into signing a bill making $326 million in adjustments to the budget for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Legislators approved that bill last week, but it has not reached her desk.

Goossen said the state might also have to delay payments to public schools and to doctors who provide care to needy Kansans under the Medicaid program.

The state has transferred funds before when it has been short of cash in its main bank account. Most recently, the state issued the special certificates required in July and December for transfers totaling $550 million.

Each certificate requires the approval of the State Finance Council, which consists of the governor and eight top legislative leaders.

The council was scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. Monday, but Goossen said Sebelius canceled the meeting because Republican leaders told her that they would not authorize the internal borrowing.

Some Republicans question whether that borrowing would be legal. When the state issues a certificate, it must promise that the money can be paid back by the end of the fiscal year. But the state already is projected to have a deficit in the current budget.

The legislation approved last week is designed to fix that.

Goossen said Republicans told Sebelius they want her to sign that bill first. Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, called the tactic "blackmail."

Republican leaders planned a news conference to discuss what happened.

The following story appears in The Sacramento Bee.
California lawmakers fail to pass budget deal
By Steve Wiegand and Dan Smith
Published: Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 | Page 1A
California legislators tried and failed for a second day Sunday to close a $40 billion hole in the state's budget, still one Republican vote short of approving a package that contains $14.3 billion in tax increases.

State Sen. Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican from Santa Maria, indicated in an interview with The Bee that he was willing to consider casting the decisive vote if he was satisfied with the final version of the tax proposal.

"I'm very concerned with the tax package," said Maldonado, who early Sunday had been quoted as saying he was adamantly opposed to the tax hikes. "We're still working on that. Everything's fluid. I don't like tax increases. … let me just work on the tax issue. I'm working on that. I don't want my state to go off the cliff, OK? I don't want that."

To view the rest of the story go to the Sacramento Bee.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Yahoo for Jennie Steinhauser

When I read Jennie's letter I thought I was reading my husband words. The language was a bit harsh compared to most homeschoolers but I loved it. Superfluous and albatross say it isn't so, you go woman. The following LTE appeared in the Concord Monitor. Thank you once again Concord Monitor for your fair coverage of this legislation.

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for our readers.

Unneeded legislation
Jennie Steinhauser, Concord

I am a certified teacher in New Hampshire and in my seventh year of home-schooling. This letter addresses House Bill 367, an act relative to procedures for evaluation of home-schooled students, sponsored by Rep. Judith Day.

Changing the evaluation requirements, as suggested by Day, would not enhance home education in New Hampshire. There has never been any evidence that the current method of evaluation is inadequate. To require both standardized tests administered by a certified teacher and academic portfolios reviewed by a certified teacher, as proposed, is superfluous and would be an albatross on the already over-burdened school districts that would be required to test and maintain the records. Generating resources to finance this unnecessary legislation would be an unwarranted tax burden, as there is no demonstrated need for this additional bureaucracy.

I ask the representatives on the House Education Committee to vote "NO" to HB 367.