Sununu slams Dems on rejecting $46M for fed funding for public charter schools

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Gov. Chris Sununu ... says Democrats serving the special interests rather than students (Courtesy photo)

CONCORD - Gov. Chris Sununu slammed Democrats today after a Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee voted to reject $46 million in federal funds to benefit New Hampshire schools, including $10 million over this biennium alone.

"I am sickened by today's vote, and the Democrats must explain to every single student why they rejected an unprecedented $46M grant for public schools," he said. "For a party that claims to care about public education, their actions today make clear that they will always stand with special interests over the wellbeing of our students."

Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, D-Concord, said at a time when traditional public schools are struggling to fund programs it seemed inappropriate to go spending more money on public charter schools.

"New Hampshire charter schools are still working to recruit students and build their financial stability and our state as a whole is struggling to adequately fund public education; this is not the time to divert funds from those existing educational facilities," Wallner said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the funds voted down would have found their way to traditional public school coffers.

New Hampshire had been awarded the largest grant in the country, with Alabama receiving the next largest amount at $25 million. Sununu pointed to a Union Leader report that noted the $46 million grant would focus on "at risk students and help extend the best practices that exist in high quality charter schools to all 28 [public charter schools] in the state."

Hundreds of young people seeking charter school admission and sustainability made the trek to Concord to advocate for the funds, something Sununu said he was very proud of despite the outcome.

"The right thing to do is always worth fighting for," he said.

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