A charter schools advocacy organization in New Hampshire has captured video showing Democrat Mary Stuart Gile, who chairs the education committee in the state’s House of Representatives, apparently changing her position on charter schools in a four-minute flash.
At issue was a short, Republican-sponsored appropriations bill that provides a mechanism for the funding of public charter schools.
“The amount necessary to fund chartered public school tuition payments…is hereby appropriated to the department from the education trust fund,” House Bill 299 reads.
Supporters of the charter school legislation want the state board of education to authorize and fund new charter schools. Previously, in 2012, the board had enacted a moratorium on new charter schools.
Opponents of the bill want to see the bill fail because they don’t want new charter schools to open.
In the YouTube video, Chairman Gile opens the hearing by requesting that committee members vote to retain HB 299 — which basically means to shelve it for a long time.
Gile paints herself as an enthusiastic advocate for school choice. She predicts that the House leadership has indicated that any charter school-related bill that makes it out of the Education committee will surely die at its next stop, the Finance committee.
Gile mentions another, related bill and urges the committee to give ample time to unknown entities “to study the charter school situation in New Hampshire.”
“Rather than see these two bills — especially the two relative to funding — go forward and possibly be killed in Finance,” argues Gile, “it would be better to keep them in committee, do a really comprehensive study, and send the bills forward” at a later, unintelligible date.
The vote to retain — read: shelve — the bill then failed.
Just a few minutes after pushing to retain the bill so that it could be saved, Gile voted against the actual bill to fund charter schools.
HB 299 passed in the House Education Committee by a vote of 11-8 (though someone in the YouTube video clearly says 10-9).
Don’t miss the last part of the video if you like to watch opponents of school choice endure the agony of defeat.