New Hampshire
New Hampshire

September 5, 2007

House Bill 669: Kindergarten Financial Aid

Representatives Chris Christensen (R), Peter L. Batula (R), Roger G. Wells (R + D), Peyton B. Hinkle (R), and Larry A. Emerton (R), and Senator Robert J. Letourneau (R)

House Bill 669 authorizes a grant to school districts for $1,200 per child that is enrolled in a public kindergarten program. Among other things, the bill also charges the department of education with collecting data on the number of kindergarten-aged children in each district.

1/31/2007(House) Introduced and referred to Education Committee
2/13/2007(House) Public Hearing, Legislative Office Building, Room 207, 11 a.m.
2/22/2007(House) Executive Session, Legislative Office Building, Room 207, 9 a.m.
2/22/2007(House) Majority Committee Report: Ought to pass with amendment for March 6 (Vote: 11-3)
2/22/2007(House) Minority Committee Report: Inexpedient to legislate
2/22/2007(House) Proposed majority amendment No. 0383H
3/6/2007(House) Amendment Adopted, Voice Vote
3/6/2007(House) Ought to Pass with Amendment, Motion Adopted Voice Vote
3/6/2007(House) Referred to Finance
3/14/2007(House) Division II Work Session: 3:04 p.m., Legislative Office Building 210-211
3/19/2007(House) Division II Work Session: 9:36 a.m., Legislative Office Building 210-211
3/22/2007(House) Executive Session: 9:47 a.m., Legislative Office Building 210-211
3/26/2007(House) Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for April 11th (Vote 24-1, Consent Calendar)
4/11/2007(House) Inexpedient to Legislate; Motion Adopted Voice Vote

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose. This bill, if passed, may provide the groundwork for passage of mandatory kindergarten legislation, which would, in effect, lower the compulsory age of attendance. It would also create an incentive for school districts to conduct intrusive census activities to determine the number of eligible kindergarten-age children in a district for funding purposes. Proponents of the bill believe that this program benefits children by providing them with the option of beginning their education earlier than the compulsory attendance law requires.

However, studies show that these types of programs are more costly and less beneficial than the bill’s supporters would have you believe. There are several reasons to oppose lowering the compulsory attendance age, including:

1) The possibility of burnout and poor scholastic performance later in life due to a child beginning his or her formal education too early (something many education experts verify);

2) Subjection of homeschoolers to the reporting requirements of New Hampshire’s home education statute for more years (you do not need to share this reason with your legislators);

3) Erosion of parental authority—parents are in the best position to determine when their child’s formal education should begin;

4) Inevitable tax increases to pay for more classroom space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to attend public schools. When California increased the age of compulsory attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems—all at the expense of the taxpayer; and

5) Unwanted governmental intrusion—By tying funding to the number of eligible kindergarten-age students in a district, the law would encourage school districts to conduct aggressive and intrusive census activities to maximize their funding potential.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

 Other Resources

March-12-2007—New Hampshire—Calls Needed to Oppose Kindergarten Aid Bill

Bill Text