The Cheshire County Superior Court has denied the request for a preliminary injunction in the legal case filed by ConVal School District and joined by several other school districts. We agree with the goal of the ConVal lawsuit: requiring the state to comply with its constitutional responsibility to provide students across NH with an opportunity for an adequate education supported by taxes that are reasonable and proportional. And we share their frustration about the State’s failure to live up to this duty over the past two decades.
For nearly one year we have been working in good faith with large groups of legislators, school districts, and community leaders from across the state to produce a legislative approach during the current legislative session that will immediately address the worst inequities in the current system, and in the long term result in fair and full funding of our public schools. There are multiple bills in both House and Senate which would begin to achieve these goals.
Like ConVal, we also want to see the State make an honest calculation of what is the true cost of an adequate education. We support legislation to create an independent Commission to do just that.
It is up to the Legislature and the Governor to act responsibly and expeditiously to address school funding during this legislative session. If they do not do so, many school districts, property taxpayers, and parents may turn to the courts to try to bring the State into compliance with its constitutional obligations.
For further information, please contact:
John Tobin at 603-568-0735 or email@example.com, or
Doug Hall at 603-229-2598 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ANHPE readers are well familiar with the School Funding 101 forums being held to rave reviews throughout the State. Requests continue to flow in from school districts and communities but also Rotary clubs and many other civic groups. The NH School Funding Fairness Project will continue to hold forums and advocate for equity. If your group would like to hold a forum, click here.
Here are the next scheduled forums:
Plymouth: May 1 at 6:00 p.m. in room 220, Hyde Hall, Plymouth State University
Wolfeboro: May 8 at 7:00 p.m at Wolfeboro Town Hall, 84 South Main Street, Wolfeboro
North Conway: May 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Kennett High School, Loynd Auditorium, 409 Eagle’s Way, North Conway
NH School Funding Fairness Project – Newsletter 21, 5/19/19
The Senate Finance Committee’s public deliberations on the budget will begin this week. All of the budget work sessions listed below will be held in the State House, Room 103. Public input is not taken at these sessions, but feel free to sit in and listen.
- Monday 5/20 9:30-11:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m.
- Tuesday 5/21 3:00 p.m.
- Friday 5/24 9:30 a.m.
In addition, on Tuesday, May 21, at 1:00 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on a new revenue proposal (offered as amendment 2019-2031s), that would impose payroll deductions on wages in excess of the Social Security tax cap, with revenues to be dedicated primarily for education purposes. (more…)
NH School Funding Fairness Project, Newsletter 20
First, some inspiration!
People showed up in force to testify at the three Senate Finance Committee budget hearings this past week, and many were there to talk about education. Students, administrators, teachers, mayors, school board members and taxpayers made the case, over and over, for why we need to overhaul the way we fund our schools. (more…)
Seventy-four people testified at this afternoon’s Senate Finance Committee’s budget hearing. Fourteen of these speakers were there to ask senators to keep the school funding provisions in the House budget bills, at the levels provided there. The hearing will reconvene this evening at 6:00.
Compelling testimony on school funding was heard from: (more…)
Budget Hearings Coming Right Up
As we reported last week, the NH Senate Finance Committee will hold public hearings this week about the House budget bills. One additional hearing has been added. The hearings are:
1) Tuesday afternoon, May 7, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Representatives’ Hall, second floor of the New Hampshire State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord, NH,
2) Tuesday evening, May 7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Representatives’ Hall, second floor of the New Hampshire State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord, NH, and
3) Wednesday evening, May 8, at 7:00 p.m. at Manchester City Hall, Aldermanic Chambers (3rd floor), 1 City Hall Plaza, Manchester, NH (more…)
From the School Funding Fairness Project Newsletter, 4/28/19:
The NH Senate Finance Committee has scheduled two hearings on the budget bills recently passed by the House (HBs 1 and 2). These bills contain, among other things, the education funding measures that were developed through the thoughtful, bipartisan efforts of the House Education Committee and that we’ve been supporting during this legislative session. The measures include: restoring stabilization grants to 2016 levels, adding significant targeted aid for struggling districts, and creating an independent, funded commission to develop a sustainable and constitutional longterm school funding plan.
Now it’s time to convince the Senate to support these education funding provisions. The work begins in the Senate Finance Committee, which has scheduled two public hearings on the budget bills: (more…)
Portsmouth Herald: “We do have an education funding problem, which is a drag on our economy, particularly in rural areas, and it’s getting worse.”
The Herald weighed in editorially on the school funding issue after an editorial board visit by Executive Councilor and lead Claremont case attorney Andy Volinsky:
The fight over education funding in New Hampshire has, at least for now, moved from courts of law to the court of public opinion.
The lead lawyers in the landmark 1997 Claremont II education funding lawsuit, which affirmed New Hampshire’s constitutional duty to provide every K-12 student an “adequate” public education, acknowledge that despite favorable rulings from the state Supreme Court, disparities in educational opportunities have not gotten better over the past 20 years. In fact, they have gotten worse.
The NHPR series “Adequate: How A State Decides The Value of Public Education” has provided important insights into education funding in New Hampshire and the impact inadequate state support for its schools has had on our communities. The series will culminate next Tuesday with a forum to be held at NHPR headquarters in Concord. Here are the details. You can register here to attend the forum live in NHPR’s Studio D.
Laura Knoy is host a great panel:
- John J. Freeman—Superintendent of Schools, Pittsfield School District
- Our own John Tobin —One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the landmark Claremont education case against the state, and a leader in the current NH School Funding Fairness Project
- Rick Ladd—Republican state representative from Haverhill; former chair of the Education Committee, N.H. House of Representatives
- Jessica Huizenga—Superintendent of Schools, Milford School District
Don’t miss it!
Timberlane Regional School District residents and two state senators turned out at the Performing Arts Center on Monday night to learn how the state’s school funding mechanism is affecting communities.
The presentation was led by attorney John Tobin, who was part of the landmark Claremont education funding case before the state Supreme Court in the 1990s. He said the current funding system is hurting students, taxpayers, and home and business owners.
NH School Funding Fairness Project newsletter, 4/21/19:
There are no public hearings this week related to the school funding issue, but there’s plenty of work to do. The focus of our efforts now shifts to the Senate, which will consider education funding issues in the context of the budget passed by the House last week. (more…)
First the good news: On Thursday, the House approved HBs 1 and 2, as amended and proposed by the House Finance Committee (the House budget bills.) These bills incorporate the contents of the three funding bills we’ve been following: HBs 177, 709, and 551. If passed by the Senate and approved by the Governor, they’d restore stabilization grants to 2016 levels for FY 2020, add significant fiscal capacity disparity aid and additional free and reduced lunch aid beginning in FY 2021, and establish a funded, independent commission to develop a new school funding formula. Overall, $164 million in increased aid would go to local school districts around the State, paid for by a capital gains tax.
Now the bad news: Though the House budget bills passed, not a single Republican voted for them. Moreover, two last-minute amendments to HB2, offered by Rep. Rick Ladd, signaled a dramatic loss of Republican support for funding measures which many Republicans had voted for just weeks ago. (more…)