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A commission to study fiscal disparities among school districts

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HB 1534 is sponsored by legislators who support public education and have in the past also supported constitutional amendments that attempt to target adequacy aid to the communities that need it the most.  But, even leaving aside the extreme politics of the last legislature, it has been difficult to find language that accomplishes targets aid in a politically acceptable way but also protects the fundamental right of each New Hampshire child to an adequate education.

So amendments keep getting developed on the fly and defeated.

Prime sponsor Rep. Gary Richardson (D-Hopkinton) testified to the House Education Committee that a group of legislators, with the participation of the Governor’s office, had met over last summer to try to come up with language but could not, so are proposing this commission.

This issue is real and keeps coming back.  Maybe this commission could step back and look at the whole thing in a new way that would give their proposal credibility.


6 Comments

  1. Toni says:

    I thought this post was interesting and would love your opinion on something. I live in Newmarket and these issues are particularly relevant to us, given our current situation. Is it worth reaching out to the people sponsoring HB1534? Or anyone else?

    • Bill Duncan says:

      This group is really about the adequacy funds, not so much the building aid, assuming that’s the Newmarket issue you mean. There’s just not going to be a good way to push on building aid, unfortunately.

    • Bill Duncan says:

      This is what I’m talking about, Toni. You probably know about this
      NEWMARKET — State Rep. Michael Cahill, D-Newmarket, is working to ensure when building aid from the state becomes available towns like Newmarket, which may go forward with building a new school without it, may still be able to get help retroactively.

      Cahill has proposed an amendment to House Bill 1114, first put forth by state Rep. Rick Ladd, R-Haverhill, that would require the state Department of Education give consideration to provide aid for projects begun during the Legislature’s current moratorium on providing funding for new projects.

      “My amendment would allow communities like Newmarket that cannot wait for that future date when there may be adequate funding to be considered along with other projects using objective criteria rather than an arbitrary date,” Cahill said. “The DOE will not process our application at this time. Our students cannot wait, but our property taxpayers should not suffer due to this timing.”

      • Toni says:

        Yes, I’m aware of this and thanks for posting. Michael Cahill has been a strong advocate for education in Newmarket. Both he and Martha Fuller Clark will attend our next school board meeting to give an update on this effort.

        My hope is that the school will pass in March and that we will be able to secure *some* aid, even if it is years down the line. If it doesn’t pass, there are some in our community who would argue that the State is not meeting its obligation to our community–the building has not only outlived its usefulness but has become an obstacle to the education of children in Newmarket.

  2. Scott Marion says:

    Yes, nobody is really satisfied with the current cease fire between the courts and the legislature, except perhaps the “donor” towns. Is it too much to hope that this committee can look at this critical issue comprehensively? NH’s tax laws and policies really constrain possible solutions.

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