Reaching Higher NH testified to the House Finance Division II subcommittee about inequities in the impact on the 30 or so “SWEPT only” towns in the State. The point it made, summarized in an article posted today was that:
The House Finance Division II Subcommittee released an amendment to SB 193, the statewide voucher bill, on Tuesday that removes the $1,500 adjustment grant for wealthier communities….
Due to the way that New Hampshire funds its public schools, that meant that wealthier communities could financially benefit from a loss of students. In New Hampshire, the state gives districts about $3,600 in state funding for each student, which is collected locally by towns through property taxes (referred to as the Statewide Education Property Tax, or “SWEPT”). But if towns collect more than they need, they keep the funds and do not give the remainder back to the state.
For example, in Moultonborough for FY 2019, the state calculated the required amount of state aid for education as roughly $2,100,000. For the same fiscal year, Moultonborough will raise ~$6,400,000 through SWEPT*, an “excess” of close to $4,400,000.
Yet, under the previous amendment, they would still be awarded the $1,500 adjustment grant…..
Tuesday’s amendment changes the adjustment grants so that towns cannot receive the additional $1,500 in funding if they collect excess SWEPT money. However, there are still large inequities in funding between communities. For most communities in NH, vouchers will be paid for out of existing state aid; however, for around 36 communities with the highest property values, the state will pay for vouchers with new state funds. This will increase the total amount of state aid flowing to a select number of towns.
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