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School funding emerges as a central issue in the Upper Valley senate race

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The Valley News story on the state senate race between incumbent Bob Giuda (R- Warren) and Democratic challenger Bill Bolton, from Plymouth, is particularly interesting to supporters of public education.  You know that school funding has become a central concern in New Hampshire when both candidates in key races have fully formulated positions on the issue:

….Giuda, a retired airline and Marine fighter pilot, said he’s running for a second term to continue advocating for legislative efforts that aim to help Granite Staters, such as those seeking to alleviate the opioid epidemic, increase mental health programs and better fund public schools.

Giuda, 66, said he’s in favor of amending the state’s school funding formula to better serve property-poor communities that are often hardest hit by increasing education costs. He also hopes to support legislation that would prevent further decreases to state stabilization grants, which were designed to shield those towns by demographic changes and have decreased annually by 4 percent…..


….Like his opponent, Bolton’s platform includes protecting public schools from declining state aid…..

Nonetheless, the two parted ways on vouchers, private school funding bill proposed in the last Legislature that would have reduced state funding for public education by $100 million over just the first 11 years:

The two candidates took opposing stances on school choice, and an unsuccessful bill that this year sought to create a voucher program.

The legislation would have allowed low-income parents to withdraw their child from a public school and use state adequacy money to fund a private or parochial education. It was ultimately killed in the House.

Bolton, whose four children went to public school in New Hampshire, said he would oppose such a measure, adding that public money shouldn’t be used to find private schools.

“I don’t think that we need to create a voucher program and also take money away from our public school system, which is now hurting anyway,” he said.

Giuda countered that private schools, in some cases, offer students an education that public ones do not.

“The traditional school model does not work for an increasing number of our kids,” he said. “If that model doesn’t work what do you do? You look to other models that do.”

The stakes for public education are high in this election.  School funding has emerged as a key issue in many campaigns from governor on down.

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