Last Thursday (sorry for the delay; grandkids took over), the education committee held its public hearing on HB 177, the Rep. Rick Ladd (R, Haverhill, former committee chair) proposal to stop process of reducing the stabilization fund so critical to property poor communities by 4% per year until it is gone. (Garry Reyno puts the stabilization fund in context here and Reaching Higher NH provides great detail here.)
The Facebook stream of the hearing, provided by Reaching Higher NH, is here starting at minute 57 and continued here. You can see great accurate coverage from WMUR here. And in InDepthNH.org (picked up by many other papers as well), Gail Ober reports in detail on the hearing in the context of the larger education funding issue that Andy Volinsky and John Tobin have been discussing across the State over the past 7 months.
The main message running through the testimony last Thursday was that since the Legislature passed the stabilization elimination bill in 2015, the $20 million property poor communities have already lost is critical. Data presented by researcher Doug Hall showing the impact of communities like Berlin and Manchester reinforced the testimony of many others that the pain already inflicted has led to elimination of important classes like AP and foreign languages and even to school closures and that, while the HB 177 proposal to stop the stabilization fund reductions is welcome and important, the bill should be amended to restore the damaging cuts already made.
Open letter of mine to education committee
I will be brief and blunt Newport, NH has an education funding crisis. Newport like many communities in New Hampshire has had this problem for decades because of the antiquated mechanism of which this State funds education. This crisis has been exacerbated to the point of dire as young families cannot afford to buy homes in Newport because of the tax rate and the elderly have to sell their homes because of their taxes. Who suffers the most the children of Newport as we struggle to raise money for education a per pupil amount of $13,888 on the backs of hard working property owners while our neighbor Sunapee is able to raise $23,791 per pupil and their tax rate is less than half of ours. In addition, Newport children have demonstrated more need in special education services than their neighbor, Sunapee. This is not news and you are familiar with the horrifying statistics…yet once again we hold our hopes in you our legislators to do the moral and fair thing by Newport and New Hampshire kids. Our Governor says education is a legislative issue and it can be solved under your roof. Alas though I have to write a letter to the Education Committee begging a State with a surplus not to cut adequacy aide to my town, again! I have my doubts but prove me wrong; support HB177 do not cut aid by 4 percent this year or in the future. As well amend HB177 to add the additional aide that was stolen from our kids in 2016 or 2017. Do your jobs if not we will see you in Court .
179 Springfield Rd.
Newport, NH 03773
Thank you, Kathy. Readers who would like to join Kathy and many others in actively advocating for school funding reform in New Hampshire just click here.
In reference to the following quote: “…while the HB 177 proposal to stop the stabilization fund reductions is welcome and important, the bill should be amended to restore the damaging cuts already made” is there any chance that this will happen – that is – is there a chance that these cuts will be restored?
It will be very up hill but, yes, if there’s enough support from voters.