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Press release: Lawsuit Surprises School Funding Coalition

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MARCH 18, 2019


CONTACT: John Tobin 603-568-0735 or Doug Hall 603-229-2598


Long time school funding advocates John Tobin and Doug Hall released a statement in reaction to the lawsuit filed against the state of New Hampshire this week by the ConVal school district. The two are leaders of the NH School Funding Fairness Project, which has been working on a legislative solution to the state’s education funding issue.

“This week we learned that a lawsuit has been filed against the State of NH by ConVal School District, asserting that the State has failed to live up to its responsibilities under the NH Constitution and the Claremont decisions.

We had no involvement in, or advance warning of, ConVal School District’s filing of this lawsuit. It took us by complete surprise as it did almost everyone.

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 this year 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 that we support and which begin to achieve that. We are concerned that the lawsuit may complicate remedies that could bring some relief to the most distressed school districts as early as July of this year.

Nevertheless, we agree with their objective to require 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. 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 a Commission to do just that. We had put aside the idea of a lawsuit at this time but we have assumed that a lawsuit might be necessary in the near future if the legislative process does not satisfy the funding and tax requirements that are part of the New Hampshire Constitution.”

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