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Two Critical Public Hearings on School Funding:  May 7 & May 8

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From the School Funding Fairness Project Newsletter, 4/28/19:

The NH Senate Finance Committee has scheduled two hearings on the budget bills recently passed by the House  (HBs 1 and 2). These bills contain, among other things, the education funding measures that were developed through the thoughtful, bipartisan efforts of the House Education Committee and that we’ve been supporting during this legislative session. The measures include:  restoring stabilization grants to 2016 levels, adding significant targeted aid for struggling districts, and creating an independent, funded commission to develop a sustainable and constitutional longterm school funding plan.

Now it’s time to convince the Senate to support these education funding provisions.  The work begins in the Senate Finance Committee, which has scheduled two public hearings on the budget bills:

1) Tuesday afternoon, May 7, at 1:00 p.m. in Representatives’ Hall, second floor of the New Hampshire State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord, NH, and

2) Wednesday evening, May 8, at 7:00 p.m. at Manchester City Hall, Aldermanic Chambers (3rd floor), 1 City Hall Plaza, Manchester, NH

A large turnout is critical!

Please consider testifying at one of these two hearings.  Adequate state funding of NH’s public schools is an issue that Democrats and Republicans alike have dodged for decades. If we are to make progress, legislators on both sides of the aisle must hear from many citizens clamoring for meaningful solutions like those in HBs 1 & 2.

If you can, bring a few people from your community with you so you can each address different issues such as:

  • How your local schools are coping (or unable to cope) with the constant reductions in State aid over the past years and the impact of inadequate funding on students.  (School board members, school administrators, teachers, parents and students can all tell powerful stories based on their first-hand experiences)
  • How you, as a taxpayer, business owner, and/or community member, are affected by the downshifting to local taxpayers of the State’s constitutional responsibility for funding our public schools
  • The impact of state funding shortfalls on the overall well-being of your community and its ability to attract businesses and newcomers

Your time to speak will probably be limited to 2-3 minutes, so it’s best to focus on one or two points. If you have more to say, you may include it in written testimony that you hand in at the time. (It’s helpful, but not essential, to submit seven copies – one for each senator on the committee and one for the committee clerk.)   

Just a heads-up:  The hearing could go for several hours, since people will be there to testify about a wide variety of budget-related issues, not just education funding.  

If you’re unable to attend either of the hearings, please email the members of the Senate Finance Committee to share your thoughts with them.  You may reach them all in a single email by going here, scrolling down to “Finance” and clicking on “email entire committee”.

Both hearings will be live streamed on the General Court website here, and the second hearing (in Manchester) will be aired on Manchester Public TV as well.

In the meantime, tune in to “The Exchange” on April 30

On Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m., a special live broadcast of The Exchange on NHPR  will focus on the topic: “Education Funding in the Granite State.”  Panelists will include:

  • John Tobin – Chair of the NH School Funding Fairness Project and one of the Claremont lawsuit attorneys;
  • John Freeman – Superintendent of Schools, Pittsfield School District;
  • Representative Rick Ladd – Republican State Representative from Haverhill and former chair of the NH House Education Committee;
  • Jessica Huizenga – Superintendent of Schools, Milford School District.  Join the live audience or listen in on the radio.

Listeners may send questions in advance by emailing  exchange@nhpr.org.  For those who want to attend the event, click here for details.

Please help spread the word! 

School Funding 101 presentations are currently scheduled in the following places:

  • Plymouth:  May 1 at 6:00 p.m. in room 220, Hyde Hall, Plymouth State University
  • Wolfeboro:  May 8 at 7:00 p.m at Wolfeboro Town Hall, 84 South Main Street, Wolfeboro
  • North Conway:  May 15 at 6:00 p.m. at Kennett High School, Loynd Auditorium, 409 Eagle’s Way, North Conway

For additional updates and information, follow us on Facebook:  NHSchoolFundingFairness


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