NH School Funding Fairness Project Newsletter, July 7, 2019
Now that budget negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, there’s no real news to report. However, as the Governor and legislative leaders try to reach a compromise on state spending, it’s important that they continue to hear from voters concerned about the school funding crisis. Let them know that, even though it’s summer and they’re meeting outside of public view, you’re still paying attention and you expect them to do what’s right for our schools and communities. Talking points and contact information are below.
And then take a moment to pat yourselves on the back. Education funding became a primary focus of lawmakers throughout this legislative session, in large part because of people like you. Municipal and school officials, property taxpayers, business owners, parents, students and other interested citizens from all corners of the state have stepped up time and again to advocate for a system of school funding that’s fair to students and property taxpayers.
Many of you contacted your senators and representatives, testified at hearings, wrote letters to your local papers, and/or held signs at rallies, to keep up the pressure. Lawmakers heard your voices loud and clear, and they approved a budget that included the largest funding increase our schools have seen in decades. This in itself is significant progress, and momentum is with us as we move forward. So please keep up the good work!
An administrative note
This newsletter has been published on a weekly basis for some time, but the schedule will be less regular in the coming weeks, as we await word on budget talks. For a variety of reasons, it may be September or even later before a budget deal is reached. You’ll hear from us again when there’s news to report, and meanwhile, have a happy summer!
Talking Points for phone calls/emails/letters
- Stop the stabilization cuts immediately (they were reinstated when the Governor vetoed the budget and signed a continuing resolution that left last year’s budget – including its annual stabilization cuts – in place for now),
- Resolve the budget ASAP so districts can plan for the upcoming school year,
- Retain the $138 million in new school aid and the $40 million in municipal aid that were contained in the Committee of Conference budget that the legislature approved. These will offer critical relief to school districts and property taxpayers alike.
- Establish an independent school funding commission so that a sustainable and constitutional longterm solution can be worked out. This, too, was included in the budget that the legislature approved and the Governor vetoed.
If you want to share with the Governor and/or legislators information about how much your community would gain in new school aid and municipal aid in the next two years under the budget passed by the legislature, see this spreadsheet. If you’d like to point out how much your school district will lose if the current funding system stays in place, you can find that information here: https://reachinghighernh.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CurrentLaw.pdf.
Who to contact and how
1. Governor Sununu:
- 603-271-2121 (leave a message with a staff person or voice mail)
- State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301
- complete a form at this site.
2. Senate President Donna Soucy:
- State House room 302, 107 N. Main Street, Concord, NH 03301
3. House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff:
- State House, room 311, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301
4. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Morse:
- State House room 120, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301
5. House Minority Leader Richard Hinch:
- 14 Ichabod Dr., Merrimack, NH 03054-6226
6. Your Senator and Representative(s): You can find lawmakers’ names and contact information by going here, entering your town, and then clicking on each Representative’s or Senator’s name. Urge them to stand up for their constituents by pressuring the Governor and legislative leaders to take the actions listed above. Remind them what your community would gain under the budget that the Governor vetoed (see links above, under Talking Points.)
Help spread the word. “School Funding and Property Taxpayer 101” presentations have been given in communities all around the state. If you’d like one in your community, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. These can be organized by any non-partisan group or institution, including school districts, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, public libraries, etc.
For additional updates and information, follow us on Facebook: NHSchoolFundingFairness