Public Hearing: The Effect of the Budget Impasse on Education
House and Senate Ad Hoc Budget Committee
Thursday, August 29, 10 a.m. (hold a sign in the hall at 9:30)
Legislative Office Building, rooms 210-211
As you know, on July 1 Governor Sununu vetoed the budget that had been passed by the legislature and that contained significant new aid for school districts and municipalities. Since that date, the State has operated under a “continuing resolution”, meaning that for the most part it continues to be funded in accordance with last year’s budget. That means that another 4% cut to stabilization funding for schools has kicked in (it would have been averted under the new budget) and none of the new school or municipal aid contained in the budget has materialized. As students return to school and property taxpayers look ahead to their next quarterly payments, the budget impasse continues, and communities are paying a heavy price.
Please attend the hearing!
A large turnout at the public hearing will help keep the pressure on lawmakers and the Governor to retain the school funding measures and municipal aid that were included in the vetoed budget. Please come and testify about the impact of the budget impasse on your schools and community, and recruit some friends and neighbors to join you.
It’s critical that the Committee hear from people impacted by the budget in different ways, including:
1) Business Owners
The Governor’s veto was based largely on his opposition to provisions in the budget eliminating scheduled reductions in business tax rates. Yet we’ve heard from some business owners that they’re more concerned with workforce development, property taxes and local infrastructure than with new business tax cuts. What about you? How much do you value your community’s ability to prepare students for the workforce? How is your business affected by high property taxes, which are caused in large part by the downshifting of education costs that are the State’s responsibility? In deciding where to locate new offices, shops, and/or plants, do you take into account property tax rates, the quality of the schools, the condition of local infrastructure, and the availability of a prepared workforce? How do you weigh these factors against the value to your business of the business tax cuts that are at the center of the budget impasse?
2) School board members, school administrators, teachers, parents and students
As you start a new school year, what specific effects has the budget veto had on the programs and opportunities offered to students? What services and staff have been cut because of the 4% reduction in stabilization funding that kicked in when the Governor vetoed the budget, and why does that matter? What opportunities could have been offered if the significant school and municipal aid included in the budget had come your way?
This spreadsheet shows how much your town/city would have received in new school aid and municipal aid under the budget if it had not been vetoed. The cumulative loss some districts will experience in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 if the continuing resolution drags on can be seen in this table compiled by Reaching Higher NH.
If you’re a school administrator, student or teacher and unable to leave school on August 29, please consider writing your testimony and asking a local School Board member or someone else to read it for you at the hearing.
If you know business owners in your community, urge them to testify, because the Governor is pointing primarily to them as the reason for his veto (see section above)
3) Mayors, city councilors, other town/city officials
How does the State’s downshifting of education costs to your local school district affect your ability to raise money for municipal needs? How would you have used the municipal aid in the budget that the Governor vetoed? To see what your community would have received in new school aid and municipal aid, see this spreadsheet. Because the hearing is focused on education, be sure to tie your comments to the drain on your budget caused by the downshifting of educational costs to your local property taxpayers. And please encourage business owners in your community to attend the hearing [see (1) above].
4) Property owners
As property taxes continue to rise every year, in large part because the State continually downshifts its obligation to pay for public education, how does that impact you and your family? The budget passed by the legislature would have provided significant levels of new school funding as well as municipal aid, much of which could have been used for property tax relief. See this spreadsheet .
5) Interested citizens
If your town/city struggles to raise the funds needed to provide fair educational opportunity to students – funds that should be coming from the State – how does that impact the desirability of your town for new businesses and new young families? What is the impact on the health and vitality of your community?
Additional actions to take:
a. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper as well as the Concord Monitor and Manchester Union Leader describing your concerns;
b. Write to your own representative(s) and senator. You can find your Senator and Representative(s) and their contact info by going here, entering your town, and then clicking on each Representative’s or Senator’s name.
c. Contact Governor Sununu. Here’s how to reach him:
*603-271-2121 (leave a message with a staff person or voice mail),
*Write to him at the State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301, or *Complete a form at this site.
d. Email Committee members. If you’re unable to attend the hearing or arrange for someone to read your testimony in your absence, write to members of the Committee before August 29.
They’re listed here:
Representative Wallner, Maryjane.Wallner@leg.state.nh.us
Representative Douglas Ley, Douglas.Ley@leg.state.nh.us
Representative Patricia Lovejoy, Patricia.Lovejoy@leg.state.nh.us
Representative Susan Ford Susan.Ford@leg.state.nh.us
Representative David Huot, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Sharon Nordgren, Sharon.Nordgren@leg.state.nh.us
Representative Joelle Martin, Joelle.Martin@leg.state.nh.us
Representative Susan Almy, email@example.com
Representative William Hatch, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative David Luneau, dluneauNH@gmail.com
Representative Richard Ames, Richard.Ames@leg.state.nh.us
Representative Kenneth Weyler, email@example.com
Senate President Donna Soucy, Donna.Soucy@leg.state.nh.us
Senator Lou D’Allesandro, Lou.Dallesandro@leg.state.nh.us
Senator Dan Feltes, Dan.Feltes@leg.state.nh.us
Senator Cindy Rosenwald, Cindy.Rosenwald@leg.state.nh.us
Senator Jay Kahn, Jay.Kahn@leg.state.nh.us
Senator John Reagan, John.Reagan111@gmail.com
Help spread the word!
“School Funding and Property Taxpayer 101” presentations have been given in communities all around the state and have been instrumental in raising public awareness of the inequities for students and property taxpayers inherent in the way we fund public schools. If you’d like a presentation in your community, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. These presentations can be organized by any non-partisan group or institution, including school districts, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, public libraries, etc. They are free, though we do ask the local sponsors to publicize the event and provide the venue.
For additional updates and information:
- Follow us on Facebook: NHSchoolFundingFairness
- See our new website at fairfundingnh.org to learn more about the NH School Funding Fairness Project.
- Check Advancing NH Public Education at anhpe.org and Reaching Higher NH at http://reachinghighernh.org/ for additional resources.