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An eloquent reminder of good things happening in our public schools

Sometimes it feels as if public education is under siege.  Lately the education news has been mostly about reductions in school funding and the Education Commissioner’s latest privatization effort, Learn Everywhere.  But it’s important to stop now and then and celebrate all the good things happening in our public schools.  A recent column in the Concord Monitor, by former teacher-of-the-year Heidi Crumrine, did just that.   (more…)

Governor’s Budget Veto Hurts Students and Property Taxpayers

The following was published in the Concord Monitor as a “My Turn” piece on July 10, 2019.

In the wake of the Governor’s veto of the budget bill, many school districts are reeling.  The bill would have given them significant new funding ($138 million across the state), with much of it directed to property-poor or low income communities whose schools and property taxpayers have been pushed to the brink by repeated cuts in state aid. These communities have less valuable property to tax than their property-wealthy counterparts, so they’ve faced a double burden –   they must tax themselves at much higher rates, but even with such sacrifices they are unable to spend as much per pupil. (more…)

As budget talks continue, keep up the pressure for fair school funding!

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. (more…)

Governor’s Veto Deals Blow to Schools and Property Taxpayers

As you may have heard, on Friday Governor Sununu vetoed the budget proposed by the Committee of Conference (“CofC”), which had passed the House and Senate on purely party lines.  Unfortunately, this means that everything the CofC put in the budget is back on the table and potentially on the chopping block – including the $138 million in new school aid and $40 M in municipal aid that districts and towns were hoping to see.  The veto leaves school districts in a quandary as they make staffing and other decisions for the school year ahead.    (more…)

Action Plan for School Funding – Call the Governor and Come to Concord!

We reported earlier about the budget deal reached by the committee of conference, which would send $138M in new aid to school districts.  See below for more detail.

Unfortunately, the Governor has threatened to veto the deal, and the veto could come as early as next Thursday, June 27.  A veto would delay, and possibly prevent altogether, the additional funding that communities so desperately need right now, and could leave school districts facing another devastating 4% reduction in stabilization funding.

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Budget committee proposes significant new funding for schools – it’s time to contact the Governor!!

Yesterday the members of the Committee of Conference on the state budget struck a deal on school funding.  If their plan is approved by the full House and Senate and signed by the Governor, $138 million in new funding will be sent to struggling school districts around the state.  This kind of increase in school funding hasn’t been seen in decades, and it’s a significant step toward addressing the inequities inherent in our current funding structure.  The plan also includes the establishment of an independent commission to study and recommend a sustainable, constitutional, long term solution to the school funding crisis.  And $40 million in municipal aid will be an additional boost to communities whose taxpayers have been stretched to their limits, in large part because of the State’s downshifting of school costs to localities. (more…)

Call to Action at the State House!

On Friday, the Senate Finance Committee approved an amended version of the House’s budget and sent it to the full Senate, which will vote on it on June 6.  Assuming the Senate confirms it, a Committee of Conference (comprised of Senators and Representatives) will be formed to work intensively over a period of days, hammering out differences between the House and Senate budgets.

Although the Senate Finance Committee’s amendment retained two critical school funding measures that were in the House budget (restoration of stabilization grants to 2016 levels and funding for an independent commission to develop a long-term solution), it reduced by about $71 million the amount of  interim aid the House budget had included for struggling districts. (*More detail on the Committee’s proposed budget is provided at the end of this newsletter.) (more…)

Senate Finance Committee Budget Deliberations This Week

NH School Funding Fairness Project – Newsletter 21, 5/19/19

The Senate Finance Committee’s public deliberations on the budget will begin this week. All of the budget work sessions listed below will be held in the State House, Room 103. Public input is not taken at these sessions, but feel free to sit in and listen.

  • Monday 5/20   9:30-11:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday 5/21   3:00 p.m.
  • Friday 5/24      9:30 a.m.

In addition, on Tuesday, May 21, at 1:00 p.m., the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on a new revenue proposal (offered as amendment 2019-2031s), that would impose payroll deductions on wages in excess of the Social Security tax cap, with revenues to be dedicated primarily for education purposes.   (more…)

Senate Finance Committee Budget Hearings – Ed. Funding Update

NH School Funding Fairness Project, Newsletter 20

First, some inspiration!  

People showed up in force to testify at the three Senate Finance Committee budget hearings this past week, and many were there to talk about education. Students, administrators, teachers, mayors, school board members and taxpayers made the case, over and over, for why we need to overhaul the way we fund our schools. (more…)

Live from the State House! Please consider testifying tonight or tomorrow!

Seventy-four people testified at this afternoon’s Senate Finance Committee’s budget hearing. Fourteen of these speakers were there to ask senators to keep the school funding provisions in the House budget bills, at the levels provided there.  The hearing will reconvene this evening at 6:00.

Compelling testimony on school funding was heard from: (more…)