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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…)

Help Wanted! (at this week’s Senate budget hearings)

Budget Hearings Coming Right Up

As we reported last week, the NH Senate Finance Committee will hold public hearings this week about the House budget bills.  One additional hearing has been added.  The hearings are:

1) Tuesday afternoon, May 7, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. in Representatives’ Hall, second floor of the New Hampshire State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord, NH,

2) Tuesday evening, May 7, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Representatives’ Hall, second floor of the New Hampshire State House, 107 N Main Street, Concord, NH, and

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

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

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: (more…)

Turning to the Senate

NH School Funding Fairness Project newsletter, 4/21/19:

There are no public hearings this week related to the school funding issue, but there’s plenty of work to do.  The focus of our efforts now shifts to the Senate, which will consider education funding issues in the context of the budget passed by the House last week.  (more…)

House Passes Proposed Budget (Including School Funding Provisions) Along Party Lines

First the good news:  On Thursday, the House approved HBs 1 and 2, as amended and proposed by the House Finance Committee (the House budget bills.)   These bills incorporate the contents of the three funding bills we’ve been following: HBs 177, 709, and 551.  If passed by the Senate and approved by the Governor, they’d restore stabilization grants to 2016 levels for FY 2020, add significant fiscal capacity disparity aid and additional free and reduced lunch aid beginning in FY 2021, and establish a funded, independent commission to develop a new school funding formula. Overall, $164 million in increased aid would go to local school districts around the State, paid for by a capital gains tax.

Now the bad news: Though the House budget bills passed, not a single Republican voted for them.  Moreover, two last-minute amendments to HB2, offered by Rep. Rick Ladd, signaled a dramatic loss of Republican support for funding measures which many Republicans had voted for just weeks ago.   (more…)