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Sen. Dan Innis: I believe in school choice for all New Hampshire children

School funding will be the big issue in the next legislative session.  And here is Senator Dan Innis of New Castle running for re-election on his proposal to allocate New Hampshire’s scarce education dollars to private schools in the form of vouchers.  And he wants to expand last year’s $100 million voucher bill, defeated in a bi-partisan vote, by making all wealthy children eligible for private school subsidies, leaving local property taxpayers to cover for reduced state funding.

Tom Loughman, candidate for state rep from Hampton, published a great response in the Seacoast Media papers today and here is nationally known education expert Scott Marion from Rye unpacking Mr. Innis erroneous assertions point by point.  Bill Kingston of New Castle also responded in today’s papers.

Senator Innis making his case: (more…)

Garry Rayno in InDepthNH.org: Seacoast Schools Thrive, North Country’s and Others Mired In Funding Crisis

Gary Rayno, retired Union Leader statehouse reporter, knows his way around.  Here is his take on the education funding debate:

The math just doesn’t add up.

While the state of New Hampshire is rolling in revenue and has been for four or five years, property-poor school districts who won two landmark Supreme Court education decisions two decades ago, are in crisis while lawmakers reduce their state aid.

A study last year by the now defunct NH Center for Public Policy Studies found the gap between what property rich and poor towns spend per pupil and their property tax rates has closed little despite nearly three decades of litigation and legislative action.

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School funding forum to be held on September 20 at Keene Middle School, with many co-sponsors.

Attorneys John Tobin and Andy Volinsky will bring their popular series of school funding forums to Keene Middle School (167 Maple Ave, Keene)  at 6:00 PM, September 20.

The Keene forum is sponsored by the Keene, Monadnock, Chesterfield, Westmoreland, Nelson, Marlow, Harrisville, Marlborough, Jaffrey, Rindge, Winchester, ConVal, and Wilton/Lyndeborough school districts.

The Berlin forum will be 6:00 PM, September 6, at Berlin Middle School Auditorium (200 State St.).

This next year will see important debates in the Legislature and potentially in the courts on school funding, local property taxes and the education we offer New Hampshire’s children.  The School Funding 101 forums are a great way to get engaged and potentially make a difference in the future of our State.

John Tobin in the Concord Monitor: Hope for finding common ground on school funding crisis

Attorney John Tobin engages the business community on how best to fund public education in New Hampshire:

The current school funding system, with its crushing property tax rates, is decimating the school systems and economies of dozens of New Hampshire towns and cities, with more to follow. This crisis has pushed me to come out of retirement and start recruiting lawyers for a possible new school funding lawsuit. But I am also part of a growing group of people who are trying to bring the issues of school funding and property taxes into the center of public discussion and debate, during the coming election season and beyond.

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Eagle Times: They offer a class in school funding and 150 people show up

The school funding and local property tax debate came to Newton Tuesday night when the Volinsky/Tobin team brought the next edition of their School Funding 101 to a large and engaged audience.  Here are highlights from the Eagle Times take on the presentation:

NEWPORT — Two architects of a ground-breaking lawsuit that Claremont school district won against the state of New Hampshire presented “Education Funding 101” to the taxpaying public Tuesday night. School funding is in a crisis, they said, and it is going to get worse if no one acts.

John Tobin and Andru Volinsky, attorneys who worked on a lawsuit known as Claremont v. Governor of New Hampshire, which was begun in the 1980s, said the state has never met the settlement requirements and school funding is worse than ever.

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Valley News: N.H. School Funding Is Up For Discussion

If the topic is education, the Valley News is there.  They just did a piece on the upcoming School Funding 101 forum that Andy Volinsky and John Tobin will do in Newport on August 14:

Newport — A public forum on the current status of education funding in New Hampshire and its continued heavy reliance on property taxes will be led next week by the former lead attorney in the Claremont lawsuit.

Andru Volinsky, currently an executive councilor, and John Tobin, an attorney, will lead the discussion at 6 p.m. on Aug. 14 Newport’s Richards Elementary School.

Newport is expected to be joined at the forum by school boards from Claremont, Unity and the Fall Mountain Regional School District.

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Mary Wilke in the Concord Monitor: Fair education funding will solve ‘ZIP code problem’

In her oped for today’s Concord Monitor, Mary Wilke points out that voucher proposals, viewed alongside other education funding proposals, do not hold up to scrutiny.

John Adams said, “There should not be a district of one mile square without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

If you agree with our Founding Fathers that a vibrant democracy depends on a strong public education system, then please take notice: Our public schools are under attack. Gov. Chris Sununu, Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and their legislative allies are gearing up to ram another school voucher bill through the next legislative session.

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Do we have the education leadership we need in New Hampshire?

What do you do with a Commissioner who talks about our schools only in terms of failure and whose education strategy for the future is private school vouchers?

Leading a large education system is a complex undertaking. It takes real…well…leadership. Is there another Commissioner in the country with such a rhetoric of failure? An education leader would normally convene parents and educators seeking engagement around a vision for what is possible. If math achievement is low, what’s our strategy? If our schools could do more to reach students with special needs, how do we support their efforts to do that? (more…)

Education funding constitutional amendment: here’s what happened last time

The last attempt was in 2012, the second session of the O’Brien legislature.  It failed in a big way.  You can dig into all the detail here.  But post mortem by Kevin Landrigan, then with the Nashua Telegraph, “Legislature’s power figures took it on the chin with education funding vote”, is the best political overview.  The over-all themes are still very relevant: (more…)

An important BIA statement supporting a constitutional amendment to allow targeting of education funding

The Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce (BIA) is a strong supporter of New Hampshire Public Education. The rational is to build the workforce so critical to the future of New Hampshire, its businesses and its families. But the BIA’s engagement goes deep, bringing business and schools together, and supporting important legislative and local initiatives.

So the BIA statement, written by senior vice president/public policy David Juvet, on amending the provision of the New Hampshire Constitution that guarantees each child the opportunity for an adequate education is important.  Here, with our commentary, is the statement, printed in a recent Union Leader Sunday News: (more…)