The Monitor contrasts legislative efforts to address school funding with the governor’s proposal to erase the state’s obligation to children with a constitutional amendment.
The Monitor tees up the education funding issue in a well reported piece:
In 2010, Berlin faced an economic reckoning, rocked by the closure of a Gorham paper mill and the swift loss of 240 jobs.
Then the school funding cuts kicked in.
It’s a familiar story. A 2011 legislative change to New Hampshire’s school funding formula saw Berlin take in substantially less state funds for students, pushing the town to increase its property tax rate to bridge the gap.
The Legislature created a stabilization fund the same year to dole out “hold harmless” aid to cities like Berlin and help them recoup the difference. But since 2015, that fund has faced a series of annual reductions, and is set for complete depletion by 2040.
Now, after years of scaling back, officials in Berlin say the school district is near a breaking point. With property taxes already abnormally high and outside aid low, the district may have to shut down the city’s last remaining elementary school if nothing changes, Superintendent Corinne Cascadden said.
“There comes a time when you cannot offer education under the minimum standards of approval without certain programs and personnel,” she said. “We’re really close to that threshold.”
- What will you do to ensure that NH updates its adequacy grants to realistic levels?
- What will you do to make school property taxes fair and equal across the state?
- As an immediate measure, would you support a moratorium on cuts to stabilization aid?
- If you are in favor of a constitutional amendment on school funding, what would such an amendment say?
The Suncook Valley group is one of a growing number of community groups formed in response to the School Funding 101 forums that attorneys Andy Volinsky and John Tobin have been holding in communities throughout New Hampshire. Here is the ambitious initiative taken by the ConVal communities, which has already been emulated in Newport and other communities, including Monadnock, Keene, and Claremont.
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…)
The NH Supreme Court protects citizens, businesses, government and students in New Hampshire. Governor Sununu has proposed that students be eliminated from that list, leaving education funding levels entirely up to the Legislature. Here, in a recent Seacoast Online report is how he makes the argument: (more…)