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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.”


UL: “ConVal proposal would close six schools” – unaffordable school property taxes contribute to loss of young families

The New Hampshire school funding formula leaves rural and property poor districts poorer every day, as this piece in today’s Union Leader points up.

School Board Member Stephan Morrissey of Francestown observes that the region’s unaffordability for young families means that the school population will continue to decrease as the population continues to age: (more…)

The NH state board of education proposes to grant graduation credits toward local high school diplomas

When Gov. Sununu says, “SB 435 was one of my major legislative priorities,”  he’s talking about a one sentence amendment to New Hampshire’s definition of an adequate education:

The state board of education shall adopt rules….relative to the approval of alternative programs for granting credit leading to graduation.

The harmless-sounding bill, sponsored by a dozen Republicans and three Democrats, sailed through both bodies on voice votes (based on near unanimous committee support).

Legislators and school administrators probably did not realize the trap that had been laid for them until the State Board of Education approved the initial draft of the of the rule required by that sentence.

What does the proposed rule actually say?  Here it is.  Under the proposed rule, the state board grants itself the authority to make use of the diploma issued by any local school board in New Hampshire. (more…)

The next Education Funding 101 forum: January 17 at Belmont High!

After a post-election hiatus in Education Funding 101 forums, four Lakes Region school districts have joined to co-host the next session.  It will be at 6:00 on Thursday, January 17 in the  Belmont High School auditorium, 255 Seavey Road in Belmont.

If you haven’t gone to a previous forum, this is a great chance to understand one of the most important issues before the new Legislature.

The Legislature’s education funding study committee has issued its final report and it is very interesting

The Committee to Study Education Funding and the Cost of an Opportunity for an Adequate Education established in 2017 has issued its 110 page final report.  Garry Reno has written an informative summary of the findings, available on InDepthNH and Manchester Ink Link.  Here are some highlights.

The eight member committee of six Republicans and two Democrats and chaired by House Finance Division II chair Karen Umberger, has produced an substantial and thoughtful report proposing an increase in education funding and improvements that target low income students and property poor communities. (more…)

Teacher of the Year Heidi Crumrine in the Concord Monitor: “What is a child worth?”

New Hampshire’s 2018 Teacher of the Year makes an eloquent plea in today’s Concord Monitor for giving all New Hampshire children a fair shot.  She brings her powerful insights as a classroom teacher and leader together with the powerful data from attorneys John Tobin and Andy Volinsky and analyst Doug Hall to make a powerful case that “We are systemically setting our most disadvantaged students up for failure before they even become adults.”  She urges us to realize that, yes, it’s about the money, but it’s really about the future of our children.

Read Heidi Crumrine’s call to action: (more…)

Big differences on education funding and school choice surface in Sullivan County House races

The Valley News featured education funding in its thorough review of the the Sullivan 1 and Sullivan 9 House races.

The incumbent members of the House, Democrats Linda Tanner (Georges Mills), Lee Oxenham (Plainfield) and Brian Sullivan (Grantham) are strong supporters of public education who opposed SB 193, the statewide private school voucher bill defeated in the last Legislature, and seek ways to improve the education funding formula.

Two of their opponents, Plainfield Republican candidates Virginia Drye and her mother Margaret, take the position that only those families who use the public school system should pay for it.  Candidate Drye and Grantham Republican Tanya McIntire both think the “Croydon bill” should be expanded.

Here are excerpts from the Valley News report: (more…)

Valley News Editorial: N.H. Has the Cash, and Its Schools Need Help

Here are highlights from the Valley News editorial on the school funding challenge:

In the course of crowing the other day about the state of New Hampshire’s economy, Gov. Chris Sununu said, “One of the problems we have right now at the state is we have more money than we know what to do with. We literally have a $150 million surplus.”…

In light of all this rosiness, it’s reasonable to ask why New Hampshire continues to shortchange its public schools and the many property-poor communities that struggle to pay for them.


Franklin Candidate forum to address school funding crisis at 6:00 on October 24th at the Franklin Opera House

The Laconia Daily Sun teed up the candidate forum on school funding by providing detailed reporting on how the reduction in stabilization aid impacts local communities:

Candidates seeking to represent Franklin and Northfield in the state legislature will address New Hampshire’s school funding crisis at a forum on Oct. 24. The forum will be held at the Franklin Opera House, 316 Central St., from 6-8 p.m. State Senate candidates and all House candidates for Merrimack County Districts 2, 3 and 26 have been invited to attend.

The funding crisis is the result of reductions voted in by the state legislature. “In 2015 the legislature voted to gradually eliminate education stabilization grants at a rate of four percent per year, with the goal of total elimination by 2037,” said Northfield Town Administrator Glenn Smith.

“As a result of legislative action Northfield loses almost $100,000 per year in state aid to education,” reports Selectboard Chair Wayne Crowley.


Candidates in the ConVal area campaign on their commitment to public education!

saying….”Strong Public Schools are the backbone of our Democracy…..”

School Funding Ad 1