Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

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The House Finance Committee chair: the House education funding proposal is an important step toward responding to the ConVal decision

The Senate has sent its proposed budget back to the House with a major reduction in the House commitment to education funding.  That will get discussed and voted on it the House and probably sent to a committee of conference.

In the June 9 Concord Monitor, House Finance chair Mary Jane Wallner explains the context and rationale for the strong House support for increase education funding as a first step in implementing Judge Ruoff’s important decision: (more…)

Just before the SBOE vote, NH League of Women Voters issues a statement opposing the NHDOE Learn Everywhere proposal

If you are not yet alarmed about Commissioner Edelblut’s proposal to privatize public education in New Hampshire, here’s our background on his Learn Everywhere plan and here is great coverage by Reaching Higher NH.  The current version of the plan is here on page 345 of the board packet for the Thursday, June 13, SBOE meeting, where the board is expected to vote on the package. (more…)

UL’s Solomon: a great perspective on the Ruoff decision

The Union Leader delves further into the Ruoff decision on today’s front page.  Read the whole thing but here are some highlights:

If there’s one message that comes through loud and clear in the nearly 100-page ruling on education funding handed down late Wednesday by a Cheshire County Superior Court judge, it’s this: A child’s educational opportunity should not be determined by his or her ZIP code…..

(more…)

Superior Court Judge David W. Ruoff drops a bomb on Concord: the state’s support for public education is unconstitutional.

In backroom conversations, New Hampshire’s elected leadership have recognized for years that the adequacy formula determining state funding for public education is unconstitutional.  The Legislature had set the funding level unrealistically low – currently $3,636 plus some other targeted forms of aid – and just hoped to keep the issue in the background as long as possible.

The string ran out on that strategy this year as schools closed or dropped important courses and the NH School Funding Fairness Project led by Andy Volinsky, John Tobin and Doug Hall held 35 forums (and counting) around the state explaining the system and the damage it is doing to students, property poor communities and property taxpayers.  While the Fairness Project and hundreds of active supporters pursued a legislative remedy, ConVal and 3 other school districts went to court in March to challenge the formula.

Judge Ruoff issued his 98 page opinion yesterday.  And it was sweeping.  Some key quotes: (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…)