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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Portsmouth Herald: “We do have an education funding problem, which is a drag on our economy, particularly in rural areas, and it’s getting worse.”
The Herald weighed in editorially on the school funding issue after an editorial board visit by Executive Councilor and lead Claremont case attorney Andy Volinsky:
The fight over education funding in New Hampshire has, at least for now, moved from courts of law to the court of public opinion.
The lead lawyers in the landmark 1997 Claremont II education funding lawsuit, which affirmed New Hampshire’s constitutional duty to provide every K-12 student an “adequate” public education, acknowledge that despite favorable rulings from the state Supreme Court, disparities in educational opportunities have not gotten better over the past 20 years. In fact, they have gotten worse.
The NHPR series “Adequate: How A State Decides The Value of Public Education” has provided important insights into education funding in New Hampshire and the impact inadequate state support for its schools has had on our communities. The series will culminate next Tuesday with a forum to be held at NHPR headquarters in Concord. Here are the details. You can register here to attend the forum live in NHPR’s Studio D.
Laura Knoy is host a great panel:
- John J. Freeman—Superintendent of Schools, Pittsfield School District
- Our own John Tobin —One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the landmark Claremont education case against the state, and a leader in the current NH School Funding Fairness Project
- Rick Ladd—Republican state representative from Haverhill; former chair of the Education Committee, N.H. House of Representatives
- Jessica Huizenga—Superintendent of Schools, Milford School District
Don’t miss it!
Timberlane Regional School District residents and two state senators turned out at the Performing Arts Center on Monday night to learn how the state’s school funding mechanism is affecting communities.
The presentation was led by attorney John Tobin, who was part of the landmark Claremont education funding case before the state Supreme Court in the 1990s. He said the current funding system is hurting students, taxpayers, and home and business owners.
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…)
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…)
With strong citizen support, school funding has been a bipartisan priority so far but, as NHPR reports, partisanship may well be reemerging:
On Thursday, the Democratic-led House will vote on its version of the state budget. The budget, which is expected to pass, includes a $160 million increase in state aid to schools – the largest since the state ramped up funding twenty years ago in response to the Claremont lawsuits.
But with Governor Sununu’s veto pen at the ready, the budget faces an uphill battle in the next few months.