Advancing New Hampshire Public Education

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Action Plan for School Funding – Call the Governor and Come to Concord!

We reported earlier about the budget deal reached by the committee of conference, which would send $138M in new aid to school districts.  See below for more detail.

Unfortunately, the Governor has threatened to veto the deal, and the veto could come as early as next Thursday, June 27.  A veto would delay, and possibly prevent altogether, the additional funding that communities so desperately need right now, and could leave school districts facing another devastating 4% reduction in stabilization funding.

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Budget committee proposes significant new funding for schools – it’s time to contact the Governor!!

Yesterday the members of the Committee of Conference on the state budget struck a deal on school funding.  If their plan is approved by the full House and Senate and signed by the Governor, $138 million in new funding will be sent to struggling school districts around the state.  This kind of increase in school funding hasn’t been seen in decades, and it’s a significant step toward addressing the inequities inherent in our current funding structure.  The plan also includes the establishment of an independent commission to study and recommend a sustainable, constitutional, long term solution to the school funding crisis.  And $40 million in municipal aid will be an additional boost to communities whose taxpayers have been stretched to their limits, in large part because of the State’s downshifting of school costs to localities. (more…)

UL: “Opposition coalesces as ‘Learn Everywhere’ goes up for a vote Thursday”

A front page story in today’s Union Leader front page tees up tomorrow’s State Board of Education vote on Learn Everywhere, Commissioner Edelblut’s personal effort to begin the process of privatizing public education in New Hampshire.  Highlights: (more…)

Union Leader editorial parodies school funding proposals to arrive at school choice as the response to the ConVal decision

Today’s Union Leader school funding editorial opens with,

The latest court decision regarding education funding in New Hampshire presents either a great opportunity or a further slide in New Hampshire’s advantage over other states

The editorial proceeds on a twisted trail trying to debunk the whole notion established in the New Hampshire Constitution that the opportunity for an adequate education is a fundamental right of every child in the state.

The great opportunity, of course, is school choice.

If that’s actually the starting point for opponents of school funding fairness, it’s hard to imagine a consensus solution.

 

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…..

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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…)