Education Funding

James Sarmiento / Flickr

More than 120 people attended a forum on education funding in Newport on Tuesday night.

This is the second forum on education funding this year that Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky and attorney John Tobin have put on. Both were lawyers in the original cases that sued the state for adequate funding.

During their presentation, which drew attendees from nearly two dozen towns, they broke down differences in property taxes across the state and the percentages towns pay for education versus the state.

After a vote to break the tax cap, and then a reversal of that decision, the Franklin City Council Wednesday night finalized a school budget for the next year. But it still falls short of what the school board requested.

James Sarmiento / Flickr

Educators will meet at Plymouth State University this week to take part in a summit on rural schools.

The Rural Educational Leaders Network brings teachers and administrators together to collaborate on issues they face, such as funding, varied class offerings, and population decline.

David Backler is the superintendent of SAU 20 in Gorham. He says this summit is also a chance to bring ideas and practices back to his schools.

"You want to be able to position yourself in a way you can showcase all the things you can provide."

Franklin's nearly 30-year old tax cap won't be in place next year. The city council overrode the mayor’s veto to break the tax cap with a 6 to 3 vote Thursday night.

After years of budget shortfalls and layoffs, Franklin’s school district has some breathing room, at least for one year. That's how long this proposed tax cap break would last.

The school district would get $708,623, and could rehire most of the 14 staff members laid off this year.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: June 15, 2018

Jun 15, 2018

The state parole board wrestles with public access to hearings.  A V.A. task force issues recommendations for improving N.H. veterans' health care.  And several property-poor districts consider suing the state over its education-funding mechanism.     

Daniela Allee / NHPR

It was standing room only in the lecture hall in Pittsfield Middle School. More than 100 people from Berlin, Franklin, Keene and elsewhere listened as Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky described the history of how the state has funded public education. The main topic was tension over how much money the state sends to local districts.

When he got to the list of lawsuits against the state on the issue, that's when hands started popping up.  

Todd Bookman / NHPR

School leaders and community members will meet in Pittsfield tonight to learn more about how the state funds education. NHPR’s Daniela Allee has more on why this conversation is happening.


NHPR File

A federal audit of how New Hampshire manages federal education funds has found six areas of significant concern.

The U.S. Department of Education completed a fiscal review of how the state education department administers federal grants last fall, reviewing 19 areas. In its recently issued report, auditors rated the state satisfactory on eight measures and said it is meeting requirements, but should make improvements, in five other areas.

AP/Mark Duncan

Voters in a New Hampshire city will be able to determine whether the gambling game Keno should be played in restaurants and bars.

NHPR

In the nearly 20 years since  state the Supreme Court issued its landmark Claremont II decision calling for equal access to an adequate education, significant disparities among communities persist, according to a recent report by the N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies.

Claremont School District v Governor of New Hampshire led to the allocation of additional state money for communities in need, yet these districts still lack sufficient funds from local resources such as property taxes. 

Paying for Public Schools

Jul 12, 2017
NHPR

Almost twenty years after a court ruling that was supposed to radically alter education funding, a new report says not much has changed. And, it says, poor and rural towns could be in for a bigger hit in terms of state dollars in the near future. We'll find out more, including what the report calls a "new education normal."

  

Last week, lawmakers in Concord signed off on a plan to provide state support for full-day kindergarten in New Hampshire. The new law will use revenue from the electronic gambling game keno to give school districts more money for full-day kindergarten.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon recently sat down with NHPR host Sally Hirsch-Dickinson to talk about what this mean for schools and town across New Hampshire. Listen to their conversation here.

On Thursday, a proposal to spend state money on full-day kindergarten heads to a final vote.

The bill, which pays for additional state spending on kindergarten by taxing keno, is making for tough decisions on both sides of the aisle.

New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies

A new report shows disparities in school funding in New Hampshire persist, two decades after a landmark lawsuit targeted the state’s education funding system.

woodleywonderworks via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5p1N5a

A New Hampshire House subcommittee voted Wednesday to eliminate $18 million dollars in kindergarten funding from Gov. Chris Sununu’s state budget proposal. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

  Twenty-four towns may be receiving additional state education money under a bill before the House.

Lawmakers are voting Thursday on legislation that would provide $9 million in back payments to the districts, who allege they were underpaid by the state in recent budgets. The city of Dover sued the state in 2015 over a law that capped how much fast-growing school districts could receive in state aid.

A state court ruled the cap unconstitutional last year. The bill offers back payments to any towns affected by it.

School Choice in the Granite State

Jan 31, 2017
NHPR

At the local and national level, the movement to give families more options outside of their local district gains traction. In New Hampshire, several proposed bills would provide more funds and greater access to charter schools and other forms of education. But some worry these efforts will harm public school districts and rural counties.  


DOVER SCHOOL DISTRICT

New Hampshire lawmakers heard several bills Tuesday aimed at retooling how the state pays for public education. 

James F Clay/FLICKR

A coalition of New Hampshire towns and cities is hoping to reverse a decision to end the state’s stabilization education grant program.

The grants were put in place four years ago as a way to offset the impact of changes made at the time to the state’s education adequacy formula.

The state distributes roughly $150 million in stabilization grants each year to districts that are generally lower income and have seen declining student enrollment.

patch.com

The town of Bedford is one of about 40 communities across New Hampshire waiting to hear how the state will respond to the recent education funding lawsuit decision.

A Sullivan County Superior Court judge ruled earlier this month the state’s cap on adequacy grants to fast-growing school districts was unconstitutional.

The city of Dover filed the suit, and was awarded one point five million dollars as reimbursement for the last fiscal year. The ruling also entitled other affected districts to back pay for last year.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Senate president Chuck Morse is calling for the state to enter into a settlement with Dover after a judge ruled a spending cap placed on the districts’ schools was unconstitutional.

Last week a judge ruled a legislative spending cap that had kept money from fast growing schools districts like Dover, was unconstitutional.

Now, Senate President Chuck Morse, who had intervened to defend the cap in the lawsuit, says the state Attorney General should settle the case for the amount the cap cost Dover in fiscal year 2016. Dover says that’s about $1.5 million.

Dover School District

A judge has ruled that a cap on the amount of money the state sends to local school districts is unconstitutional.

Each year, the state sends money to local school districts to satisfy a constitutional mandate to provide an adequate education. The amount it sends is calculated by a formula determined by the legislature.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

When David Griffin started teaching middle school in Berlin more than three decades ago, he thought he knew what to expect. He never imagined that stocking a food pantry might be part of the job.

Sure, Griffin says, he always anticipated a few needy kids in each class. But in the past few years, especially, the number of students who need help — and the complexity of their needs — seems greater than ever.

Dover School District

On Friday, all three branches of New Hampshire’s government will meet in a courtroom, in the latest dispute over how the state pays for public schools.

The showdown is prompted by a lawsuit brought by the city of Dover. It challenges a spending cap the Legislature has placed on how much money public schools can get from the state each year.

Scroll down for a chart and map tallying the impact of this policy over the past few years.

NHPR’s Jason Moon recently talked with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to discuss the case and its place in a long history of education funding battles.

rickpilot_2000 / flickr cc

The Attorney General’s office has refused to defend the law that caps state aid to schools in a case brought by the city of Dover.  It’s the latest in a long string of battles over education funding in the state.

 

Facing a school funding lawsuit from the city of Dover, the attorney general's office is not defending the law that caps how much state money growing school districts can receive each year.

The decision puts the executive branch at odds with Republican legislative leaders, and House Speaker Shawn Jasper and Senate President Chuck Morse are intervening in the case.

Paul Townsend via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/vyKPHC

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Dover School District

The city of Dover is suing the state, claiming it’s failing to meets its responsibility to fund an adequate education.

In the suit filed in Strafford County Superior Court, attorney Andru Volinsky says the city is seeking to overturn a cap enacted in 2011 that limits state aid to schools.

Two proposed changes to the the state's education funding formula have been passed by the two chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature. Both seek to increase or lift altogether the state's cap on growth in per-pupil spending. And both would pay for such it by reducing so-called "stabilization grants," created in 2011 to keep certain school districts from losing huge amounts of funding after the last round of changes to the base aid formula.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR; Data: SAUs 28, 30 & 62; Legislative Budget Assistant

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