school funding

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State officials are seeking more time to prepare for the latest court challenge to New Hampshire’s public school funding system.

The ConVal, Mascenic, Winchester, and Monadnock school districts sued the state earlier this year, arguing it has failed in its duty to provide and pay for an adequate education. A superior court judge ruled in June that the state’s education funding system is unconstitutional, but the state has appealed the ruling.

The Claremont and Unity schools have lost more than $450,000 over two years as a result of not submitting federal paperwork for school lunch reimbursements on time, according to acting Superintendent Cory LeClair.

The district will be able to make up the majority of the funds through savings in other areas of the budget, she said, but it’s still a significant loss.

Winchester School District

 

The Winchester School District is joining a school funding lawsuit against the state. Winchester, which is located in the southwest corner of New Hampshire, is the third district that's party to the lawsuit, brought earlier this month by the ConVal School Board.

The ConVal lawsuit claims the state is not meeting its constitutional obligation to pay for an adequate education and that it has downshifted these costs to local taxpayers.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

Last week, the ConVal School District sued the state, claiming that lawmakers are failing to fund an "adequate education" and that local taxpayers are shouldering more than their fair share.

This isn’t the first time New Hampshire has seen an education funding lawsuit. Districts across the state - from Claremont to Pittsfield - made similar arguments in court decades ago. And they won.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

School districts across New Hampshire are deciding on their annual budgets this month. Many are facing spending increases and tough decisions due in part to loss of funding from the state.

NHPR’s Sarah Gibson attended the annual school district meeting in Hopkinton this weekend to hear how people there are weighing big budget proposals against concerns over rising property taxes.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

Corinne Cascadden, the Superintendent of Schools in Berlin, is stepping down this June. Cascadden served for over 20 years as an elementary school principal and for 10 years as superintendent.

She was an often outspoken critic of lawmakers in Concord over the issue of state education aid, which pays for much of Berlin's school budget.

This aid is declining annually, which Cascadden blames for the district's recent decision to close Brown Elementary, its last stand-alone elementary school.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

 

Two students from Hillside Elementary School in Berlin are petitioning the state to restore funding to Berlin's schools.

In the past few years, the loss of school stabilization aid to property-poor towns has left a hole in Berlin's annual school budget of over $200,000.

Going Local: The Great North Woods

Aug 31, 2018
Dan Tuohy; NHPR

For the first part of our series, Going Local, we look at the Great North Woods

The very top of our state, with its small towns and expansive outdoor recreation options, is a region driven by local government, where school funding, access to well-paying jobs, and retention of a sustainable workforce are all big issues.

This show originally aired on July 12, 2018. 

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.

Reaching Higher NH

A new analysis of a controversial school voucher bill says it could cost the state millions of dollars over the next several years.

The bill in question would allow parents to take the state money that normally follows a child to public school, and spend it on other forms of education -- including private schools or home schooling.

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.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

With lawmakers now in the final phase of crafting the state budget for the next two years, schools around the state are watching the process uneasily. The Legislature is looking, once again, to tweak the formula it uses to send money to local districts. 

School districts with growing populations could benefit from two pieces of legislation that got preliminary approval today from the New Hampshire House. 

The House voted this morning to move forward a bill that would lift a cap on how much state aid growing school districts can receive, as well as a measure to provide more money for school construction projects. The House Education Committee recommended passage of both. 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Facing tighter budgets North Country school districts are participating in a task force exploring ways they can cooperate and save money.

There are two broad goals, said Wayne Gersen, the former superintendent of the Hanover school district, who is heading up the group.

One is to give students more educational opportunities, perhaps by having SAUs share teachers in areas such as music, art or even special-education testing.

 

The New Hampshire Senate has approved a constitutional amendment to give the state more leeway in how it distributes school aid. 

The amendment would make it easier for lawmakers to target money to poorer communities but not explicitly undue the Claremont rulings that require the state to fund an adequate education for every child. After the vote Governor Lynch described the proposal as “a significant milestone.”