New Hampshire justices hear school-funding challenge

Conval Suit Argument

Solicitor General Daniel E. Will gives the state’s opening argument in its appeal of the ConVal decision before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. (Granite State News Collaborative photo)

Earlier this month, the American Institutes for Research presented the Commission to Study School Funding with a model to fulfill the state’s duty to fund public education that pegged the cost of adequate education in 237 school districts between $12,000 and $28,000, based on the character of their enrollments.

On Thursday, the New Hampshire Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a suit brought by four school districts and upheld by the Cheshire County Superior Court. The suit charges that the state has failed to meet its obligation to fund an adequate education. The state contribution consists of a base amount of $3,706 and, with additional differential aid, averages about $4,500 per pupil, or less than a third of the actual average cost

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School Funding Debate Back in New Hampshire Supreme Court

The New Hampshire Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in the latest case over whether the state is meeting its constitutional obligation to pay for an adequate education.

A group of school districts, including the Contoocook Valley (ConVal) School District, sued the state in March 2019, alleging that the state’s funding formula for sending money to districts is flawed and forces local taxpayers to foot too much of the bill for school budgets.  

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The state’s funding formula has been challenged in the courts and adjusted in the legislature for decades. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court made a series of decisions in the landmark Claremont cases, saying New Hampshire needed to fund an adequate education with fair and equitable taxation.

On Thursday, Michael Tierney said lawmakers have not taken

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School funding debate back before New Hampshire Supreme Court – News – seacoastonline.com

CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire’s decades-long debate over school funding again landed in front of the state Supreme Court on Thursday, when justices began reviewing a trial court ruling that left both sides unsatisfied.

In several landmark rulings in the 1990s, the court ruled that the state is required to provide and pay for an adequate education. In response, the Legislature began sending each school district a set amount of aid per pupil — currently $3,636 — but four districts in southwestern New Hampshire sued the state and the education commissioner last year, arguing the formula used to set that amount is unconstitutional because it doesn’t account for the real costs of transportation, teachers, or facilities.

A trial judge agreed but declined to order the amount be nearly tripled as the plaintiffs requested, prompting both sides to appeal to the high court.

“What we ask of the court is that

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New Hampshire Supreme Court hears school funding case

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s decadeslong debate over school funding again landed in front of the state Supreme Court on Thursday, when justices began reviewing a trial court ruling that left both sides unsatisfied.

In several landmark rulings in the 1990s, the court ruled that the state is required to provide and pay for an adequate education. In response, the Legislature began sending each school district a set amount of aid per pupil — currently $3,636 — but four districts in southwestern New Hampshire sued the state and the education commissioner last year, arguing the formula used to set that amount is unconstitutional because it doesn’t account for the real costs of transportation, teachers, or facilities.

A trial judge agreed but declined to order the amount be nearly tripled as the plaintiffs requested, prompting both sides to appeal to the high court.

“What we ask of the court is

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New Hampshire commission grapples over school-funding answer

Bill Ardinger 2020

‘It is now the time to face this issue head on,’ says attorney Bill Ardinger, a member of the Commission to Study School Funding, of the ‘first and last dollar’ question.

Twenty-seven years have passed since the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that the state Constitution “imposes a duty on the state to provide a constitutionally adequate education to every educable child in the public schools in New Hampshire and to guarantee adequate funding.”

This week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the latest round of school funding litigation brought by the ConVal, Winchester, Masonic and Monadnock Regional school districts, which charge that the state has yet to fulfill its duty to fund the cost of an adequate education.

Meanwhile, the Commission to Study School Funding, which was formed to calculate the cost of an adequate education, propose a means to pay for it and devise a formula

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New Hampshire school officials fault FEMA reversal on Covid reimbursement

Fema Pic1200

Colleen Ortakales in front of her 2nd-grade classroom at Riddle Brook Elementary School in Bedford.

Late last week, New Hampshire school districts learned that federal money they were previously thought they could rely on would no longer be available to cover costs associated with their response to Covid-19.

On Sept. 11, the state was informed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that they will not be covering reimbursements for face masks and other supplies to be used by teachers, staff and students. Additional supplies not covered include any extra desks or chairs, cleaning supplies and the purchase and installments of physical barriers, such as Plexiglas.

Many school districts in the state had intentions of seeking reimbursement from FEMA for these additional costs, including the Salem School District, which was seeking to have a large amount of money reimbursed.

Salem’s Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations Deborah Payne said that the district

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Report: N.H.’s school funding system fails students and taxpayers | New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. — The state’s current system is inequitable for both students and taxpayers, according to a recent report by the New Hampshire Commission to Study School Funding.

The report by the American Institutes for Research found what many proponents of changing the current system have maintained: the education students receive in New Hampshire depends on where they live and that poorer communities pay higher tax rates for less educational resources resulting in lower student outcomes.

“New Hampshire’s current system of funding is not working for large segments of New Hampshire’s students and taxpayers. Specifically, communities with higher poverty rates and lower property wealth are doubly penalized under New Hampshire’s current system,” the report concludes. “Students in these communities, on average, receive fewer resources in the form of funding than students in wealthier communities.”

Commission chair Rep. David Luneau, D-Hopkinton, said the findings “point out problems with the current system

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