The Commission to Study School Funding, a 16-member commission that is reexamining the way New Hampshire funds its public schools, will meet remotely via Zoom on Monday, April 27 at 2 pm. The group will reconvene to talk about the progress of their work to date and how to best move forward, since most legislative activity has paused until early May due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some legislative committees and groups, like the Commission, are beginning to meet virtually.
The information for the call is posted on the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy’s website.
The Commission formally launched in January 2020, and has been working with the Carsey School to facilitate the research, community engagement, and project management.
The group had planned on spending the first several months reviewing research, working with state departments, nonprofits, and associations, and contracting with research organizations to build their knowledge. Before the General Court had closed due to the state’s stay-at-home order, the group had kicked off their research with presentations from the NH Department of Education, the state’s Office of the Attorney General, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the New Hampshire School Funding Fairness Project, and the Education Commission of the States. Presentations on behavioral health, early childhood education, Career and Technical Education, and other topics were scheduled for late March, and the group will talk about how to get that information to members while moving forward with other parts of the work plan.
School funding has been a debate in New Hampshire for decades. With a unique revenue structure that depends heavily on local property taxes, the state has reworked the funding model several times over the past 30 years and is a perennial issue among lawmakers. Additionally, a lawsuit brought forth by four school districts in 2019 is headed to the state’s highest court.
In late 2018, the board and staff of Reaching Higher NH determined that our leading organizational policy priority will be to inform and support public engagement on the issue of school funding. We believe that re-exploring how NH funds its public schools is among the most important public policy opportunities of our time. To that end and for the foreseeable future, a lot of our policy work will be focused on providing you all, the NH public, with the timely research and resources you need to understand and make informed decisions about school funding policies in NH. This work will include in-depth original research, like our Whole Picture of Public Education project, as well community engagement initiatives, and public awareness and information efforts.
Join our network of New Hampshire parents, educators, business leaders, and community members who are interested in school funding.