SB 191, which ties additional full-day kindergarten funding to the revenues from the newly authorized online lottery game Keno, is receiving some criticism, reported WMUR. Executive Councilor Andru Volinksy, who argued the landmark Claremont case and the Dover lawsuit, argued that the bill is unconstitutional in an interview:
“Full-day kindergarten is part of a constitutionally adequate education,” Volinsky said Friday. “And once you understand that concept, you understand that the state must pay for constitutional adequacy.”
“This is no different than the cap the state admitted was unconstitutional in the Dover case, because that cap prevented the state from paying the full cost of adequacy to Dover based on its rate of growth. … If we don’t follow and honor the constitutional principle, we will track back towards the time before Claremont when the state only residually funded education.”
“Whether it’s full-day kindergarten or biology classes or math classes, the state has to pay the full cost of adequacy. And the state can’t fund a half-payment or 80 percent, depending on what is left over from Keno.”
“The danger is that this Legislature says that 80 percent of adequacy is acceptable this year, but the next Legislature could say it’s 40 percent,” he said. “If you have the constitutional principle to guide their actions, the amount of adequacy funding for kindergarten won’t be subject to the whim of legislative leaders.”
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley responded:
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, who sponsored the “Keno-garten” amendment, called Volinsky’s complaint “a diversion” and questioned whether kindergarten was part of the Claremont ruling.
“My understanding is that if kindergarten had been mandatory for an adequate education, we would have fully funded it long ago,” Bradley said.
“This argument is an attempt to give the Democrats cover for voting against something that is very popular,” Bradley said. “They really are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. They didn’t get everything they wanted and so now they want to blow it up.”