Editorial: The same old education funding story

From the Concord Monitor

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The Concord Monitor published an editorial in their Sunday edition about the state’s education funding formula. Here’s an excerpt:

Start with the determination, in a state where average per pupil spending tops $16,000 per year, that a court-ordered “adequate” education was $3,636 before lawmakers opted to increase by a generous $30 per year. Add the statewide property tax, which accounts for about half the state’s contribution to public education. It’s just a local property tax under a different name – state money by decree. Nor can the education funding morass – not enough space here to talk about the vanishing state “stabilization” grants for education – be separated from the Legislature’s steady downshifting of expenses to local taxpayers.

The state’s decision to stop contributing 35 percent of public employee retirement costs added $880,000 to Merrimack Valley’s school district budget last year. The decision added $1 million to Concord’s budget, part of what one lawmaker called “the single biggest increase in property taxes ever levied.”

The situation has school districts talking about a return to court in hopes of a decision that might, and we emphasize “might,” force the Legislature to meet its education funding responsibilities.

If that doesn’t happen, then what? The center’s report talked about consolidating rural school districts and “new models of learning,” by which we assume they mean remote learning via video-conferencing, Skype and the like. Then again, as Bird posed as an out-of-the-box idea, people in hardscrabble, rural parts of the state may pick up and move where jobs are plentiful, property taxes are low and schools aren’t struggling, which is what a lot of New Hampshire residents did, let’s see, about 150 years ago.

Source: Editorial: The same old education funding story | Concord Monitor