Report finds disparity in state education funding persists 20 years after Claremont decision

From the Keene Sentinel

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Disparities in education are getting worse, according to a study done by the NH Center for Public Policy Studies. Here’s an excerpt from the Keene Sentinel, which did a piece on the report:

The Supreme Court’s landmark Claremont II ruling in 1997 was supposed to close the gap, the report said, and even out cost and educational opportunities. But the analysis done by the N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies finds the disparities are still there — and getting worse.

“One goal of the Claremont lawsuit was to provide a more equal education for students regardless of what community they live in or what school district they are served by,” the report said.

Claremont II was the second appeal to the Supreme Court of the lawsuit Claremont School District, et al vs. Governor, et al. The high court ruled on the first appeal, dubbed Claremont I, in 1993 that the state has an obligation to provide every student with a “constitutionally adequate public education and to guarantee adequate funding.” It then remanded the lawsuit back to trial court for a trial on the case’s merits.

While there have been other lawsuits and legislative changes to the state’s education formula since the case’s conclusion, they haven’t solved the problem, according to the report.

There still continues to be a wide variation between school districts when it comes to spending per elementary school student, the N.H. Center for Public Policy report found…

The gap between the extremes in per-pupil spending hasn’t narrowed since then; it’s widened. In the 2015-16 school year, Waterville Valley again spent the most per student, at $31,269, while Franlkin spent the least at $10,239, a difference of $21,030.

“Who loses if the state continues with the current system?” the report asked. “Rural, property-poor communities, in both demographic and economic transitions, are those that will experience the most significant reductions.”

“Assuming nothing else changes, this means that these communities will have to increase their tax rates by as much as 10 percent — even before allowing for cost increases in other areas,” the report said.

Source: Report finds disparity in state education funding persists 20 years after Claremont decision | Keene Sentinel