Sunday’s edition of the State House Dome in the Union Leader featured the education funding formula and the study released by the NH Center for Public Policy Studies. Here’s an excerpt:
Communities with high residential property values, lots of commercial property, or both, can spend twice as much on education as property-poor communities, which tax their property owners at much higher rates. This was the foundation of the Claremont lawsuits (one, two and three) in the first place, and it’s remarkable how little has changed.
There really has never been a time since 1997 when the Legislature wasn’t messing with the educational funding formula or trying to constrain its liability. Even before the Center for Public Policy Studies report was released, a bill had already passed both House and Senate (and is now awaiting Gov. Chris Sununu’s signature) to create yet another committee to study education funding and the cost of an adequate education.
That committee, created by HB 356, is required to report its findings and recommendations by November of this year.
A day after the release of the study, newly appointed Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut announced that his department would also launch a committee to study the same issue.
“I appreciate the good work of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy,” Edelblut said. “It should not, however, come as a surprise that we have work to do in the area of school funding.”
The Business and Industry Association weighed in with a statement of its own on Wednesday, calling yet again for a constitutional amendment to neutralize the courts on the issue, so the state can target more aid to the most needy and give less to the rest.
“Most states across the country target state education aid to districts most in need,” said BIA President Jim Roche. “It’s time New Hampshire adopted this fiscally sound, responsible approach to public school funding. To get there, we need a constitutional amendment.”