Districts to receive $1.5 million in state funding as a result of financial audit

An audit found that schools were underpaid $1.5 million as part of the differentiated aid for third grade reading proficiency.

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Over 150 New Hampshire districts will receive a total of $1.5 million in additional state education funding, resulting from an audit that the Department of Education performed a financial audit last year. 

From the Eagle-Tribune:

The New Hampshire Department of Education relies on an adequacy formula to properly fund public schools, which includes taking a look at the results of standardized tests — like the Smarter Balance model and the newer New Hampshire Assessment Test. In areas where students prove to be less than proficient, a district is given money to enhance programming.

According to Anthony Schinella, Director of Communications for the state DOE, 163 Granite State school districts were shorted a total of $1.5 million when the 2016 and 2017 stipends were given.

In those years, districts should have received differentiated aid for third grade students with scores below the proficiency line on reading assessments. However, not all students received the help.

Schinella could not say how the error was made to exclude some schools. Others were reimbursed correctly in the first place, he explained.

“The mistake was found during last year’s auditing for the assessment as part of closing out the Smarter Balance testing,” he said. “We’ve moved onto a new process since then. When they were closing out Smarter Balance, they were looking at the data again and saw a cut score error, meaning some districts didn’t get the right money.”

A document detailing how much funding each district was shorted names Nashua as the highest. They can expected a check for $110,563, which according to law, can only be spent on certain areas of curriculum.

Derry is among the top towns, too, totaling $54,431. Other leading local municipalities are Londonderry, $45,910, and Salem, with $45,192.

In April, Gov. Chris Sununu signed SB 539, a bill that appropriated the funds and facilitated sending the corrected education grants to cities and towns.

NH DOE Commissioner Frank Edelblut thanked the six sponsors of the bill and said that students can now receive the extra support they need.

“I’m glad that we are able to fix this so that this $1.5 million gets to the schools where it appropriately belonged,” he said. “These funds are an important part of our adequacy funding and will make sure third graders get the support they need to become great readers.”

Download a list of the districts that will receive the funds here, courtesy of the New Hampshire Department of Education. Learn more about how the state funds education with our webinar, NH Public Education Funding A-Z.

Source: DOE sends $1.5 million to 163 towns | Eagle-Tribune