To fully understand school funding in New Hampshire, it helps to travel back in time to a pair of lawsuits bearing the name of a little city that became the face of funding inequities and set in motion the ongoing battle over how the state pays for schools. “Claremont, Part One” sets the stage for the lawsuits and describes how Claremont and four other districts took on the state of New Hampshire in a high-stakes legal battle in the mid-1990s.
Early in the 2007 New Hampshire Democratic primary, America was first introduced to their next President of the United States.
Matt Santos: Anything in particular I should say?
Josh Lyman: Just tell them who you are, what you do.
Matt Santos: Good Morning! Hi I’m Matt Santos, I’m running for president.
This of course is not an actual presidential candidate. This is the fictional Congressman Matt Santos, the eventual successor of President Josiah Bartlett on The West Wing. In this season 6 episode, Santos is beginning his presidential campaign in New Hampshire, where he wants to release his plan for sweeping national education reform.
Matt Santos: America is 49th in the world in literacy — that’s down 18 spots in the last 50 years. Why? Well for starters, the 180-day school year, that’s based on the agrarian calendar.
Santos wants to pitch the people of New Hampshire a bold vision for 21st-Century American education. He proposes extending the school year past 180 days, ending teacher tenure, and even nationalizing education. But, his veteran campaign manager, Josh Lyman, insists that education reform just doesn’t play with Granite Staters.
Matt Santos: Unfurrow your brow Josh I’ve run for office six times.
Josh Lyman: In Texas. New Hampshire has an education funding crisis, they have no income tax, they can’t afford to pay for 60 more days of school.
Matt Santos: Which is why we need to nationalize the system.
This argument becomes the central tension of the episode: Santos is dead set on portraying himself as the “education president,” while Josh reiterates that in New Hampshire, education is too controversial of an issue to run on. Here’s Santos talking with a group of voters.
Matt Santos: Look I’m not saying it’s gonna come without a cost. Education is at the heart of everything we care about: competitiveness, opportunity, equality. Shouldn’t we figure out what we need first and then get into the details?
New Hampshire Voter: So you’re saying, no tax increase?
It is true that Matt Santos is a fictional congressman running for president in a fictional version of New Hampshire. But if you ask New Hampshire voters today about education politics, this fictional portrayal of the tax-averse, live-free-or-die state seems a little more true-to-life.
New Hampshire voter: You do not need to increase my taxes in any way shape or form. You should decrease them.
For people who live in New Hampshire, it seems natural that school funding is a central, often-controversial political issue. But we very rarely step back and ask the question: why? Why is paying for kids’ education such a hot button issue from town hall meetings to the Governor’s office? Why do so many school districts across the state have to battle every year just to pass operating budgets? And why do school districts keep suing the state of New Hampshire?
I’m Henry Lavoie, and from Reaching Higher New Hampshire, this is Claremont.
In this two-part series, we’re exploring how exactly education became the third rail of New Hampshire politics. First, we’ll look back at the lawsuits which thrust school funding into New Hampshire’s political mainstream. Stay with us.
If you live in the United States, it probably seems normal that it’s up to state and local governments to decide how much to spend on schools. But for something as important as educating America’s children, there should be some federal law, or better yet some part of the US Constitution that regulates this whole process, right?
Natalie Laflamme: People sometimes really forget that there’s two different constitutions: there’s the federal Constitution and there’s the state constitution, and they’re not exactly the same…
That’s Natalie Laflamme, an attorney based in Concord. She explained to me that because of federal mandates that students with disabilities or other protected statuses be able to receive an education, federal law does grant every child in America the right to a free public education. It does not, however, spell out the finer details of, say, how we should pay for public schools.
Natalie Laflamme: So federally, yes every child has the right to a public education, but it doesn’t have, at least not yet, the thing that New Hampshire and other states have found, which is that the state has to pay for it.
Today, there is no nation-wide mandate on exactly how much states must spend on their public school systems, or how they should raise the money to do so. The feds’ lack of involvement in school funding can largely be traced back to a US Supreme Court case from over forty years ago.
Chief Justice Warren Burger: We’ll hear arguments next in number 71-1332, San Antonio School District against Rodriguez.
In 1968, a group of parents in San Antonio, Texas filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas school funding system. These parents came from the predominantly Mexican-American Edgewood School District, a low-income area of Bexar County. At the time, the Texas state government spent relatively few state dollars on public schools. This meant it was almost entirely up to the local taxpayers, in this relatively poor town, to pay for the majority of their school system with local property taxes. The result: Edgewood School District had one of the highest property tax rates in the county. Yet, it raised less than a tenth of per-student funding compared to more affluent, neighboring school districts, like Alamo Heights.
This case ran its way through the legal system until, eventually, it landed before the Supreme Court in 1972. The lawyer representing the parents of Edgewood School District argued that this inequity in school funding was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
Arthur Gochman: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court. The Court below held the Texas system unconstitutional because it distributes educational benefits on the basis of district wealth. The Court said, as might be expected, those districts — most rich in property — also have the highest median family income and the lowest percentage of minority pupils, while the poor districts are poor in income and predominantly minority in composition…
In this case, the court had to answer a very specific question: Does the Equal Protection Clause ensure equal school funding for all students regardless of where they live?
If the Supreme Court sided with San Antonio’s group of parents, agreeing that unequal school funding is unconstitutional, they would have completely upended the American public school system. States around the country would have to completely rework their school funding models, to ensure that schools in wealthy districts received proportional funding to schools in poor districts. This basically would have established a nationwide standard for public school funding. However, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld Texas’s existing school funding system, arguing that the Equal Protection Clause does not require absolute equality when it comes to wealth and education.
Chief Justice Warren Burger: Thank you Mr. Wright. Thank you Mr. Gochman. The case is submitted.
With the conclusion of San Antonio School District v. Rodriguez in 1973, the national effort for school funding equity was dead in the water. So a new local chapter began in this legal saga. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Thurgood Marshall suggested that other legal avenues still might exist at the state level.
Natalie Laflamme: It set up the window of like, “hey wink-wink states, you might be able to find something in your Constitution…”
So in the years following the Rodriguez decision, lawsuits were brought in states all over the country, with the goal of creating more equitable school funding. New Hampshire was no exception.
Leslie Ludtke: one of the first cases I worked on in the civil division was called Jesseman vs. New Hampshire. Jesseman was a school funding case brought to challenge the New Hampshire school funding formula.
That’s Leslie Ludtke, a former state associate attorney general. The case she’s talking about, Jesseman v. New Hampshire, was brought in the mid-80s by five property-poor New Hampshire school districts. Like Texas, the New Hampshire school funding system was heavily reliant on local property taxes. At the time the state provided less than 10% of funding for schools, leaving towns to pick up the other 90-plus% themselves using local property taxes. The result was the same inequity from town to town that was seen in Texas school districts.
Natalie Laflamme: when you only use property tax, different towns are just in a different place. Like most schools aren’t frivolously spending money, it’s that there’s just not a lot of property value in the town to draw from.
Relying so heavily on local property taxes created a system where a town’s ability to fund its schools was largely determined by geography. A select few New Hampshire communities with ski areas, large shopping centers, or lakefront properties had enormous property wealth, allowing them to keep tax rates low and provide their schools plenty of funding. However districts without this level of property wealth were often forced to make serious tradeoffs between high taxes and adequate school funding.
By the 1980s a growing number of school districts were becoming increasingly frustrated with this system. So a few property-poor districts got together and filed a lawsuit against the state of New Hampshire. Ludtke represented the state in this case.
Leslie Ludtke: There were five districts selected and those five districts were deemed property poor districts with excessive reliance on the property tax… and the case went up to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The state Supreme Court ultimately decided not to pursue the Jesseman case, because over in the state legislature, they were developing their own solution to New Hampshire’s school funding problem.
Leslie Ludtke: and it wasn’t pursued at that point, it was essentially legislatively resolved by the adoption of the Augenblick formula for the distribution of foundation aid.
The Augenblick formula, named for the school funding expert who designed it, was a new system for distributing state funds to New Hampshire school districts. The formula was designed to cover between 8 and 12% of the cost of schools with state funds, targeting more dollars in districts with the least property wealth.
The implementation of the Augenblick formula was essentially a deal between the state Supreme Court and the legislature: in exchange for the Court avoiding a major school funding decision in the Jesseman case, the legislature would provide more state dollars to property-poor districts. In the short term, that’s exactly what happened. The Supreme Court dropped the Jesseman case and the Augenblick formula easily passed the state house. But in just a few years, it became clear that this deal did not resolve many of the underlying issues within the New Hampshire school funding system.
Tom Connair: My name is Tom Connair. I’m an attorney in Claremont, New Hampshire and have been practicing law since 1979. So, I’m an old guy.
Ever since Tom Connair has lived in Claremont, school funding has always been an issue. The town of roughly 13,000 lies directly on the Connecticut River that defines the New Hampshire-Vermont border. In the 50s and 60s, Claremont was one of New Hampshire’s thriving mill towns with a busy downtown shopping center. During the 70s and 80s, however, the mills began to close and many local businesses followed suit. In just a few decades, the primary property tax base which provided funding to the Claremont schools had all but vanished.
Tom Connair: We don’t have a large ski area, we’re not by a lake, no nuclear power plant, so we’re property tax poor in that sense, and it’s hard to compete with other communities that have a broader tax base than we do…
This was the story of many New Hampshire towns in the 70s and 80s: declining local industry meant that the high cost of public schools was increasingly shifted to residents. Some property-poor towns saw tax rates up to 400% higher than those in property-rich towns. Many of these disparities continued even after the Augenblick formula was implemented in the mid-80s.
By 1989, Claremont’s local property tax rate was just over $12 per 1000, among the thirty highest in the state. However, year after year, they struggled to find the money to make even the most basic facility repairs to their schools.
Tom Connair: One I can remember very clearly is that the ceiling in the auditorium area — the whole thing didn’t fall down, but it was in the process of falling down and in need of immediate repairs… At one point our high school lost its accreditation, not because of poor educational practices, but because of the ongoing needs to invest in building improvements and maintenance, which we kept deferring to a later date.
Despite the reforms of the Augenblick formula, Claremont’s schools remained underfunded, and their already high property tax rate continued to rise. As teachers, parents, and taxpayers became increasingly fed up with this situation, Connair realized that something drastic needed to be done.
Tom Connair: That growing realization caused me to brainstorm, hey, can we do this better? If so, how can we do it better? And if so, how as an attorney with a legal background, can I maybe assist in that endeavor.
So in 1987 Connair ran for Claremont School Board — he won by just 6 votes. With his background in law, he did some research, and eventually convinced the rest of the board that they should garner support for a class action lawsuit challenging the New Hampshire school funding system.
Tom Connair: At that point we passed a resolution which we later submitted to the NH School Board Association at their annual delegate convention… that they take the position that it’s unconstitutional to fund education as the state is doing… So I independently as a delegate introduced it, and to everyone’s surprise, the delegation of school boards throughout the state said, yeah we agree.
And with that, there was enough momentum to start assembling another serious legal effort against the state.
Over the course of a few years, Claremont School Board found four other property-poor districts who were willing to join the lawsuit, including Allenstown, Franklin, Lisbon Regional, and Pittsfield. They also assembled a team of big-name attorneys to represent them, namely Arpiar Saunders, John Garvey, and Andru Volinsky. And, of course, they had to do some wholesome fundraising to keep the bills paid.
Tom Connair: to raise at least some money, we had a big bake sale in Concord… I was interviewed, and we had asked the then governor to bake some brownies for us and it made national news much to his dismay.
And finally, after years of careful planning, what would eventually become known as the Claremont case was filed in June of 1991.
After the break, the legal showdown between Claremont School District and the State of New Hampshire.
When the Claremont education lawsuit finally began in the early 1990s, the lawyers representing Claremont presented a clear narrative: back in the 80s, when the Supreme Court dropped the Jesseman case, the legislature promised instead to solve the school funding issue by creating the Augenblick formula. However, the Claremont team argued that the formula was not fully funded by the state, meaning that towns like Claremont did not receive the state funding they were promised.
John Tobin: So that case was settled with the idea that this formula would be put into place so more money could come in, but the legislature never fully funded the formula… I think the message was the state government wasn’t taking this seriously and getting away with it.
That’s John Tobin, one of the lawyers who represented Claremont and the other four property poor districts.
John Tobin: When Tom Connair started organizing the Claremont Case, I wasn’t involved in the real beginning, he talked to Arpiar Saunders who was a professor at the law school, then they brought in Andy and some other people, and I came in a little later.
Claremont’s argument that the state had failed to deliver on its promise to fix school funding through the Augenblick formula was a popular narrative in the press and political discourse. However, Leslie Ludtke, the associate AG representing the state, was not convinced by this story.
Leslie Ludtke: It was a great political, public claim, the state exercised bad faith by settling Jesseman and they came up with this formula and they didn’t fully fund it blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… no one really wanted to look at the facts. You know “we’re not getting 8%” well actually you’re getting more than 8%.
The state argued that the current system of school funding was basically working as intended. Most school districts could sufficiently fund their facilities with reasonable property tax rates and those that couldn’t received state funds through the Augenblick formula.
As it turns out, however, these arguments would not totally be relevant during the initial phase of the Claremont cases. In 1992, after both sides presented evidence before Judge George Manias of the New Hampshire Superior Court, he decided to dismiss the case. What a motion to dismiss meant, is that regardless of whether or not Claremont’s claims about the state failing to fund schools were true, it didn’t matter, because Judge Manias believed there was no legal basis to make these claims in the first place.
Leslie Ludtke: So you look at the counts and the pleadings and in a motion to dismiss you say “alright if everything they say is true, it doesn’t constitute a legal claim”
The basic challenge for Claremont’s lawyers was now to convince the courts that somewhere in New Hampshire’s laws or constitution, there was a clear legal principle which justified their case against the state’s school funding system. If they couldn’t do so, the court could fully dismiss their case, and perhaps more critically, set a legal precedent that would hinder future school-funding cases.
With these stakes in mind, the Claremont team appealed their case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Here again is Tom Connair:
Tom Connair: So the language itself that I relied on initially, and which ultimately the courts have relied on, was written by John Adams… “Knowledge and learning, being essential to the preservation of a free government, it shall be the duty of the legislature, in all future periods of government, to cherish the interests of public schools.”
John Adams wrote this passage into the Massachusetts constitution in 1780, during the middle of the Revolutionary War. Adams and several other founding fathers recognized that a well-educated, literate population would be essential for the success of the democratic experiment.
Tom Connair: He knew that education was at that point in time was essential to the preservation of that government which they were fighting life and limb for.
So when New Hampshire drafted its own constitution, it adopted similar language, in what’s now called the Encouragement of Literature Clause.
The Encouragement of Literature Clause is found in Part II, Article 83 of the New Hampshire Constitution. It in part reads: “it shall be the duty of the legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools.”
The interpretation of these words would become the foundation of the Claremont team’s argument. They claimed that this then-obscure clause in the state constitution imposed a serious duty on New Hampshire’s government. Here again is attorney Natalie Laflamme:
Natalie Laflame: they based this on one particular part of the New Hampshire constitution where it basically just lays out, hey the state needs to “cherish” education, that’s the fun word — cherish — that they used in the 1700s… So whenever you have a constitutional provision or statute, the idea is that you go back and look at what the original intent was when it was written… and so… Claremont I is kind of interesting, they give a little a bit of history, like they look at old dictionaries, like “what is the definition of cherish” — and after all that they came out with: “no it means you need to support education which includes funding.”
The Claremont team asserted that when the authors of the state constitution wrote that the legislators shall cherish the interest of public schools, it wasn’t just an aspirational statement; rather, they thought that based on the 18th-century definition of the word “cherish,” this clause commanded the state to provide an education to all of its citizens, which in the 20th century, meant funding public schools.
Under this interpretation of the Encouragement of Literature Clause, Claremont would have a clear legal basis for their argument. In 1993, the New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed with Claremont’s argument in a unanimous opinion.
In what’s now called the Claremont I decision, the Court held that the New Hampshire state government has a constitutional duty to provide and guarantee funding for an adequate education for every child in the state. The finer details, like what exactly adequate means, how much an adequate education costs, or where to find the money to pay for it, were explicitly left for the legislature to hammer out. In this way the court didn’t want to step too deep into clearly political waters.
Natalie Laflamme: you know there’s the whole separation of powers and the court has again and again differed to the legislature to say “hey it’s the legislature’s role to define an education and determine its cost, that’s not the court’s role,”
Although Claremont I established a mandate for the state to guarantee funding for universal adequate education, it did not address the key issue of widely varying property tax rates throughout the state. Plus, the state continued to argue that the current education funding system was constitutional, even under Claremont I. So, to resolve these outstanding issues, the Claremont team thought a second lawsuit was in order. Here again is John Tobin.
John Tobin: Initially the trial judge had said “there’s no legal validity to this claim, the state doesn’t have an obligation. We’re gonna dismiss the case without even having a trial, because you’ve raised a legal claim that has no basis… So then when the court said “oh yes there is a legal obligation,” they said now you have to go back to court and figure out what that obligation is and address the tax argument.
Natalie Laflamme: And so that’s where Claremont II comes in.
After another long, three-year period of both sides formulating their arguments, preparing witnesses, and hiring experts, a new trial began in May of 1996. The question of whether the state has to fund education had already been settled in Claremont I. So now, the central question of Claremont II, was how exactly the state was going to raise the money to do so.
Natalie Laflamme: You exactly nailed it, it’s like Claremont I is such a feel-good opinion, like “oh yeah, we’re educating everyone, every child’s important.” Then Claremont II is like “wait a second… I have to help pay for this? This might affect my taxes? Woah, woah, woah, let’s back up.”
Again, the Claremont team and the state argued before Superior Court Judge George Manias. At the trial several parallel arguments were presented by each side. These included how an adequate education should be defined, whether education merits fundamental right status, and the constitutionality of the current tax system. There isn’t time in this episode to fully examine each of these counts, so instead, we’ll focus on the most important one: the tax issue.
Both sides at the trial agreed that the local property taxes used to fund education had wildly differing rates throughout the state, with the highest rates disproportionately in the most property-poor towns. The Claremont team doubled down on this point with heaps of largely anecdotal evidence.
Tom Connair: I remember actually during the lawsuit when the judge toured some of the buildings, that what we had the teachers do, which the state objected to, was to put little orange sticky tabs on everything that the teachers had purchased out of their own pocket, from books to paper and things like that.
However, just because large disparities existed, did not necessarily mean that the tax system was unconstitutional. The state pointed out that even in property-poor districts like Claremont, their schools were still able to meet state education standards using mostly local property taxes. Therefore, the state claimed it had met its requirement to fund a universal adequate education, by delegating their funding responsibility to the towns, similar to other government expenditures like local police or roads. Again, the attorney representing the state, Leslie Ludtke.
Leslie Ludtke: We said the kids in these districts are receiving an adequate education. The state regulations that govern education are very comprehensive — they’re more comprehensive than those of most other states — and all the districts are meeting those regulations, the districts have sufficient financial resources available to fund these, etc. So we have met our obligation with respect to adequacy of education.
The Claremont team obviously disagreed with this stance, indicating that unlike a local police department, the obligation to guarantee funding for education was specifically given to the state in Claremont I. So from their perspective, this argument about delegating responsibility doesn’t hold for school funding.
John Tobin: We made a distinction there… that the school tax is a special case. I said we’re not challenging the local nature of the property tax that pays for police or road repairs. We’re only challenging that part that pays for education because education is a state duty.
After six weeks of arguments at the trial court, Judge Manias released a highly detailed 190-page decision. For basically every count, including the tax question, he sided with the state. While he agreed that large disparities in tax rates existed, he found no basis that this on its own was unconstitutional.
So, once again, the Claremont team appealed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
To prove to the justices that the local property tax used to fund schools was unconstitutional, the Claremont team returned to the strategy of reinterpreting the state constitution. This time, they homed in on one particular clause in Part II, Article 5, which says that:
John Tobin: taxes are supposed to be proportional and reasonable.
Figuring out what exactly proportional and reasonable means became the central question in Claremont II. Traditionally, the definition of a proportional and reasonable tax is one that has the same rate for everyone within a taxing district.
John Tobin: What the court has interpreted that to mean is within a school district, a tax on a certain kind of property, the rate has to be uniform, the same. You can’t tax the same kind of property at different rates.
But the important distinction is that the proportional and reasonable standard only applies to taxes within a certain tax district. Since the property taxes used to pay for schools are raised and distributed within the towns, legal precedent suggested that property tax rates only have to be uniform within towns, not between towns. This was the argument made by the state: the property tax is a local tax and therefore only has to be proportional and reasonable within school districts, not throughout the state.
Leslie Ludtke: And the taxes are reasonable and proportional, because we took the position that the taxes were local taxes and they met the state standard of reasonableness and proportionality.
Most legal precedent pre-dating Claremont supported the state’s position that property taxes are local taxes. However the Claremont team argued that when Claremont I was released, and the mandate to fund education was specifically given to the state, that changed the nature of the education property tax from local to statewide.
John Tobin: What we said was the state obligation for education is unique. It may be ok to have different tax rates for police or fire departments or local roads… but what we argued is that education is unique. It’s a state duty, you’ve already said that… and so it was pretty straight-forward analysis. If it’s a state duty then the taxing district is the state.
If the education property tax was a state tax, that meant it had to have the same rate across the state, not just within individual districts.
John Tobin: The state was pretty confident in this notion that they were immune from any comparison of tax rates across district lines. All they had to show was the tax rates within a district are fine, because that had been traditionally the law about whether a tax rate is constitutional or not: is it proportional within the district?
Leslie Ludtke: This was really the only way they were going to prevail, is to come up with a new standard of reasonableness and proportionality, and all the precedent really supported the conclusion that the property tax was a local tax. I mean to say the property tax is a state tax because it funds a state-mandated service is really very much out on a limb.
How the court classified the education property tax would determine whether the entire school funding system was legal. If they decided it was a local tax, it would remain constitutional for some districts to have education property tax rates up to 400% higher than others. If they decided it was a statewide tax, however, this system would be plainly unconstitutional, requiring the state to create a more equitable way to raise money for schools.
Judge Manias in his Superior Court decision had sided with the state on this issue. However, when the state Supreme Court released their decision in December of 1997, they reversed the Superior Court ruling. They instead agreed with Claremont, writing that the education property tax is in fact a state tax, and must therefore have the same rate across New Hampshire.
It’s hard to overstate how monumental this decision was for school funding in New Hampshire. After Claremont I, the state was able to avoid major school funding reform, under the pretense that they could delegate their funding responsibility to the towns. Claremont II totally upended that premise, by declaring the local tax system unconstitutional, and forcing the state to act. This was a major victory for equal funding advocates like Tom Connair.
Tom Connair: I think it became more than just a lawsuit, not just for me, but I think for all those that touched, it was almost a quixotic journey to do the right thing for our kids and their educational opportunities.
However, unlike the Claremont I decision, Claremont II garnered immediate and broad criticism. For many, the ruling was seen as the first step towards the destruction of New Hampshire’s anti-broad-base tax tradition. Just two days after the release of the decision, the Manchester Union Leader ran an op-ed with the headline “NH Can No Longer ‘Live Free of Die’ if ruled by Black-Robed Monarchs.”
These sentiments weren’t just articulated in the editorial pages of local newspapers either — they also came from the court itself. While Claremont I was a unanimous decision, Justice Sherman Horton wrote a dissenting opinion in Claremont II, strongly objecting to the characterization of the education property tax as a state tax. Many in New Hampshire’s legal community still view the Claremont II decision as a blatant example of judicial overreach.
Leslie Ludtke: No I think the decision is clearly wrong — if you go and look at the legal precedent of cases on reasonableness and proportionality, there’s very little support, I mean there’s no support for the decision… It’s really not a legal decision, it’s a political decision.
But, Horton was just one Justice of four, and was ultimately outvoted. So after nearly a decade of litigation, Claremont, Allenstown, Franklin, Lisbon Regional, and Pittsfield school districts ultimately won their case against the state of New Hampshire.
However, the legal principles of the Claremont decisions were ultimately just that: a set of principles. It was now up to the legislature to enact actual reforms based on the ideas of the Claremont decisions. The Supreme Court wrote in their decision that they were confident that the legislature and Governor will act expeditiously to fulfill this duty.
But if the court was so confident in the legislature to solve this problem back in 1997, then why are the people of New Hampshire still arguing about school funding over 30 years since the Claremont suits began? Next time, on Claremont.
Thanks to Natalie Laflamme, Leslie Ludtke, Tom Connair, and John Tobin for speaking with me. And a special thanks to Judy Lavoie, whose interview didn’t make it into the episode. Claremont is written, produced, and scored by me, Henry Lavoie with editing help from Sarah Earle. For more podcasts about New Hampshire school funding, subscribe to School Talk, wherever you listen to your podcasts.