It seems Mr. Volinsky, the very same attorney that represented the plaintiffs in the Claremont decision back in 1993, is now representing the City of Dover to force the state to override the 8% annual year to year cap for state aid for education. According to NHPR he is quoted as saying that "Districts may receive no more than 8 percent additional funds from one year to the next, even if they grow by 10 or 20 percent.That's an arbitrary cap that violates the constitution and that is the specific and expressed challenge in this case."
IN 1993, the NH Supreme Court ordered NH to fund a constitutionally adequate education and that resulted in the so called donor town tax. The adequate education funding under the Claremont decision began in 1998 and increased Moultonboro’s property tax by about 42% the first year after it was in effect and dropped by 36% the year after it was put on hold at the end of 2005. In that last year alone, Moultonboro was by far the largest donor town contributing $4,033,580, nearly 20% of the statewide total.
In the op-ed piece by Dover Mayor Karen Weston, she explains: “The City Council and I voted to act quickly to hire experienced attorneys to challenge this arbitrary cap on educational funding, not only because it’s the right and fiscally prudent thing to do for Dover and our residents, but because complex constitutional considerations make it difficult to win back payments from the state that should have been made in the past.”
The Concord Monitor also reported on this story and the concept seems to be gaining traction in other towns and cities as well. According to the article "Windham school board Chairman Ken Eyring estimates his district has lost $11.7 million since 2012 through underfunding, and his town is struggling to make up the difference. The total tax rate in the town is $24, and the majority of that money, $16.60, goes to supporting the school district. Eyring said he’s heard from Windham residents who say they are considering moving out of town because of high taxes." And this from Bill Kassler, chairman of the Bedford School Board: “At every board meeting, at every public hearing, at the deliberative session, that’s clearly on voters’ minds,” he said. “We have quite a number of individuals living on fixed incomes who are seeing the budget go up . . . we’re very sensitive to that.”
Not sensitive to other towns that could be forced to pay for their children's education. The concerns of the supposed " have not" municipalities around the state for their own residents doesn't translate to any concern that many taxpayers in our property rich community could see their tax rate drastically increase and drive them out of town because they can't afford to pay on their their fixed incomes.
And one more reminder for those of you who voted for Jeb Bradley: he voted in favor of the donor town tax back in 1998 along with our own Betsey Patten when they were in the NH House.