Time to circle the wagons? With the success of the Dover lawsuit in Sullivan County this past September where the Superior Court ruled that the cap on the amount of money the state sends to local school districts is unconstitutional, other municipalities are threatening more lawsuits. The state sends funds annually to local school districts to satisfy a constitutional mandate to provide an adequate education. The amount it sends is calculated by a formula determined by the legislature.Starting in 2009, the legislature placed a cap on top of that formula which said the amount an individual school district received could only increase by a certain amount each year. As a result, school districts like Dover that were rapidly growing, received less money than they would have without that cap. From 2012-2016, the spending cap has kept more than $77 million from going to school districts across the state.
(An explanation of the rather complicated Adequate Education Aid can be found here on the NH Dept. of Education website.)
Here is why this is important: In the article below, there are threats of more litigation so that the state provide more help to property poor towns. Where does the state get that money? More than likely from property rich towns. We must be vigilant to keep our tax dollars meant to support our public schools,going to our public schools.
So when politicians talk of " education choice" they are really saying that your school tax dollars will help pay for that choice in other parts of the state.
Concord has not been able to solve this "adequacy" problem and the band aids over the past few years have not worked and have made public education funding even more complex and inequitable. Now, with some school districts growing while many others are shrinking, it exacerbates the problem. The Dover lawsuit cost $11million and that may just be the tip of the iceberg.
redistribute money from property-rich towns to poorer ones have rarely, if ever, found favor with the Legislature. The landmark state Supreme Court Claremont case, which established that the state was responsible for providing an “adequate” education to all children, was litigated twice. And just last month, the state Supreme Court ruled that a cap the Legislature had placed on adequacy payments was unconstitutional.