Monday, April 17, 2017

Protecting Moultonboro's Taxpayers

The so called " Education Freedom Savings Accounts" or ESA's being touted in various state houses around the country, have made it to the NH House, courtesy of the NH House Freedom Caucus. The concept that parents don't already have education freedom is grossly inaccurate, but that is an argument for another day. Today, it's about Moultonboro taxpayers. The ones that at least one of our elected representatives seems to have forgotten about.
The proposal would allow parents wishing to remove their children from public school, to create an “education freedom savings account” into which they could deposit up to 90 percent of the adequacy aid — state funding to help schools provide an adequate education to students — that the state otherwise would have paid to the public school for that student. Taxpayer money dedicated for public education, would be funneled away from public schools and into the private sector to the tune currently of about $3,600 per student.
The NH Supreme Court’s rulings in the Claremont school funding case a few decades ago, ruled that the state has a constitutional duty to define an adequate public education and pay for it.
Adequacy aid under current law, is calculated using the Average Daily Membership (ADM) of the students who reside within a municipality. It does not include most students who attend charter schools, nor does it include students that attend private schools ( unless tuitioned by the district). It also does not include students that receive an education tax scholarship to attend a private school or are home schooled.
What doe that have to do with ESA's and our property tax?

Every student that parents opt to take out of our School District, will no longer be counted as part of the calculation for adequacy aid. Moultonboro though, receives no adequacy aid from the state.
The NH Department of Revenue Administration doesn't care about that. Each December, the Department of Revenue Administration determines the minimum tax rate needed to raise at least $363 million from the Statewide Education Property Tax (SWEPT) for the following school year. The tax rate, rounded to the nearest one-half cent, is applied to equalized valuations without utilities.
This year it is $2.26 cents per $1,000 of property valuation. Every penny of that revenue that the town collects is paid to the Moultonboro School District. If current legislation ( SB 193) makes it through the NH House Education Committee of which Glen Cordelli is a member and strong vocal supporter of ESA's, some of the state education tax collected by Moultonboro will no longer go to our School District. Every student that parents opt to take out of the Moultonboro School District will cost Moultonboro taxpayers about $3,600 per year. That money does not come from Concord. It comes from us. Our tax dollars.
It would take taxpayer money and place it in individual accounts for parents to expend at any charter, private or religious school.
Less money to local school districts will increase local property taxes.

I challenge Rep, Cordelli to visit with our School Board at their next meeting on May 9th. Get on the agenda and explain to them, the teachers and parents present, why he is such an ardent supporter of ESA's and how it will benefit our district. Most importantly, explain how he intends to protect the taxpayers of Moultonboro should this bill be passed and signed into law. 
In fact, he should come to also explain all the education bills he has sponsored this session. Were any of those bills for the direct benefit of the constituents of the three towns he was elected to represent, or more to the ideology of the " freedom caucus"? 

His constituents deserve nothing less. 




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