1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com

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Coalition Proposal goes before Committee

Feb. 12, 2003

CONCORD - Testimony in support of the targeted aid grants bill offering a long-term solution to the state's education funding dilemma will be presented Wednesday to the N.H. House Ways and Means Committee by the Coalition Communities, a group of 34 towns and cities stretching from one end of the state to the other.

The Ways and Means Committee has scheduled a 2:45 p.m. hearing in Room 202 of the Legislative Office Building on HB717, enabling legislation developed by a team of education and constitutional experts assembled by the Coalition.

The proposal ensures equal education opportunity to all N.H. schoolchildren, gradually phases in a funding formula that targets grants based on a town's education needs and ability to finance them, and sets predictable controls on State costs.

"This is not a quick Band-Aid solution for political expediency or a proposal that fails to fulfill the state's mandated obligation to support the education of our children," said Ted Jankowski, the Coalition's director. "It's time for the Legislature to take a strong stand on what everyone talked about during the elections - solving the education funding crisis.

"For years we have said the current system is not sustainable and as of July 1 of this year, 112 N.H. towns will be negatively impacted. Our plan is similar to what 40 other states have used - it relies on facts and research, not political whim or slogans - and would benefit the vast majority of school districts with high dropout rates or low elementary test scores.

"We are asking the New Hampshire Legislature to take this well-documented, fact-supported and reasonable plan and save our State from being consumed by this education funding mess," he said.

Dr. Daphne Kenyon, who led the panel of experts in formulating the proposal and devising the formula necessary to implement it, and attorney Martin Gross, who wrote the legislation and constitutional amendment, will present the Coalition Communities' plan to the Ways and Means Committee.

The team also has developed a supporting constitutional amendment, CACR13, as added insurance that the Coalition's well-researched funding formula will be phased in on schedule, irregardless of the political climate. The enabling legislation would become effective July 1 and then voters would have an opportunity to support or reject the system by voting on the proposed constitutional amendment in November 2004.

The formula's implementation would be followed by a 6-year transition gradually adjusting each town's grant to reach a Targeted Aid Grants goal, with provisions allowing regular updating if there are changes impacting a town's grant, such as changes in the number of students. The State's commitment to education initially would be set at the present level and then grow at a reasonable, clear-cut rate tied to the Consumer Price Index and the student population.


 1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com