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

Home About the Coalition Targeted Aid Solution Facts & Figures 
News Releases 
Contact Us 

News Releases- Archives

Hampton Joins List of Towns Backing Targeted Aid

March 25, 2003

The Board of Selectmen of the Town of Hampton unanimously and enthusiastically approved a resolution in support of the targeted aid education funding plan developed by the Coalition Communities and urged the town's legislative delegation to back the measure "in all ways possible."

The Board voted 5-0 Monday night to approve the resolution in support of HB717, the targeted aid legislation now being considered by the House Finance Committee. Hampton is one of several Coalition Communities that are formally approving resolutions that call on their lawmakers to work to ensure targeted aid becomes law. Portsmouth approved a similar resolution just last week.

"I think that this is a move in a positive direction and it is a positive solution that is going to resolve the whole donor-receiver town issue," said Brian Warburton, who was elected to his third term as Board chairman. "This is the only plan out there that offers a permanent solution. We don't need another Band-Aid plan.

"I want to applaud the work of the Coalition on producing a long-term sustainable solution that will benefit the State and make sure that education aid gets to the communities that need the most help," he said Tuesday.

The Coalition has compared HB717 to the others being discussed by the Finance Committee and found it would target more funding to over 80 percent of the students attending schools with above-average dropout rates and lower than average 3rd Grade English test scores. Conversely, the other two prominent plans - HB2 reflecting the Governor's proposal and HB608 sponsored by Rep. David Hess - would reduce funding to those communities by two-thirds.

"The Board was very enthusiastic and I am now absolutely convinced that this is the way to go. Our Board will now be letting our legislative delegation know that we want this bill passed," said Warburton.

HB717 was developed by a team of nationally recognized education funding experts assembled by the Coalition. It gradually phases in a funding formula that targets grants based on a town's education needs and ability to finance them, and set predictable controls on State costs. It also returns control of property tax dollars to the local communities. Currently, the State controls $1 of every $3 in property tax dollars raised in each town.
HB717 is sponsored by Rep. Edmond Gionet from Lincoln - which, ironically, is a "donor" town despite having the state's lowest median household income. Hampton also is a donor community, and will be forced to send $2.4 million to the State to be distributed to other communities, including the towns with the highest median household income, for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1.

The bill calls for implementation of the new formula on July 1, followed by a transition period that gradually adjusts each town's grant to reach a Targeted Aid Grants goal by the sixth year. There are provisions to allow regular adjustments in response to changes in factors impacting a town's grant, such as increases in the number of students. The State's commitment to education initially would be set at the current statewide average and then grow at a reasonable, clear-cut rate tied to the Consumer Price Index and the student population.

A companion constitutional amendment, CACR13, is before the House Education Committee. The Coalition believes HB717 can stand alone, but drafted the constitutional amendment to preclude future legal challenges and to guarantee the State will continue to fund an adequate education for all NH schoolchildren.


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