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

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Senate Committee to Hear Targeted Aid Proposal

Apr. 29, 2003

The Senate Education Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday (tomorrow, April 30) on House Bill 717, Targeted Aid to Education, a concept overwhelmingly supported by New Hampshire voters and the result of six months of study by a team of the nation's top education funding experts.

The legislation was developed by the Coalition Communities seeking fair funding in education, and represents the most thoroughly researched education funding legislation ever presented to the New Hampshire Legislature.

The Senate Education Committee plans to hear testimony from the Coalition's representatives at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday in Room 105-A of the Statehouse.

The House earlier this month passed HB 717/Targeted Aid but approved an amendment that would delay its implementation for two years.

"We are asking the Senate to remove that amendment, and to implement targeted aid this year," said Ted Jankowski, Director of the 34-member Coalition Communities. "We are concerned that some lawmakers only want to implement a temporary solution and not solve this problem once and for all.

"The voters of New Hampshire say they want targeted aid, and they want it even if the State would send less education funding to their own hometowns. That shows they understand that targeted aid is the fairest way to fund education, that they want all New Hampshire schoolchildren to have an equal education opportunity and they believe targeted aid is the most fiscally responsible way to do that.

"We all know there's a problem and now we've offered the Legislature a practical, well-researched and financially sustainable solution that doesn't require new taxes. I hope the Senate will embrace this legislation and work to solve the problem today," he said.

The prestigious Becker Institute recently conducted an independent telephone survey and found "by a decisive margin of close to 2-1, New Hampshire voters prefer a school funding distribution plan that sends aid targeted only to those municipalities that cannot afford to provide adequate education and this is a significant gain in such support since it was last measured two years ago."

HB 717 is sponsored by Rep. Edmond Gionet of Lincoln, which has the state's lowest median household income but is a "donor" town under the current system.

HB 717 would gradually phase in a targeted aid funding formula based on a town's education needs and ability to finance them, set predictable controls on State costs, and return control of property tax dollars to the local communities. Currently, the State controls $1 of every $3 in property tax dollars raised locally for education.


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