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

Senate Urged to Approve Ed Funding Bill with House-Passed Principles

May 20, 2005

The Coalition of Communities Friday urged the NH Senate to pass an education funding bill incorporating the principles approved by the House to target aid to the neediest communities and eliminate the Statewide Property Tax, but recommended that special education costs be considered in the final formula.

The 34-member Coalition said the only legislation proposed to date that fulfills these objectives is the amendment to House Bill 616 by Sens. Bob Odell, R-Claremont, and Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester. It includes elements of other bills supported by the Coalition, Gov. Lynch and individual Republican lawmakers.

"We hope the New Hampshire Senate will move quickly to build upon the hard work already completed by the House and approve a stable and predictable formula," said Mayor Evelyn Sirrell, leader of the Coalition.

"With each passing day, there is growing uncertainty and concern in the towns across the State. We all need a formula that enables us to plan ahead instead of this unnerving ritual of the Legislature frantically working on education funding bills down to the wire at the end of every session," she said.

The bipartisan amendment would allow communities to predict their education funding for at least six years. It also fine-tunes the formula in House Bill 616 passed by the House last month, addressing concerns that the accompanying spreadsheets showed some towns receiving more aid than seemed reasonable.

The Coalition has long supported targeting aid to needy towns, establishing a long-term and sustainable formula, and ending the shell game of the Statewide Property Tax. The Coalition also has urged the Legislature to recognize the extra costs for schools to educate pupils with limited English proficiency or receiving Special Education services, in addition to the current law's consideration of students receiving Free and Reduced meals.

The new House-passed formula considers Free and Reduced meals and limited English proficiency students, but not special education costs even though two House committees heard testimony recommending its inclusion. Some House members have urged the Senate to add special ed to the formula.

"In addition, our Coalition participated with the two other major education funding groups in the Local Government Center's education funding forums held across the State this year and we heard numerous municipal and school officials say how important it was to consider special ed costs," she said.

The Coalition earlier this year developed House Bill 684, but it was retained for further study. It was one of several House proposals without a Statewide Property Tax, recognizing the SWPT is raised locally and remains locally in every town except "Donor" towns while the only aid that actually comes from the State is in the Education Trust Fund.

The Coalition also noted that neither the New Hampshire Constitution nor NH Courts have required a Statewide Property Tax to fund education and that Massachusetts -- which has almost identical constitutional language regarding education funding -- uses targeted aid without a Statewide Property Tax.

The Coalition last fall joined with the Claremont Coalition and the Coalition for Adequate Funding (Receiver towns) in calling the current law's formula a "travesty" for the entire State and urging its wholesale replacement. Some lawmakers have suggested another year of current law (SB302) but with funding below the extra $50 million said to be needed. The Coalition, however, believes current law is too flawed to fix.

For more info, contact: Pat Remick, 610-7281
Or Mayor Sirrell, 610-7200 between 10 am - 2 pm


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