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

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Coalition Unveils Targeted Aid Plan

Feb. 5, 2003

A proposal to ensure equal education opportunity to all N.H. schoolchildren, gradually phase 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 was unveiled Wednesday by the Coalition Communities.

The proposal consists of enabling legislation, HB717, and a supporting constitutional amendment, CACR13, that were developed after months of research by a team of the nation's top educational funding experts assembled by the Coalition, a group of 34 towns seeking a long-term, sustainable solution to the education funding dilemma.

"In the past we have been criticized for complaining about the current system and not offering a solution. Now, we've done the research and we have the facts to support a formula that solves the problem today," said Ted Jankowski, director of the Coalition.

"We don't need another quick-fix for political expediency when a long-term solution is available today that will allow the Legislature to deal with the other problems facing New Hampshire. We sincerely hope the legislators will keep their promises to fix this problem now that we've offered them a thoroughly researched and fact-based solution that can be implemented in the next budget," said Jankowski.

The proposal calls for implementation of the new formula on July 1. It would be followed by a 6-year transition gradually adjusting each town's grant to reach a Targeted Aid Grants goal, with provisions in the formula that would allow 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.

The Coalition Communities last year assembled a team of educational funding and constitutional experts to work on a reasonable alternative to the current overly simplistic and inequitable funding system. Two members of that team -- Dr. Daphne Kenyon, who has led the panel of experts in formulating this proposal and devising the formula necessary to implement it, and attorney Martin Gross, who wrote the legislation and constitutional amendment - conducted the briefing where the proposal was unveiled.

Kenyon said the proposed formula, which mirrors those used in 40 other states but is tailored for New Hampshire's unique situation, would lead to increased aid going to schools that currently have above-average high school dropout rates and below-average 3rd grade test scores.


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