How are NH public schools funded in NH? The answer: a mix of state funds and local property taxes.
In 1993, the NH Supreme Court ruled that the NH Constitution “imposes a duty on the State to provide a constitutionally adequate education to every educable child in the public schools in [this State] and to guarantee adequate funding.” The NH Department of Education recently announced that the base-per-pupil Adequacy rate for FY2018 and FY2019 would be $3,636.06. However, the statewide average cost per pupil was $15,310 for the 2016 – 2017 school year. The state has failed to meet its educational aid obligations.
In addition, targeted state aid for students who are receiving special educations services, for eligible for free and reduced priced lunches, and for taking English as a second language were reduced.
And as the NH Municipal Association points out, “With the property tax as the primary source of local revenue, reductions in any state aid program, or the shifting of state costs to municipalities, most often results in increased property tax.” State Aid to Municipalities: History and Trends, 2016).
Funds are needed to sustain a good educational environment: for building upkeep, for grounds maintenance, for staff wages, for special education services, for athletics and club activities, for curriculum basics and enhancements.
If we want to provide a quality public education that will provide a foundation for a brighter future for our children, we must ensure that the state halts further reductions in aid to our public schools, we need to oppose efforts to divert already-scarce public funds to private institutions, and we must raise the per-pupil level of funding.