To The Daily Sun,
Recently, reports tell us that N.H. is No 7 for personal income. Recently the governor has touted that economic prosperity abounds in the Granite State and unemployment is at its lowest levels in decades.
That must mean that tax revenues are up and there should be no further reason to kick the can of school funding down the road as governor is currently doing. Education for our children is not a partisan issue, it is all our issue, and the previous governors since the State Supreme Court's Claremont decision in 1993 have played the same game of kick the can.
Since so many seem to have forgotten, here is a refresher: Following a lawsuit from Claremont and other school districts, the N.H. Supreme Court interpreted the N.H. Constitution to guarantee the right to a public education. In 1997, the N.H. school funding system was found unconstitutional and the Legislature and governor were ordered to define a constitutionally adequate education, determine costs and pay for them with equalized taxes. All governors and legislatures since have refused to comply with the court's order. The Supreme Court again found the school funding system unconstitutional in 2006.
As a result of our governor-approved system of paying for education, property taxes are shouldering a growing percentage of what is constitutionally the state's responsibility. Local tax rates vary enormously among school districts. Many property-poor school districts tax their residents at above-average rates, but even with the state aid they receive the limited revenues generated guarantee that their per-pupil spending is lower than average, these school districts are cutting teachers, eliminating programs, and closing schools.
The governor cuts taxes for business profits, which increases property taxes. New business will not land in property-poor communities. Any new employees that businesses do attract will not settle in property-poor towns. Engineers and scientist do not want their children educated in inferior schools. Without new local business, property poor towns will continue to struggle, the system is designed to guarantee failure. By design, we keep our children in struggling communities undereducated. The governor's new budget still contains no revisions to the statewide school funding formula, as mandated by the court.
Governor, it is time to stop kicking the can down the road, and solve this problem.