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Public Statements

Issue Position: Strengthening Education Funding

Issue Position

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I am strong advocate that New Hampshire must provide the opportunity for all our children to reach their highest educational potential. The state needs to meet the cost of education as efficiently as possible. Quality education advances good citizenship, knowledge, self worth, and participation in public affairs and our unique citizen government here in New Hampshire. In October 2008, the NH Supreme Court ruled that the State met its mandate to define an adequate education for each public education student in NH. I was privileged to serve on that Task Force.

In 2009 the legislature cost an adequate education. We managed to address many of the issues, but we still need to find a solution to deal with portions of differentiated aid. In the new formula if a school district has more than 12% of the students qualify for the free or reduced meal program that additional allocation would apply to every student in the school. In early 2010 that amounted to $130milliom and with the down turn in the economy it could well be higher than that. However, under these guidelines children are still falling through the cracks. There are students who do not meet the criteria for differentiated aid who are in desperate need for the services provided. These are children who are simply unable to read at a third grade level and are not supported through English Language Learners, Special Education or Poverty Guideline Differentiated Aid. The Department of Education in early 2010 estimated that there were in excess of 2,000 students who fell into that category. This group of students is probably at risk of future drop out as the ability to read proficiently is the base for all future academics. I propose to change this section of the formula. I will introduce and continue to support a constitutional amendment permitting the state to prioritize education funding to those communities that do not have a combination tax base and/or median income to support adequacy. One that would allow money raised in your community for education to stay in your community -- in short words NO DONOR towns.


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