Governor John Lynch today released language for a proposed constitutional amendment that would affirm the state's responsibility for public education and allow the state to more effectively target aid to communities that need it the most.
"It is my strongly held belief that the state has a responsibility to ensure that every child in New Hampshire has the opportunity for a quality education. But to accomplish that goal, we need an amendment that allows the state to target aid to communities with the greatest needs, and that is what this amendment will do," Governor Lynch said.
The Supreme Court's education funding rulings have required the state to pay the full cost of an adequate education for every community statewide, regardless of a community's need. No other state has a similar requirement, and this requirement has hampered the state's ability to direct aid to communities with greatest needs.
Governor Lynch's proposed amendment states that the legislature shall have the authority and responsibility to define reasonable standards for public education, establish reasonable standards for accountability and mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity. It would allow the state to target more education aid to communities with the greatest needs and would maintain court review if the state fails to reasonably meet these responsibilities.
The amendment proposed by Governor Lynch reads as follows:
To add a new Article 5-c, Part II, entitled Public Education, as follows:
In fulfillment of its duties with respect to education set forth in part II, article 83, the legislature shall have the authority and responsibility to define reasonable standards for elementary and secondary public education, to establish reasonable standards of accountability, and to mitigate local disparities in educational opportunity and fiscal capacity. Further, in the exercise thereof, the legislature shall have full discretion to determine the amount of, and methods of raising and distributing, state funding for public education.