Court sides with ConVal in funding lawsuit

  • ConVal High School in Peterborough, N.H. (Monadnock Ledger-Transcript photograph) Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 6/5/2019 6:21:44 PM

The ConVal School District released a statement Wednesday night announcing a Cheshire County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of its lawsuit asserting the state is underfunding education.

ConVal’s statement is as follows:

The Contoocook Valley School District, in conjunction with the Mascenic, Monadnock, and Winchester School Districts, filed a Complaint in the Cheshire Superior Court laying out how, using the State’s own formula and the State’s own data, the State’s base adequacy funding falls far short of constitutionally sufficient funding for the children of the ConVal, Mascenic, Monadnock, and Winchester School Districts and throughout New Hampshire.

Today we heard back from the Court in a comprehensive 98-page decision. The Court’s findings were consistent with our assertion that the present levels of funding for public education in the State of New Hampshire are unconstitutional.

The Court specifically held the State’s current per-pupil funding levels are “unconstitutional as applied to the Petitioning school districts.”

In particular, the Court held that the State was unconstitutionally failing to fully fund transportation costs for all students, unconstitutionally failing to fully fund facilities costs and unconstitutionally failing to fund the costs of teachers at proper teacher-student ratios.

Additionally, the Court awarded attorneys’ fees. The Court also indicated that any formula design that forced communities to raise dollars to subsidize the State’s obligations would be “ripe for adjudication.”

The Court also found that the funding formula was “not only unsupported by the legislative record but [is] clearly or demonstratively inadequate according to the Legislature’s own definition of an adequate education.”


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