Four more school districts join ConVal funding lawsuit

  • A ConVal School District bus. (Benji Rosen/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Benji Rosen

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/26/2021 3:35:19 PM

Four more school districts joined ConVal’s lawsuit against the state over education funding last week. The Fall Mountain, Claremont, Newport, and Hillsboro-Deering School Districts joined ConVal, Monadnock, Mascenic, and Winchester School Districts in their cause after Superior Court Judge David Ruoff allowed other school districts 30 days to join the lawsuit on Wednesday, April 21.

“For nearly 30 years the State of New Hampshire has ignored the spirit of the original Claremont funding decision. As a result it has shifted its responsibility to local communities, creating funding inequities across the state,” ConVal Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said in a statement. “We welcome the Fall Mountain, Claremont, Newport and Hillsboro-Deering School Districts, and encourage other districts to join us in ensuring the state meets its constitutional responsibility to the children of New Hampshire.”

All the represented school districts will be allowed to provide evidence  to support their case that the state is underfunding education, according to a ConVal press release. The plaintiffs argue that the state’s base adequacy, $3,636 per student in 2019, is not enough to fund an adequate education and does not cover the services, positions, and items that school districts are required to provide.

The ConVal School District initially sued the state in March 2019, arguing the state was not fulfilling their obligation to fund a constitutionally adequate education. Three other School Districts soon joined the case. In June 2019, Cheshire County Superior Court Judge David Ruoff ruled that transportation costs, among other costs, are to be paid by the state per the state constitution, and said it is the legislature’s job to fix the underfunding of education. The state appealed that conclusion in June 2020. As a result, the New Hampshire Supreme Court sent ConVal’s funding lawsuit back to the Superior Court for further testimony in March, and rejected the state’s request to dismiss the case. ConVal and other represented school districts lauded the decision as a further opportunity to make their case for receiving more state funding.

The lawsuit may not hold an evidentiary hearing until summer 2022, according to the press release.


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