Supreme Court accepts appeals of ConVal lawsuit decision on adequate education

  • ConVal High School in Peterborough would expand from a high school to a middle high school for grades 7th through 12th under a ConVal School Board proposal for district building consolidation. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

Published: 9/12/2019 10:59:32 AM

The New Hampshire Supreme Court accepted the state’s appeal of the ConVal School District lawsuit decision – as well as ConVal’s counterappeal – on Wednesday.

In an order issued yesterday, the court found the case “appears to be eligible for mediation,” meaning that the Cheshire County Superior Court decision that sided with ConVal by declaring that the state is underfunding the constitutionally required adequate education will be reviewed in the state Supreme Court.

Both the state and the school district have until Sept. 26 to agree to participate in mediation.

In the state’s appeal dated Aug. 28, the state questions whether its funding is “unconstitutional” when the state law is applied to the ConVal School District and the other school districts named in the original lawsuit. The state is also questioning if it is unconstitutional for it to not fund school expenses such as transportation. And the state is appealing the Superior Court’s decision that the state is now responsible to pay for the school districts’ attorney fees, the cost of which is about $130,000.

ConVal responded with its counterappeal on Friday which asks 13 questions including, “In light of the fact that the State has failed to implement a constitutional education funding system in the twenty years since Claremont I was decided, did the Superior Court err in concluding that it was ‘prohibited from instructing the Legislature on what is included in a constitutionally adequate education or how funding must be calculated[?]”


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