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Editorial: What will state do to address education funding?

Published: 6/11/2019 5:35:37 PM

New Hampshire’s public schools are underfunded. It’s an assertion many would have agreed with for years; last week, a judge made it official, ruling in favor of the funding lawsuit levied at the state by the ConVal School District and later joined by Mascenic, Monadnock and Winchester.

Superior Court judge David R. Ruoff’s ruling found the current education funding provided by the state “unconstitutional” and noted that the lawsuit served a “public good” by shedding light on the issue, and we agree. There’s perhaps nothing more important than our children’s education, and you get what you pay for. Apparently, the state has been using an outdated, and painfully low, figure to determine how much it costs to adequately educate a student, and providing its portion of school funding based on that, leaving the property taxpayer to foot the remainder of the bill.

If this ruling stands (it’s likely to be appealed), the ball will be in the state’s court as far as how to address the issue and what funding changes to make.

“The Court expects the Legislature to respond thoughtfully and enthusiastically to funding public education according to its constitutional obligation,” Ruoff wrote.

We can’t say what the answer is, exactly, but it’s hard to imagine any decision making the education funding situation in our state any worse.

Some will argue that regardless of where the money comes from, be it state, local or property taxes, it’s still coming out of our pockets. Others will say they shouldn’t have to pay for schools at all; after, their kids are long since graduated, or attend private, charter, or home schools. To that, we’d say that no matter how you choose to educate your children, the future depends on all of us banding to gether to give them the best chance at success.


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