On July 27th, John Tobin, an attorney in New Hampshire, addressed the Rotary Club of Nashua regarding the public education bill. Attorney Tobin is part of the team leading a charge to pressure the state to pay more of the public education bill. He is former executive director of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and he represented the plaintiffs in the Claremont Supreme Court cases back in the 1990s. Now he is leading education funding forums around the state.
He shared some brief history and NH Constitution requirements to provide adequate education for our K-12 system. Many of us know our education system is funded by real estate taxes, however therein lies a lot of disparity between high property value cities/towns versus low property value city/towns. There has been a changing landscape in NH away from former mill towns to more “destination” locations (ski resorts, ocean, lakes regions).
 
The burden is still mainly funded by the property taxes.  The disparity comes from tax rates needed for low value towns to raise additional monies to adequately educate their students. Property poor towns have a harder time fostering new business and attracting younger families.  Elderly home-owners are being forced out due to a higher tax burden.
 
On example, Pittsfield school district trying to cut costs and work within a budget was presented. Eliminating teachers, sports, arts, special education access, class sizes from 29 students per teacher to 60 per teacher still left the district with costs above the state “allowance” for an adequate education.   Several challenges facing districts, salary disparities being a concern with good teachers leaving for better paying positions, trying to merge school high value/low value districts,
 
A short question and answer session followed, with a possible solution of a state wide school property tax to help make things more equitable.
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