1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com

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Nov 10, 2003

For Immediate Release For more info: Ted Jankowski, 431-2006, Ext. 222 Pat Remick, 431-2006, Ext. 281 The Coalition Communities are committed to solving New Hampshire's education funding problem and are renewing their campaign to persuade the Legislature to adopt a common-sense approach similar to other states that truly targets aid to needy students, Coalition officials said Monday.

"Although the Legislature took a major step forward to solve the education funding problem by almost eliminating the donor situation, we need a true foundation aid approach that gets funding to the truly needy students," said Ted Jankowski, Coalition director.

"We are the only state in the country that is trying to provide money to every single schoolchild. We need to mirror the success in other states that solved the problem by targeting aid only where it's needed, and determining that need by educationally based factors - not equalized property values that don't even begin to accurately reflect a community's wealth.

"What's more, we can do this successfully without a statewide property tax. There are enough education funds available to ensure each child an equal educational opportunity if State aid is sent only to communities that really need it."

Jankowski announced the 34-member group has received $20,000 in renewed financial commitments from its members since September 1, including $10,000 just recently approved by the Hampton Board of Selectmen on a 5-0 vote.

"This is great news that we continue to listen to our taxpayers and to keep fighting this unfair property tax, " said Hampton Board of Selectmen Chairman Brian Warburton.

The Coalition also announced that two significant members of its team have renewed their commitment to the campaign in advance of the reopening of the Legislature in January - noted school funding expert Dr. Daphne Kenyon and well-known constitutional attorney Martin Gross who provided their expertise to committees studying the education funding issue in the first half of the current Legislature.

Jankowski attends weekly meetings of a House-Senate legislative committee attempting to fine-tune the education funding bill that eventually passed in late June. It maintains the level of education funding for the current fiscal year and substantially reduces the property tax rate for 2005, thus virtually eliminating "donor towns" having to raise property taxes to supplement education in other communities.

However, it still attempts to provide money for every schoolchild on the back of the statewide property tax, even those in communities considered wealthy by U.S. government standards. The Coalition believes using equalized tax values alone as a measure of wealth is faulty because:
  • Some wealthy towns zone out commercial and industrial uses to maintain rural character. Then they get rewarded with extra education funding because the zoning results in lower per-pupil equalized values.
  • Communities accepting accept land uses that others reject - power plants, landfills and commercial and industrial use - are penalized again because higher equalized values per pupil result in less or no State education money.
  • A whopping 60% of NH land is in "current use" -- taxed at a lower rate not reflecting a community's true property values - because landowners take advantage of a 30-year-old policy initiative that allows reduced tax rates if owners of 10 or more contiguous acres agree to conserve undeveloped land.


 1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, NH, 03801, Tel: (603) 610-7281Fax: (603) 427-1575 Email: Coalition@ch.cityofportsmouth.com