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

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Nearly 60% of NH Communities Lose Next Year Under Current Education
Funding System

Nov. 14, 2002

The current education funding system will negatively impact nearly 60 percent of New Hampshire’s communities next year, dramatically underscoring the need for Gov.-elect Benson and the new Legislature to work together to implement a permanent, long-term solution to the education funding crisis, the Coalition Communities said Thursday.

The Coalition said an analysis of the recently released figures by the Department of Revenue Administration shows there will be 59 “Donor” towns forced to raise excess taxes to fund education in other towns plus 94 “Receiver” towns receiving less in education funding from the state.

“That means there are now 153 towns – almost 60 percent of the state -- that will be hurt by the present system next year. That translates into four new Donor towns and 37 additional communities that have joined the ranks of Receivers Receiving Less,” said Mayor Evelyn Sirrell, leader of the group of 34 towns fighting to overturn the statewide property tax and replace it with a long-term and sustainable alternative.

“This year there are 112 towns that are suffering in the area of education funding, next year it jumps to 153,” she said.

“And while those are the obvious problems, what about those Receiver towns that truly need help paying for educating their children and even with the extra money, still have to impose staggering tax rates on their citizens? Those homeowners are suffering greatly, too. That’s why we need a new way to fund education,” Mayor Sirrell said.

The Coalition said The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy’s study on “School Finance Reform: The First Two Years” released earlier in the week underscores the need for the state to abandon its overly simplistic education funding formula. The study found no movement toward greater equity in educational opportunity for children in poorer towns, one of the original intentions of the statewide property tax, because many communities used their education grants to lower tax rates.

Currently, the state determines a community’s education funding grant by simply providing funds based on the number of schoolchildren and balancing the total against the value of its property, resulting in a “seesaw” that fails to take into consideration true educational need or ability to pay.

“With 153 communities being hurt next year, hopefully the rest of the citizens of New Hampshire will agree that we all are being negatively impacted by this overly simplistic and short-sighted formula. We look forward to working with Gov.-elect Benson and the new Legislature to find an affordable and sustainable long-term method of funding education,” the Mayor said.

“Our Coalition doesn’t want to see the education of any child suffer in our state. It’s important that New Hampshire maintains a standard of education in every community and targets extra help to those towns that need it.”

The new "Donor" towns as of July 1, 2003, will be Franconia, forced to donate $122,239 to other communities; Gilford, $92,788 "donation"; Woodstock, $53,188; and Randolph, $9,124.

Meanwhile, 44 of the current 55 “Donor” towns must send even more to Concord for redistribution to other communities as of next July 1, for a total of $9.5 million above this year – led by Portsmouth’s $5.8 million “donation” that is a $2.1 million increase. Hampton must “donate” $1 million more, for a total of $2.4 million, while the leading Donor community overall continues to be Moultonborough with a $6.4 million “donation” – almost $740,000 more than this year.

The biggest loser among the 94 Receivers receiving less will be Nashua, which will lose a whopping $4.49 million. Salem will lose $1.4 million, Dover gets $1.1 million less and Hudson will lose just over $1 million. The total loss to the 94 towns is over $19 million. Meanwhile, 100 Receivers will be getting more next year but that total is just $15 million.


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