Targeted Aid Solution- Legislative proposal - HB 717-Targeted Aid to Education
HB 717-Targeted Aid to Education
Why Opinion of the Justices, 145 NH 474 (2000) (King Plan) does not bar the Targeted Aid approach of HB 717
The analysis adopted by the Court in its advisory opinion on the King decision does not apply to the very different Targeted Aid system proposed in HB 717.
According to the decision, the King plan proposed a 2-tier approach to education aid: a basic tier consisting of the then-existing formula for adequacy payments payable to all communities ("baseline assistance); and a second tier based on previous foundation aid formulas, payable only to certain needier communities ("adequacy guarantee assistance."). 145 N.H. 475. The total amount to be raised and appropriated did not fully cover the Bill's projected cost of adequate education. 145 N.H. 476. The Court noted: "The LBA calculations demonstrate that many school districts are left with unfunded gaps between the purported cost of an adequate education and the amount of State aid provided under the bill." 145 NH 477. Based on that analysis, the justices disposed of the King plan on the ground that it didn't fully fund what it said it was trying cover.
However, under the HB 717 framework, the amount of state aid leaves no "unfunded gaps."
- The cost of adequate education is assumed to be the statewide average per pupil cost of education in 2000-2001.
- Each community's Targeted Aid grant is the difference between its education need and its fiscal capacity in relation to that cost, determined in accordance with the Targeted Aid formula.
- That cost (state average per pupil expenditure) is a rationally based goal for adequate education.
- The Targeted Aid formula is a rationally based mechanism for fairly determining a community's fiscal ability to expend that cost.
- The result is a reasonable method for enabling every community to expend that cost, regardless of its local fiscal capacity.
- The cost of the program is supported fully and exclusively from state funds raised on a "proportional" basis.
- The HB 717 system equalizes education opportunity at least as well (and demonstrably better) than the present system, in terms of payments to needier communities.
Because the Court was dealing with an entirely different approach in the King plan, its advisory opinion rejecting that plan should not deter full consideration of the Targeted Aid approach in HB 717.
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