The following is a letter I wrote to our state's representatives on behalf of our school board. It explains the position we are in and I wanted to share it with all of you:
May 6, 2019
Dear Governor and Distinguished Legislators,
I’m writing today on behalf of the SAU 20 School Board in support of the proposed House Budget, specifically the boost in state aid for public schools. The board feels that their constituents have spoken loudly and echo most taxpayers in the state regarding property tax relief. The current structure for school funding in New Hampshire has made it unsustainable for people to live in many communities across the state. By returning stabilization to the 2016 levels, districts would be able to meet the needs of students while maintaining lower local tax rates and supporting our local homeowners.
The impact of the current New Hampshire funding structure has made an inequitable and unbalanced financial burden on its cities and towns. Some communities face cutting staff and programs to meet bottom lines while others are adding state-of-the-art theatres. The districts in SAU 20 aren’t currently facing the need to close a school in order to balance a budget. Nevertheless the property tax burden put on the communities has made it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. The local tax rates in many towns across the state have made it difficult to attract new families from away.
The state’s stabilization program was supposed to provide funding for cities and towns struggling to meet basic needs. However, lawmakers voted three years ago to start reducing that aid by 4 percent each year until the program is eliminated. Bringing this funding back to the 2016 levels is a great first step in protecting our state’s homeowners and attracting new ones. It won’t fix all issues with school funding but it is something that can be done now that will have a lasting positive impact.
Please show your support for this vital need in our state. The proposed House Budget is a great start in meeting the needs of our schools, taxpayers and most of all the students of the great state of New Hampshire.
The SAU 20 School Board
Angela Brown, Jo Carpenter, Elaine Connary, Greg Corrigan, Nathan Corrigan, Peter Donovan, Ramona Dube, Kevin Follis, Peter Girouard, Crystal LaBrecque, Benjamin Mayerson, Stephen Michaud, Jake Moore, Andrew Mullins, Gaye Ruble, Gina Saladino, Stacey Smith, Barney Valliere, Michael Waddell, Dennis Wade
David Backler, Superintendent