Stopping the Education “Buck” at the State House
On Friday, House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) threw his support behind a measure that would make the Legislature – not the courts – the final authority on educational standards and funding.
The move comes midway through an extended public hearing on one of New Hampshire’s most challenging public policy debates: a constitutional amendment on education funding. The public hearing continues Wednesday in the House Special Committee on Education Funding Reform.
Sponsored by Rep. David Hess (R-Hooksett), CACR 12 would also allow lawmakers to target education funding to smooth financial disparities among different communities. The amendment attempts to move beyond the state Supreme Court’s 1997 Claremont decision. If approved by the Legislature, CACR 12 would go before New Hampshire voters in 2012.
In his January inaugural address this year, Gov. John Lynch, who has long supported a constitutional amendment to allow for targeted education funding, said such a measure would affirm “our responsibility for education; but gives us the flexibility we need to give every child in every town the opportunity for a quality education.”
In The Nashua Telegraph, Kevin Landrigan reported Sunday on the bid to find the right language that will appeal to Lynch and Senate Republicans. In 2007, Lynch and then-House Speaker Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth) made a hard push for a targeted funding amendment. However, a majority of Democrats balked at taking oversight authority away from Supreme Court, which currently has final say on whether the state is living up to its constitutional obligations on education funding.
>> Wednesday, March 9, House Special Committee on Education Funding Reform, public hearing on CACR 12, Legislative Office Building, Room 207.
This Daily Dispatch was written by Michael McCord.