PETERBOROUGH — The Mascoma Valley Regional School District announces that it will join the ConVal School District’s lawsuit filed seeking equitable education funding.
“As a regional school district, Mascoma Valley experiences the injustice of New Hampshire’s educational funding mechanism which pits community against community instead of uniting us in the common goal of education,” said Tim Josephson, Vice Chair of the Mascoma School Board. “The Legislature’s lack of action since the Claremont lawsuits has deepened inequities, allowing the state to continue shirking its constitutionally-mandated responsibility. We join the ConVal lawsuit so Mascoma Valley taxpayers may have recourse against the state for their abdication of educational funding.”
The ConVal District filed suit against the State of New Hampshire and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut in 2019. The suit maintains that the state does not meet its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding for all students. Plaintiffs argue that base adequacy is not sufficient to fund an adequate education and falls far short of funding services, positions, and items that the State requires school districts to provide. In 2019 districts received $3,636 per student in base adequacy.
The Supreme Court of New Hampshire in March rejected the state’s requests to dismiss the lawsuit and returned it to Superior Court Judge David Ruoff. Ruoff will hold hearings that will allow ConVal and its co-plaintiffs to present factual evidence that the state underfunds education. An evidentiary hearing is unlikely to be held until summer 2022.
Judge Ruoff has given New Hampshire school districts until Friday, May 22, to decide whether to join the lawsuit.
Mascoma Valley is the 11th district to join the lawsuit. Other co-plaintiff districts are Claremont, Derry, Fall Mountain, Grantham, Hillsboro-Deering, Mascenic, Monadnock, Newport, Oyster River, and Winchester.
“The state and the Legislature are the only entities that can fix this funding issue, and they can fix it today if they choose to do so. By their inaction they are allowing the inequities to continue to grow,” ConVal Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said. “We thank Mascoma Valley for joining the growing number of voices that demand the state live up to its obligations for all of New Hampshire’s schoolchildren.”