Alleging that the state’s $3,636.06 base cost per pupil in its state aid formula if correctly calculated would amount to $10,843.60, the ConVal school district, joined by two other New Hampshire school districts, have filed complaints in Cheshire County Superior Court challenging the methodology the state uses in calculating the base per pupil amount and requesting higher payments for the current school year and future years.
Plaintiffs assert that the state’s current funding
system does not provide the “adequate” education that the state supreme court
had held to be a constitutional requirement in Claremont
Sch.Dist. v Governor and a series of other major decisions from the
1990s. Among other things, they claim that state aid, which was based on a cost
analysis undertaken by a joint legislative committee in 2008, does not adequately
cover actual costs in areas like transportation, facilities and maintenance, student-teacher
ratios, and teacher benefits. In its response, the state said it is not
obligated to fund “ancillary” costs like transportation in its calculation
because the definition of an adequate education is “school and curriculum
based,” and that the determination of “adequacy” should properly be decided by
the legislature, and not by the courts.
In a decision issued on April 5, 2019, Judge David Ruoff denied the plaintiffs’
requested preliminary injunction, but indicated that he will rule on the merits
of the case before the end of the current school year.