Better Education Funding

There has been quite a clamor for a new education funding lawsuit this cycle, and rhetoric like “hold the Legislature accountable”. Fair enough, but have any of those folks addressed all the work that has been done on this issue this past Session? I supported two measures that would have repealed or frozen the reductions in adequacy aid due to stabilization grant reductions. When it became clear that these were not going to pass, we formed a joint committee to work through the objections. They boiled down to two.

  1. Stabilization grants are based on 2011 student populations. It is unfair and poor practice to send grants based on inaccurate student numbers which change over time.
  2. Freezing the reductions in the absence of a new plan is wrong because of the previous reason.

For a year and a half, this committee worked on a solution that respects the opposing points of view, while creating a solution for hard hit communities like Charlestown and Claremont. The new plan bases it’s numbers on current student populations, adjusted annually, and increases aid for property poor municipalities and places with high numbers of students receiving free and reduced lunch.

The committee produced recommendations which should be supported to increase aid. A summary from the report:

“It is therefore recommended by the committee that base adequacy be raised to $3,897 and differentiated aid for students eligible for free or reduced price lunch be raised to $2,500 with no change to special education funding, English language learner and to eliminate the money for those children who are in 3rd grade and reading below proficient level. These dollars would go to all municipalities to be spent on education.”

“The “Umberger” Education grant program is based upon equalized property valuation per student, and is designed to provide funding assistance to eligible school districts in support of academic growth and achievement in grades K-12. Grant recipients may expend grant funds in a manner which best fits local need, and grant funds are not restricted or targeted to any specific group.”

 Here are the numbers for an example.

ADM means number of students (Average Daily Membership)
F&R means number of students eligible for free and reduced lunch

Charlestown factors:
ADM=617
F&R=276
Grant eligibility – $2500/student

Charlestown Numbers under the new system:
Base adequacy – 617*3897 = $2,404,449 +
F&R differentiated 276*2500= $690,000 +
Umberger grant – 617*2500= $1,542,500

Total aid to Charlestown based on 2017 ADM = $4,636,949

Claremont factors:
ADM=1632
F&R=819
Grant eligibility – $2500/student

Claremont Numbers under the new system:
Base adequacy – 1632*3897 = $6,359,904 +
F&R differentiated 819*2500= $2,047,500 +
Umberger grant – 1632*2500= $4,080,000

Total aid to Claremont based on 2017 ADM = $12,487,404

Ask your local officials if this is a better deal than they are getting now. We believe it is a giant step forward. The objections have been overcome by creating a new formula that will be based on current student populations, recognizes that property poor municipalities need extra help, and recognizes that there can be additional challenges with communities having a high percentage of free lunch eligible students.

For specific numbers for communities other than these two, you can contact me at nhfirst@gmail.com or 603-826-5940.

Rep. Steven Smith

 

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As dirty as you can get

Recently. some mailers went out which are a great case study in how Washington DC types lie to you. It is really shameful that some think that this is how local elections should be conducted. Here is the mailer:

mail2

mail1

The mailer allegedly comes from The New Hampshire Leadership Committee and the only address given is 10 Dixon Ave., Concord, NH. The name on it is Elizabeth Wester. There are some problems with this. First, 10 Dixon Ave is an office building. LCHIP has offices there. No suite is given, and no committee by this name is a tenant there that I can find.  Second, this is not the address on file for this committee.

nhleadershipaddress

So, despite the innocuous local name, this is really Washington DC getting involved in your local elections. They didn’t even use local money. Here are their receipts:

receipts

Interestingly, it looks like a lot of the money was donated from the same address it was received by… a classic political money shell game. Here are their expenditures:

expend

It appears they used Washington DC money to pay a Massachusetts company to get involved in your local elections. Is that how anyone thinks this should work? So, who is behind this elaborate shell game. I looked up the only name we have and found this:

wester

I disagree with Senator Shaheen often, but did respect her and never thought she lied to me. I can not believe that she would approve of her employee using DC money to lie to you and hide behind misleading names and addresses. The mailer addresses federal policy and is an obvious scare tactic. The thing is, I am a State Representative. I don’t vote for social security policy, or federal health care regulations. This is the second dirtiest thing I’ve seen in local elections. Ask Senator Shaheen if she approves of this.

I’ll be sending all of this to the Attorney General. If it isn’t illegal, it should be. There are rules whose purpose is to ensure that you know who is spending money on political ads and attacks. You deserve better than this web of subterfuge.

Steve

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Support Local

Keep-It-Local-Logo--696x712

Many people talk about big box stores hurting local small businesses. They don’t. We hurt those businesses when we abandon them. I’ve heard some say that they can’t afford to pay higher prices at the small stores, when they have an alternative. The product is not all you’re paying for at the small store. You pay a small premium to talk with someone who knows about the products. You can ask them to get in special items for you. Once you find something you like and buy it regularly, your local merchant knows that and stocks it. Big box stores make stocking decisions far away in a corporate headquarters somewhere, and they don’t know you. You develop a relationship with a local merchant who learns your preferences. Your local hobby shop can recommend products based on experience. These things have value. I remember once when my wife really wanted those florentines they have at Ralph’s, a

nd they didn’t have any. I called and they made some. Try that at Walmart. All of these businesses have value. I get that we may shop some items at the big stores out of economic necessity. Those stores may get items in that smaller businesses don’t carry. The fact remains though, if we want local stores, farms, and markets to exist, we have to support them. Buy local when you can. Only you can save the economy and create local jobs.

https://www.eagletimes.com/news/smaller-crafts-and-hobby-shops-cope-in-the-age-of/article_0f5f5e1a-ca8c-11e8-924d-bb9262a3224f.html

 

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