Senate Sends Education Accountability Bill to Governor

CONCORD – The final piece of a three-year legislative effort to define, determine the cost and ensure accountability for delivering an adequate education heads to the governor’s desk after the Senate agreed today to some minor changes by the House.

Senate Bill 180 spells out how the state will ensure schools are delivering the opportunity for an adequate education as required by a ruling of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

“Education funding has been the subject of more than two decades of lawsuits and legislative fights in this state. The children who formed the focus of the original Claremont lawsuit are old enough now to be raising their own children,” noted Senator Molly Kelly (D-Keene), who sponsored Senate Bill 180.

“We should be proud as a state to lay that conflict to rest with a sensible, constitutional and well-thought-out plan that defines, funds and now ensures our students have access to the education they need to move forward in life. It is an investment in our state and our nation’s future and I’m honored to have played a role,” Kelly said.

The bill grew out of recommendations created by a Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Accountability for an Adequate Education. It was co-sponsored by Kelly and Representative Emma Rous (D-Durham), chairwoman of the House Education Committee.

It follows two years of work by lawmakers. In the first year, lawmakers spelled the elements of an adequate education to include certain academic subjects and a new statewide requirement for kindergarten.

Last year, lawmakers developed a funding plan that allocates aid based on such factors as the number of teachers needed for a given number of pupils, special education needs and the percentage of low-income students in a school.