Letter: The heart of the school funding problem

Published: 7/20/2018 12:01:14 AM

Paying too much in property taxes? Not getting the quality education that your child deserves? You’re not alone. Seventy-four percent of adults in New Hampshire live in a town that is at or below the equalized valuation per pupil, or EVP.

In its simplest form, the EVP is a number that represents a town’s available tax base to pay for its students. It’s calculated by dividing the town’s total property values by the number of students in the town.

If your town’s EVP is high, you can afford to have a low tax rate and still have lots of money for education. If your town’s EVP is low, you must have a high tax rate in order to afford basic educational costs.

It’s not a school budget problem; it’s a state funding problem.

We need a solution that equalizes property tax rates across the state of New Hampshire. A great education is a right for all N.H. kids.

Property-poor communities cannot continue to pay more and more than our wealthier neighboring communities. The state needs to step up and own its constitutional responsibilities. Students are the ultimate victims as their schools continue to decline and taxpayers are pushed beyond their limits.

In the Claremont lawsuit, the court concluded that the provision of an “adequate education” was a state responsibility and under the constitution must therefore be funded by taxes that are uniform in their rates. How can we provide an “adequate education” to our students without breaking the backs of the majority of N.H. property owners?

LAUREL BISSONNETTE

Pittsfield




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