CONCORD, NH – June 26, 2019 – Today, elected officials and educators gathered at Somersworth Middle School to make a plea to the Governor: please do not hold our school districts, our communities, and our property taxpayers back by vetoing the recently proposed compromise by the legislature on the state budget.
“As every parent and educator knows, the last thing legislatures should be doing is decreasing school funding. But that is just what our Governor is indicating he may do by vetoing a budget that would provide the biggest increase in education funding in more than 20 years to maintain the current level of the business tax,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH President.
“New Hampshire has failed to provide stable, equitable and truly adequate funding for our public schools for decades, as our elected leaders put corporations ahead of students and property taxpayers while creating education budgets without knowing how much it actually costs to educate kids,” continued Tuttle.
“While educators throughout New Hampshire fulfill their promise with fidelity, since the opening of the first public school in the state of New Hampshire, the lingering battle of underfunding and broken commitments from the state has continued,” said Dana Hilliard, M.Ed, Principal Somersworth Middle School. “Cities and towns like Somersworth continue to struggle to find funding to offer an education which will enable our students to have the skills necessary to compete in a global marketplace. With each year, we sacrifice other needs of our cities and towns to ensure that the same promise and opportunity which were afforded to us, will be passed on.”
“Governor, each day educators throughout our state make good on their promise, they turn former failing schools like Somersworth Middle School into a school of excellence. We have made good on our promise, our promise to be there each and every day to meet the needs of every student. This is your chance to make good on your promise. Do it, and sign the budget bill,” continued Hillard.
Dover Mayor Karen Weston pointedly asked the Governor to “put the politics aside” and sign the budget that would bring relief to the citizens of Dover.
Ed Olson, an educator at Somersworth High and Middle School commented “we know that money alone is not the answer to all educational ills, but more equitable and adequate allocation of funds to schools builds the best base for improving the outcomes for everyone. Our economy depends on a well-educated, high-quality workforce and that means investing in our students. Investments in students are investments in their future and ours.”
“State money dedicated for children has been consistently cut over the last 25 years,” said Matt Pappas, educator and Rochester School Board Member. “Cuts in state aid have forced Rochester to cut dozens of classroom teachers, many programs and delay maintenance projects. The time for action is now, and the best thing Governor Sununu can do is support this proposed state budget.”
“The chances your child has for success should not depend on living in the right zip code. We need to bring effective approaches into every single classroom, because if we’re serious about every child’s future, then we need to be serious about doing what works,” said Tuttle. “The research is clear: Funded and cared for public schools are our best bet for setting every kid in New Hampshire off toward a great future. This budget begins to fill the gaps decades of underfunding have created and we all urge the Governor to sign it.”