SB145 is intended to maintain the level of fiscal year 2022 state funding for school districts that have experienced significant disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic in fiscal year 2021. These disruptions have affected fall 2020 average daily membership in attendance, the number upon which fiscal year 2022 funding is based. This bill will help school districts plan for town meetings, and help stabilize local property taxes.
During the 2020-2021 school year, average daily membership attendance (ADMA) fell by approximately 8,000 students, due to shifting between in-person and remote learning. Free and reduced lunch enrollment fell by approximately 10,000, because of COVID-19 as well.
NEA-NH President Megan Tuttle offered the following testimony:
This bill would provide some urgently needed stability for school districts as we enter town budget season
We know a lot of districts are seeing an extraordinary drop in enrollment this fall due to the pandemic and as educators in our communities, hear that many of those students will be returning this fall
We also supported SB 135 and the provisions from that bill that took into account enrollment drop and Free and Reduced lunch issue, but the fiscal disparity aid is enormously important as well for those districts who lack the necessary property wealth in our state. Those communities that are having to make incredibly difficult budget choices for the upcoming year that don’t really reflect even the baseline needs of their community. The aid was so valuable to the districts that were able to make critical investments(like new technology) for their students or deliver much needed property tax relief for residents who feel like they are forced to choose between the two.
This bill can serve as a bridge to the next bill you where we can address on a more long-term basis the funding inequities in some of our communities with the greatest funding challenges
We desperately need to solve the inequity of our funding process and so I would also urge you to support the next bill as well and so I hope you will invest the time on SB 158 and making the commission’s work something that can pass the legislature as and NEA-NH is committed to working with this committee and the legislature to work on this issue coming out of the pandemic. After the commission’s work this past year, we need to stay the course on fixing our school funding formula rather than diverting our public tax dollars for private and religious schools at this time.
NEA-NH supports this temporary change.