Commission to Study School Funding Launched; COVID-19 Update

Monday, March 23, 2020

New Hampshire School Funding Commission Members sit around a Conference Table

In order to keep the public informed, especially at a time when we are staying apart in order to stem the spread of COVID-19, we will post occasional blogs describing the work of the Commission to Study School Funding. The Commission held its first meeting on January 13 and met weekly through March 16, when the General Court suspended all activity due to the virus. Our meetings have been a blend of hearing from state agency officials and other experts in school financing, reviewing past efforts to address the adequacy/school funding topic, and getting organized to carry out the Commission’s charge over the next 9 months. Minutes and recordings of our meetings to date, as well as links to a variety of resources, are available through the Carsey School’s website.  

In its early work, the Commission has used a design thinking process to define the problem we are addressing. We have identified five core topics for research and analysis, leading to policy recommendations in the fall. These are 1) defining adequacy, 2) addressing equity and disparities, 3) the mix of revenue sources, 4) funding formula and distribution of funds, and 5) student outcomes and achievement. Each of these is closely interrelated. We have created three subcommittee workgroups to divide up the work around fiscal policy and revenue, adequacy and the allocation of funds to communities, and ways to hear from and engage the public.

During the time of COVID-19, however long that may be, we will not hold Commission meetings or conduct any group business, consistent with public health guidelines to minimize social contact. In the meantime, Commissioners will be doing their homework remotely with the support of Carsey staff, much like our school kids all over the state. Please let us know what’s on your mind, too. Use the Questions/Comments button on the Commission website to ask questions or provide input. And please follow the CDC and state guidelines as we all do our part to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy.

~Bruce L. Mallory, Carsey School of Public Policy