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Hearings on amendments to give state sole authority for education funding draw opposition

CONCORD -- Never able to swallow a school funding amendment, the New Hampshire House has two smaller amendments on its plate this year.

One deals with power: The people empower the Legislature to give local government the power to establish schools, at the expense of the local government.

The other says the Legislature has the authority to set standards for public education and mitigate disparities in education spending among communities.

Both stress that the Legislature has the sole authority to determine how much state money will be spent on education.

If both amendments were adopted, they would support each other, said Rep. Dan Itse, R-Fremont, sponsor of both bills.

His proposal removes the word responsibility from an amendment text. That word had been part of a failed effort last year to pass an amendment in a Republican-controlled House.

"(Last year's language) reads eerily similar to the Communist Manifesto - from those according to their abilities to those according to their needs,." Itse said.

The proposals drew only a handful of questions from the House Education Committee at hearings Tuesday morning, and only three people testified at the two hearings, all in opposition.

Rep. Barbara Shaw, D-Manchester, the vice-chairman of the committee, predicted the bills will be shot down.

"At this point, my feeling is the bills are not necessary and will probably cause more confusion than do any good."

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