KEENE — There’s no big payday yet for the Contoocook Valley Regional School District in its lawsuit against the state over education funding.
Cheshire Superior Court Judge David Ruoff late last week denied ConVal’s request for an injunction against the state, which would have meant millions of dollars for the multi-town school district with offices in Peterborough.
ConVal’s lawsuit claims that the state is shorting the district when it comes to paying for an adequate education, something the New Hampshire Supreme Court deemed was a constitutional right in the Claremont lawsuits from the 1990s.
ConVal pays around $18,000 per pupil per year, while the state contributes a little more than $3,600 per pupil per year. ConVal is joined by the Winchester School District in the lawsuit. In seeking an injunction against the state, the district wanted Ruoff to order payments of more than $20 million to the two districts to make up the difference between what the state pays, and what the districts think it should pay.
Michael Tierney, ConVal’s attorney, argued in court that the state’s adequate education grants should be closer to $10,000 per pupil based on the state’s own data. The current grant amount of $3,636 is the result of the state using bad numbers in the grant formula, Tierney said. Ruoff’s order states that the $3,636 grant amount is likely too low.
“It does not appear, based on the (New Hampshire Department Of Education) data, that there is a single school district in the State that could function if it only spent $3,636 on each student,” Ruoff wrote.
Ruoff’s order leaves open the possibility of more money for the districts. He will make a final determination on the merits of the case in June.