NEW IPSWICH — The Contoocook Valley (ConVal) Regional School District lawsuit against the state over school funding continues to pick up support, with the Mascenic Regional School District becoming the latest to join.
“There is no responsibility more important than ensuring that all of our children receive an adequate education in preparing for their future,” said Mascenic Superintendent Stephen Russell.
Mascenic, which represents the communities of Mason, New Ipswich and Greenville, becomes the fourth school district involved in the lawsuit, along with ConVal, Monadnock and Winchester. The lawsuit seeks to increase the state’s adequacy grants from the current $3,636 per pupil per year, to about $10,000.
ConVal filed the lawsuit against the state last month, naming Gov. Chris Sununu, Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut and the Department of Education as defendants in the case. The lawsuit maintains that the state has failed to pay for an adequate education, as required by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in its rulings in the so-called Claremont lawsuits of the 1980s and 1990s.
The ConVal lawsuit claims the state ignores its own data when it calculates the annual adequacy grants, resulting in significant under-funding for the districts.
“We also believe that adequate levels of school funding should not be determined through an arbitrary process of ‘pick and choose’ dependent upon the subjective judgment of others,” Russell said. “Adequate levels of school funding should be based upon the data compiled annually by the Department of Education on the actual costs districts incur in providing services to our students.”
The case is currently pending a ruling from Judge David Ruoff in the Cheshire Superior Court following a hearing on the merits.
Ruoff declined to grant an immediate injunction for the districts, which would have immediately meant millions of dollars in funding. He is expected to issue a ruling in the coming weeks, and has already expressed skepticism over the state’s funding formula.
“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.