April 10, 2019
On Friday, a week after our preliminary injunction hearing, the judge denied our request for an immediate increase in education funding from the state. Overall, this is a very positive result for ConVal. Although denying an immediate injunction, the case will be completed within the fiscal year. So although April 1 has passed, the issue is not moot, according to Judge Ruoff. The districts “seek funds from the State as fulfillment of its constitutional obligations during the 2019 Fiscal Year,” he wrote, meaning we can still try to claim those funds until June 30. The judge also clearly sees the issue, that no school district can provide an adequate education with the State’s current “adequacy” payment.
Our argument, joined by the Winchester School District, is that New Hampshire’s school funding levels fall unconstitutionally short of what it actually takes to educate a child in our state. Our lawsuit builds on the NH Supreme Court case law going back to the Claremont I and II of the 1990’s. At that time, it was established that the state has a duty to provide and fund an “adequate education” and the funding system in place at that time, was invalidated.
Again, the most important part of this step, although denied, was that we got our objection to the inadequacy of the April 1st adequacy payment onto the record. We were never counting on $20+ million being deposited into our bank account last week. We knew it would not be that easy.
This judge’s ruling was good for us, as he ruled that he had the power to grant the relief we are seeking, that he can do that any time prior to the end of the fiscal year, and that he intended to rule one way or the other well before then. He also signaled that he was open to our basic argument. All in all, this was a very positive result.
We will continue to keep you informed as we move forward in this process.
— The ConVal School Board