An Open Letter to Our State Legislators and Representatives

posted Nov 28, 2016, 11:58 AM by Mark MacLean   [ updated Nov 29, 2016, 2:14 AM ]
NH funds public education primarily through property taxes. The stress that this puts on property owners and educational institutions is significant. We recognize a need to change the system. Through collaborative work with the MVSD Board and through public input at various meetings, we have decided to take an active approach in imploring our state legislators and representatives to help bring about this change. We are hopeful that a change will not only provide some relief via property taxes, but will also allow public education systems to continue to provide a high quality educational experience for all of our unique learners. We truly believe that public education is of great value and is a hallmark of our society. As a public school system, we are the advocates for all of our learners. That stated, an equitable funding system is necessary.

Below is the body of an open letter that was sent out to state legislators and representatives of all MVSD communities:

You are receiving this email because you represent one of the Merrimack Valley School District (MVSD) towns (Boscawen, Loudon, Penacook, Salisbury, and Webster). First of all, thank you for your time and for your thoughtful representation of our communities. Public service is often (unfortunately) a thankless job. I am sending this email on behalf of the Merrimack Valley School Board, the MVSD administration and teachers, our communities, and our 2,500 students. Thank you in advance for taking a few moments to read this email.

We are sending this correspondence with the hopes that hearing from a public school system will further illuminate the stress that our current system for funding public education puts on our property owners and school systems. An unintended consequence of downshifting costs (as exemplified by increasing expenses connected with the retirement system, lack of school building aid, and recent cuts in stabilization funds) is that it compels the school systems to ask local property owners for more of their tax dollars.

Advances in medicine, diagnosis, and treatments, along with mental health awareness and opioids, have led to a changing dynamic in many of the young learners who enter our buildings on a daily basis. Even with a slightly decreasing enrollment, we find ourselves in greater demand for services and personnel to meet the needs of our students. Knowing that states also have never received the promised IDEA funding from the federal level, school systems find themselves in front of our communities asking for more as we continually strive to provide an engaging and high quality education to all of the children in our charge.

We believe that the state's process for funding public education puts school systems and property owners in adversarial roles. The lack of control property owners feel with increasing tax bills at times compels folks to look scornfully at their local education system. As a result, the public perception of the value of education is eroding. Public education is not looked at as one of the greatest public services that we have, rather it is sometimes considered to be an unnecessary drain on taxpayer resources.

We humbly ask that in your representative roles you will help us. Will you meet with the governor and/or governor-elect to help bring about change? As revenues continue to decline and student needs continue to increase, we're hopeful that our state government will bring substantive change that will provide relief for property owners, help restore the perceived value of public education, and most importantly allow school systems to positively impact all the unique learners that populate our buildings.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

If you believe that a different funding solution is necessary as well, please contact your representative and share your thoughts (based on our recent election, some of these representatives will change in January of 2017):

Boscawen
Andrew Hosmer - andrew.hosmer@leg.state.nh.us
Caroletta Alicea - caroletta.alicea@leg.state.nh.us
Jason Parent - jason.parent@leg.state.nh.us

Loudon
John Reagan - john.reagan111@gmail.com
Howard Moffett - howard.moffett@leg.state.nh.us
Jason Parent - jason.parent@leg.state.nh.us

Penacook/Concord
Dan Feltes - dan.feltes@leg.state.nh.us
Steve Shurtleff - steve.shurtleff@leg.state.nh.us
Mary Stuart Gile - mary.gile@leg.state.nh.us
Chip Rice - chip.rice@leg.state.nh.us
Paul Henle - paul.henle@leg.state.nh.us

Salisbury
Andrew Hosmer - andrew.hosmer@leg.state.nh.us
Mario Ratzki - mario.ratzki@leg.state.nh.us
David Karrick - david.karrick@leg.state.nh.us

Webster
Andrew Hosmer - andrew.hosmer@leg.state.nh.us
David Karrick - david.karrick@leg.state.nh.us
Clyde Carson - clyde.carson@leg.state.nh.us

Thank you for your time and continued support of the MVSD!
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