Featured image of article: Derry Cooperative School District Joins ConVal Lawsuit

Derry Cooperative School District Joins ConVal Lawsuit

The Derry Cooperative School District will join the ConVal School District’s lawsuit filed seeking equitable education funding for all New Hampshire schoolchildren.

“As the third-largest school district in the state, the Derry School Board believes that fighting for funding that accurately reflects the cost of educating our students is critical,” Derry School Board Chair Erika Cohen said. “The state must live up to its responsibility to fund education.”

The ConVal District filed suit against the State of New Hampshire and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut in 2019. The suit maintains that the state does not meet its constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding for all students. Plaintiffs argue that base adequacy is not sufficient to fund an adequate education and falls far short of funding services, positions, and items that the State requires school districts to provide. In 2019 districts received $3,636 per student in base adequacy. 

The Supreme Court of New Hampshire in March rejected the state’s requests to dismiss the lawsuit and returned it to Superior Court Judge David Ruoff. Ruoff will hold hearings that will allow ConVal and its co-plaintiffs to present factual evidence that the state underfunds education. An evidentiary hearing is unlikely to be held until summer 2022.

Derry is the largest school district in the state to join the lawsuit, educating more than 3,000 students. Other co-plaintiff districts are Claremont, Fall Mountain, Grantham, Hillsboro-Deering, Mascenic, Monadnock, Newport, Oyster River, and Winchester.

“We welcome Derry as a co-plaintiff,” ConVal Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Rizzo Saunders said. “Their support reinforces our position that the state’s failure to provide equitable funding hurts all districts’ students, no matter how large or small the district.”