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Bar Journal - Summer 2007

Claremont, Londonderry, and Beyond: The Problematic Definition of Adequate Education in New Hampshire

By:

This article catalogs another chapter in New Hampshire’s Dickensian saga of struggle over education finance reform. In Londonderry School District SAU # 12 v. State1 (“Londonderry”), the Supreme Court signaled that the story may be far from over. Depending on where your loyalties lie, you may view the Londonderry Court as poised to bring about the best of times or the worst of times in New Hampshire Supreme Court jurisprudence. Or, as you read on, you may conclude that it is a little of both.

       
The story began in 1992, in Claremont, when a group of school districts, students, and taxpayers brought a declaratory judgment action, alleging that New Hampshire’s system of education finance violated the state Constitution.
2 The New Hampshire Supreme Court ultimately agreed, interpreting the New Hampshire Constitution to “impose[] a duty on the State to provide a constitutionally adequate education . . . and to guarantee adequate funding.”3  Careful to tread lightly, the Court left the legislature with the task of defining “adequate education.”4  Thirteen years and several legislative attempts later, in Londonderry, the Court held that the legislature still has not gotten it right.

     
This article examines the problematic definition of a constitutionally adequate education.
5  Part II provides an abbreviated backstory of education finance litigation in New Hampshire. Part III provides close reads of the Londonderry majority and concurring/dissenting opinions. Part IV argues that the Londonderry majority added more confusion and complexity to the Court’s existing matrix of education finance law, and has charted a course that may end with a violation of the separation of powers. Part V briefly surveys the legislative and executive responses to Londonderry. Finally, as future remedies, Part VI urges the Court to uphold the legislature’s new definition of adequate education and to adopt the approach of facial invalidation for further education law infirmities, as recommended by Justice Galway’s dissent.    

 

II. The Claremont Backstory

Education funding litigation in New Hampshire was born from finger painting and leaky roofs. By the late eighties, the Claremont School District faced a serious funding crisis.6  Accordingly, it cut athletic and kindergarten programs.7  Still underfunded, the district’s failure to make necessary structural repairs resulted in the revocation of its high school’s accreditation.8  In response, poor school districts, taxpayers, and students challenged the constitutionality of the school funding system.9  Specifically, the plaintiffs urged the trial court to strike down the state’s education funding system under Part II, Article 83 of the New Hampshire Constitution.10 

     
Finding that Article 83 only set forth an “amorphous duty to ‘cherish . . . public schools’ and ‘to encourage private and public institutions,’” the superior court interpreted Article 83 as merely “hortatory”
11 and thus granted the state’s motion to dismiss.12

     
On appeal, however, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed. Using the framers’ intent as its polestar, Claremont I concluded that Article 83 “imposed a duty on the State to provide universal education and to support the schools.”
13  The Court also held that every citizen holds a corresponding substantive right to an adequate education.14  Limiting the scope of its holding, the Claremont I majority left the precise definition of an adequate education to the legislature15 and remanded the case to the trial court for a hearing on the merits.16 

     
On remand—in a ruling that would give rise to the Claremont II decision—the trial court held that the education provided in the plaintiff school districts was constitutionally adequate.
17  In 1997, the New Hampshire Supreme Court again reversed, holding that the “property tax levied to fund education” constituted a “state” tax (as opposed to a local tax) and thus ran afoul of Part II, Article 518 of the New Hampshire Constitution.19  The Court also characterized the right to adequate education as “fundamental.”20 

     
Finally, the Claremont II Court struck down the state’s proffered definition of “adequate education.”
21  The state had relied on a terse definition provided by the State Board of Education. Finding that the definition did “not sufficiently reflect the letter or the spirit of the New Hampshire Constitution’s mandate,” the Court cited the seven criteria articulated by the Supreme Court of Kentucky as “benchmarks of a constitutionally adequate public education.”22 

     
Thus, the Claremont II Court held that “[a] constitutionally adequate public education” should incorporate:

(i)   sufficient oral and written communication skills to enable students to function in a complex and rapidly changing civilization;

(ii)  sufficient knowledge of economic, social, and political systems to enable the student to make informed choices;

(iii) sufficient understanding of governmental processes to enable the student to understand the issues that affect his or her community, state, and nation;

(iv) sufficient self-knowledge and knowledge of his or her mental and physical wellness;

(v)  sufficient grounding in the arts to enable each student to appreciate his or her cultural and historical heritage;

(vi) sufficient training or preparation for advanced training in either academic or vocational fields so as to enable each child to choose and pursue life work intelligently; and

(vii)            sufficient levels of academic or vocational skills to enable public school students to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states, in academics or in the job market.23

 

The Claremont II Court acknowledged the potential for a breach of the separation of powers and stated its expectation that the legislature would “develop and adopt specific criteria implementing these guidelines.”24  The Court commented that it was not “appointed to establish educational policy” and, accordingly, left the task of defining the specific substantive content of an adequate education “to the two co-equal branches of government.”25 

     
Subsequent developments have added further complexity to the Claremont matrix. In Claremont IX,
26 the Court responded to the New Hampshire Senate’s request for an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of proposed education finance legislation.27  Finding that the bill’s funding mechanism impermissibly relied on local property taxes, the Court commented that the bill’s failure to identify and define the elements of an adequate education precluded any further consideration of its constitutionality.28  Then, in Claremont XI,29 the Court held that the state’s duty to provide a constitutionally adequate education required it to create standards of accountability.30  Accordingly, it instructed the legislature “to fulfill its duty to provide a constitutionally adequate education and incorporate meaningful accountability in the education system.”31  Justices Nadeau and Dalianis dissented, raising separation of powers concerns and commenting that “[t]he time ha[d] come for the supreme court to conclude its jurisdiction over [the Claremont] appeal.”32

 

III. The Londonderry Decision

      A. Facts and Procedural Posture          

Londonderry began with the filing of a petition for declaratory judgment by the Londonderry School District School Administrative Unit #12, the Merrimack School District School Administrative Unit # 26, and the New Hampshire Communities for Adequate Funding of Education (collectively, the “plaintiffs”).33  Seeking adjudication directly from the New Hampshire Supreme Court, the plaintiffs alleged that House Bill 616—a proposed education funding law—violated the state Constitution.34  The Supreme Court declined to exercise its original jurisdiction, instructing the superior court to perform further fact-finding.35  Consequently, the plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment action and a motion for summary judgment, contending that House Bill 616: (1) failed to “define, determine the cost of, and ensure delivery of a constitutionally adequate education”; (2) required the districts to fund constitutionally adequate education via local taxes; (3) vitiated donor communities and imposed a disproportionate tax burden on property-poor districts; and (4) violated the Equal Protection Clause of the New Hampshire Constitution.36

     
The superior court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding House Bill 616 unconstitutional on its face.
37  Specifically, Judge Groff found that the state failed to define an adequate education, determine its cost, satisfy the accountability requirement, and violated Part II, Article 5 of the New Hampshire Constitution by creating a non-uniform tax rate.38 

 

      B. State’s Argument on Appeal

The New Hampshire Supreme Court limited its inquiry to whether the state had defined a constitutionally adequate education.39  The state argued that RSA 193-E:2 (Supp. 2005), entitled “Criteria for an Equitable Education” provided the requisite definition of a constitutionally adequate education.40  That statute closely tracks the seven aspirational guidelines articulated in Claremont II.41  The state asserted that the statute comported with those upheld in West Virginia, Kentucky, Montana, and Washington.42  This definition, the state argued, far exceeded the constitutionally-prescribed requirements because it complied with the No Child Left Behind Act43 and—through “annual testing and statewide performance targets”—created a comprehensive system of accountability.44  Finally, the state contended, the definition of adequacy in RSA 193-E:2 notwithstanding, the legislature had effectively delegated its duty to create uniform standards to the State Board of Education.45  In response, the state contended, the Board had enacted “comprehensive and detailed minimum standards for public school approval.”46

 

      C. Holding

In an opinion authored by Justice Hicks, the Supreme Court dispensed with all four of the state’s contentions. After distilling the essential principles from its prior Claremont holdings, the Court addressed the argument that the proffered definition of educational adequacy was comparable to those upheld by courts of last resort in four other states.47  The Court distinguished the other statutory schemes, opining that “although each state . . . provides, as part of a comprehensive statutory scheme, a general definition of an adequate education, each state also establishes a mechanism through which educational content is identified in fulfillment of constitutional duties.”48

Furthermore, the Court commented that the state’s assertion that its system of education went “well beyond constitutional adequacy” revealed the crux of the issue before it.49  Specifically, the Court noted that “[i]f the statutory scheme that is in place provides for more than constitutional adequacy, then the state has yet to isolate what parts of the scheme comprise constitutional adequacy.”50  Because of the law’s indiscernible minimum level of constitutional adequacy, the Court found that cost could not be isolated and “meaningful judicial review” would be precluded.51 

     
Punctuating its opinion with the statement that “[t]he task of developing specific criteria of an adequate education is for the legislature,” the Court went on to assert that the legislature’s dereliction of this duty enables the possibility that a superior court or special master will have to define and implement Claremont II’s seven aspirational guidelines.
52  Because such a task is “replete with policy decisions,” the Court stated that it is “best suited for the legislative or executive branches.”53  Here the Court laid down its central holding that, standing alone, RSA 193-E:2 does not satisfy the state’s duty to define a constitutionally adequate education “in such a manner that the citizens of this state can know what the parameters of that educational program are.”54

     
The Court next addressed the state’s argument that, aside from RSA 193-E:2, the legislature delegated authority to the Board of Education to “prescribe uniform standards for all public schools in New Hampshire.”
55  Teasing out this argument, the Court commented that if the state’s position were that RSA 193-E:2 together with the present regulatory framework define a constitutionally adequate education, then, by implication, the state would be constitutionally required to pay for the entire regulatory and statutory scheme.56  If true, the Court questioned whether the $837 million House Bill 616 allocated for education would be “facially sufficient to fund the school system as required by that statutory scheme.”57  Alternatively, it hypothesized that if the combined effect of RSA 193-E:2 and its corresponding regulations provide a level of education exceeding constitutional requirements, “the point of demarcation cannot currently be determined.”58  Finally, the Court stated that the definition of constitutional adequacy must be “sufficiently clear to permit common understanding and allow for an objective determination of costs.”59 

 

      D. Disposition

The Court stayed the other issues on appeal, namely the superior court’s finding that the legislature failed to determine cost and satisfy the accountability requirement, as well as the allegation that the existing statutory scheme “established a non-uniform tax rate.”60  The Court retained jurisdiction “[a]s to the core definitional issues,” giving the legislature until the end of fiscal year—July 1, 2007.61  If the legislature passed the deadline without providing a proper definition, the Court stated that it would be “required to take further action to enforce the mandates of Part II, Article 83 of the New Hampshire Constitution.”62  Its remedies “may include”: (1) striking down House Bill 616’s funding mechanism; (2) assigning a special master to “aid in the determination of the definition of a constitutionally adequate education”; or (3) remanding the case to the superior court for a ruling on whether the State has provided funding sufficient to support a constitutionally adequate education.63

 

E.   Justice Duggan’s Special
Concurrence and Dissent

Justice Duggan, who authored the Claremont XI opinion, specially concurred and dissented in part. Justice Duggan contended that the majority misframed its inquiry, and argued that the Court should have looked to whether House Bill 616 provided municipalities with the funding necessary to support an adequate education.64  Commenting that the definition of adequacy would be “meaningless without a determination of its cost,” Justice Duggan opined that a determination of cost would also be “less problematic.”65  Finally, he suggested that such an inquiry would better address the gravamen of the plaintiffs’ complaint—”that, by virtue of House Bill 616, the plaintiff school districts are receiving less education funding from the state than they have received in the past.”66  Justice Duggan would have remanded the case to the trial court for fact-finding on the cost of an adequate education.67  

     
Justice Duggan also disagreed with the majority’s and Justice Galway’s interpretation of Claremont II’s requirements. First, he pointed out that contrary to Justice Galway’s reading, Claremont II “does not create a scheme under which any single piece of education funding legislation failing to satisfy . . . [its four] mandates will be automatically unconstitutional.”
68  Second, in contrast to the majority, Justice Duggan opined that RSA 193-E:2 “provides a sufficient starting point” for the Court to consider the other Claremont mandates.69

 

F.   Justice Galway’s Special Concurrence and Dissent

Justice Galway agreed with the majority that the state failed to define a constitutionally adequate education.70  He dissented, however, from the majority’s proposed remedies, suggesting that the “judiciary should be unwilling to assume” the risk of stepping into the province of the legislature.71  As such, Justice Galway would have held House Bill 616 unconstitutional on its face.72    

 

IV. Analysis

The Londonderry holding further muddies the murky waters of education finance law in New Hampshire, adding more complexity and confusion to the Claremont matrix and threatening to violate the state Constitution’s separation of powers mandate.

 

      A. Tangled Mandates

First, although the Londonderry majority charges that the legislature failed to “give specific substantive content to the word [education] and to the program it deems necessary to provide that education within the broad guidelines,”73 the Court does not provide a cogent explanation of why RSA 193-E:2 coupled with the Board of Education’s rules and regulations fall short. Instead, the Court contends that because the state has asserted that the statute and regulations exceed the constitutional floor, its argument automatically fails because “the point of demarcation” above and below a constitutionally adequate education cannot be determined.74  Alternatively, the Court hypothesizes that if the state’s position were that RSA 193-E:2 and its accompanying regulations define adequate education then, by virtue of Claremont II’s mandate that the state must define and fund an adequate education, House Bill 616’s allotted $837 million would be insufficient.75 

     
Although the majority purported to limit itself to defining a constitutionally adequate education,
76 this line of reasoning steps beyond that first Claremont mandate, into the realm of mandates two: “determine the cost [of an adequate education],” and three: “fund it with constitutional taxes.”77  Here the Londonderry majority has based its reasoning not on the state’s proffered definition itself—in fact the Court goes so far as to say that if the state’s position is that the statute and regulations define an adequate education then it “defer[s] to the legislature’s judgment”—but rather on the supposed inadequacy of state funding to support such a definition. This rationale blurs the legislature’s responsibilities to define an adequate education and to provide adequate funding, implying that the two are inextricably tangled.

     
Justice Duggan’s dissent addresses this entanglement. Because “[a] specific definition of adequacy is meaningless without a determination of its cost,” Justice Duggan would have remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether House Bill 616 provides “sufficient funding to pay for a constitutionally adequate education.”
78  Commenting that “[i]t is thus unclear . . . what level of statutory specificity as to the definition of a constitutionally adequate education is compelled by the Constitution,” Justice Duggan would have held that the current statutory scheme did not preclude consideration of the other issues on appeal.79

     
Justice Duggan’s dissent, however, suffers from the same lack of clarity as the majority. He declines to directly address whether RSA 193-E:2 provides a sufficient definition of a constitutionally adequate education. For example, he comments that although a more specific statutory articulation would better lend itself to judicial review, “RSA 193-E:2 provides a sufficient starting point” to consider whether House Bill 616 satisfies the other Claremont mandates.
80 This statement cryptically suggests that Justice Duggan would find that RSA 193-E:2’s naked importation of the seven Claremont II guidelines passes constitutional muster. Unfortunately, however, Justice Duggan goes on to retreat from that stance, disagreeing with Justice Galway’s assertion that Claremont II lays out four conjunctive mandates.81  Instead, he opines that “[w]hile the obligation to articulate [the definition of a constitutionally adequate education] remains, Claremont II does not require us to declare funding legislation unconstitutional for this reason alone.”82  Moreover, he concludes his concurring/dissenting opinion by commenting that “a legislative determination of the cost of a constitutionally adequate education . . . could also satisfy the need to define a constitutionally adequate education.”83 

     
The product of Justice Duggan’s discordant statements is still more confusion. First, his opinion does not articulate whether RSA 193-E:2 provides a sufficient definition of a constitutionally adequate education. Second, he suggests that Justice Galway, and perhaps the majority, have mistakenly interpreted the four Claremont mandates as conjunctive. Because Justice Duggan would have held that the legislature’s obligation to define an adequate education persists, it is unclear how that obligation would remain meaningful if the Court held that funding legislation lacking a proper definition passes constitutional muster. Finally, Justice Duggan’s dissent hints that the Claremont precedent should be overruled to the extent that it bifurcates the state’s obligation to define and to fund a constitutionally adequate education. This approach fails the acid test of practical application: how can the legislature determine the cost of an adequate education if it can’t define it?

 

B.   The Common Understanding Requirement  

Second, in striking down the state’s proffered definition of an adequate education, the Court grafted a new “common understanding” requirement onto the already top-heavy Claremont matrix. Specifically, the Court opined that “[a]ny definition of constitutional adequacy crafted by the political branches must be sufficiently clear to permit common understanding”84 and commented that “[s]tanding alone, RSA 193-E:2 does not fulfill the state’s duty to define the substantive content of a constitutionally adequate education in such a manner that the citizens of this state can know what the parameters of that educational program are.”85  So now, in addition to the requirements of Claremont I, Claremont II, Claremont IX, and Claremont XI, the legislature must also provide a definition of adequate education understandable to its citizens. This seems hypocritical, considering that the Court’s own jurisprudence on the subject has been far from universally comprehensible over the last 13 years.

 

      C. Separation of Powers Concerns

Third, the Londonderry majority warned that if the legislature failed to properly define adequate education it would be “required to take further action to enforce the mandates” of the education provision of the New Hampshire Constitution.86  Among its list of possible remedies, the Court provided that it could assign a special master to “aid in the determination of the definition of a constitutionally adequate education.”87  Recognizing the obvious separation of powers concerns such a remedy would trigger, the Court went on to point out that for more than 13 years it had deferred to the legislature in “shaping educational and fiscal policy.”88  But, in an ominous tone, the Court concluded, “[d]eference, however, has its limits. . . . We urge the legislature to act.”

     
The appointment of a special master to define a constitutionally adequate education would violate Part I, Article 37 of the New Hampshire Constitution’s mandate that the representative branches possess discrete powers of governance. The New Hampshire Supreme Court has interpreted Part I, Article 37 to prohibit “each branch from encroaching upon the powers and functions of the other branches.”
89  Inarguably, the enactment of legislation is the “prerogative and responsibility of the legislature.”90  Consistent with the text of the Constitution, the Court has repeatedly held that educational policy is “a question for the legislature.”91  Thus, by appointing a special master “to aid in the determination of the definition of a constitutionally adequate education,”92 the judiciary would impermissibly encroach on the power and function of the legislature.93 

     
Anticipating the separation of powers problem, the Londonderry Court asserted in the final portion of its opinion: “[T]he judiciary has a responsibility to ensure that constitutional rights not be hollowed out and, in the absence of action by other branches, a judicial remedy is not only appropriate but essential.”
94  The majority then goes on to cite Petition of Below,95 which involved the Court’s implementation of a judicial reapportionment plan in the wake of repeated failures by the legislature.96  That case followed the Court’s establishment of a new plan for voting districts in Burling v. Chandler.97  The Burling Court justified its foray into the province of the legislature according to the principle announced by the U.S. Supreme Court98 that “when the legislature has failed to act, it is the judiciary’s duty to devise a constitutionally valid reapportionment plan.”99  Neither the U.S. nor the New Hampshire Supreme Courts have ever suggested that Burling’s exception to the separation of powers doctrine applies beyond the context of reapportionment plans.100 

     
Thus, no precedent requires the Court to provide a judicial remedy for the legislature’s failure to define an adequate education. Even if there were such a requirement, striking down the legislation, as suggested later in Part V, seems like the best way to produce the desired result. Nothing would incite lawmakers like voters enraged that their children will not start school in September because the legislature failed to act.

 

V. Executive and Legislative Responses

      A. Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Londonderry renewed the call for a constitutional amendment to limit judicial authority over education finance.101  Although Senate Republicans urged the governor to call a special legislative session to put a broadly-reaching constitutional amendment on the ballot for the November 2006 elections, Governor Lynch declined.102  Instead, he expressed his intent to wait until January 2007, when the legislature reconvened.103  Governor Lynch also voiced concern that a constitutional amendment that precluded any further court review could prompt “a race to the bottom,” allowing the legislature to drastically reduce education funding.104 

     
Ultimately, Governor Lynch’s attempt to spark reform fell short. In June 2007, the constitutional amendment that he championed—which would have abrogated Claremont II’s mandate that the state bears the sole responsibility to fund an adequate education
105—failed to pass the Senate by one vote.106  Although the amendment left the state’s duty to define a constitutionally adequate education untouched, and thus would not have affected the scope of this article, it would have sent a strong message to the judiciary.

 

      B. Legislation

Lawmakers passed legislation responding to Londonderry’s command in late June 2007.107  Governor Lynch subsequently signed the bill into law.108  The law provides a broad outline of content, defined by the state minimum education standards and supplemented by an extensive regulatory framework.109  The definition’s subject areas include “[e]nglish/language arts and reading, mathematics, science, social studies, arts, world languages, health education, physical education, technology and information and communication technologies.”110  In addition, the law’s definition “highlights the additional tools and instructional capacity that some schools will need to achieve student success.”111  The definition also empowers lawmakers to empanel a committee to evaluate the cost of an adequate education.112  Finally, the law doesn’t specify whether the state must provide half- or full-day kindergarten, allowing lawmakers to decide at a later date.113 

 

VI. Suggested Remedies

This article now attempts to provide a remedy for the problems discussed in Part IV. As articulated above, the saga of education finance reform in New Hampshire has grown increasingly complex. Accordingly, this part suggests that, like all complicated problems, the best remedy lies in a simple solution.

     
Quite simply, therefore, the Court should uphold the state’s new definition of adequate education. In sum, the law is that the state’s definition must incorporate the seven Claremont II guidelines, permit “common understanding,” and allow for an “objective determination of costs.”  Arguably, RSA 193-E:2’s greatest weakness was its vagueness, which hindered the calculation of its cost. While the new definition won’t satisfy every advocate, it certainly provides more than “a sufficient starting point” for an objective determination of cost. Moreover, it permits common understanding and incorporates Claremont II’s aspirational guidelines.

     
Requiring a more elaborate definition will place Londonderry ’s common understanding requirement on a collision course with itself. Effectively, the more detailed the definition provided by the legislature, the less likely it will enable the people of New Hampshire to discern its parameters. Indeed, putting aside separation of powers concerns, this quandary illustrates the practical reality of appointing a special master to define an adequate education. She will face the same difficulties as the legislature in catering to Londonderry’s pronouncements, but may possess less time and fewer resources to do so. 

     
And the story does not end here. Recall that Londonderry addressed only the first of a four-tiered inquiry. Once the Court approves the state’s definition, it will then have to address the other Claremont mandates. In the wake of further constitutional infirmities, facial invalidation, as recommended by Justice Galway, must serve as the Court’s sole remedy. Anything beyond invalidation usurps the power of the legislature to define the educational policy for the State of New Hampshire.

 

VI. Conclusion

Whether the legislature’s new definition of an adequate education will satisfy the Londonderry Court’s directive remains uncertain. On further review, the Court should hold that the new law comprises the base definition of a constitutionally adequate education in New Hampshire. Moreover, if the Court sees fit to strike down the education funding legislation on other grounds, it should stick to the remedy of facial invalidation advocated by Justice Galway. Any additional action by the Court threatens a breach of the separation of powers mandated by the New Hampshire Constitution.

     

Endnotes

1.     Londonderry Sch. Dist. SAU # 12 v. State, 907 A.2d 988, 988-89 (N.H. 2006).

2.     Claremont Sch. Dist. v. Governor (Claremont I), 635 A.2d 1375, 1377 (N.H. 1993).

3.     Id. at 1381.

4.     Id.

5.     This article assumes without deciding that Claremont I was decided correctly—i.e., that the text of the New Hampshire Constitution hoists a duty on the state to provide an adequate education.  For a well-reasoned analysis questioning, among other things, whether the Court correctly interpreted the state Constitution, see Edward C. Mosca, New Hampshire’s Claremont Case and the Separation of Powers, 4 Pierce L. Rev. 409 (2006).

6.     Andru H. Volinsky, New Hampshire’s Education Funding Litigation: Claremont School District v. Governor, 635 A.2d 1375 (N.H. 1993), Modified, 703 A.2d 1353 (N.H. 1997), 83 Neb. L. Rev. 836, 839 (2005). 

7.     Id. at 841.

8.     Id.

9.     Id.

10.    Claremont Sch. Dist. v. Governor (Claremont I), 635 A.2d 1375, 1377 (N.H. 1993).

11.    “Hortatory” means “intended to excite and encourage.”  Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 796 (1993).

12.    Claremont I, 635 A.2d at 1377.

13.    Id. at 1380-81.

14.    Id. at 1381.

15.    Id.

16.    Id.

17.    Claremont Sch. Dist. v. Governor (Claremont II), 703 A.2d 1353, 1354 (N.H. 1997)

18.    Part II, Article 5 of the New Hampshire Constitution mandates that state taxes conform to the principles of proportionality and rationality. 

19.    Claremont II, 703 A.2d at 1357.

20.    Id. at 1359.

21.    Id.

22.    Id. at 1359.

23.    Id. (quoting Rose v. Council for Better Educ., Inc., 790 S.W.2d 186, 212 (Ky. 1989)).

24.    Id. at 1359-60.

25.    Id. at 1360.

26.    Opinion of the Justices (Reformed Pub. Sch. Fin. Sys.) (Claremont IX), 765 A.2d 673 (N.H. 2000).

27.    Id. at 675.

28.    Id. at 677.

29.    Claremont Sch. Dist. v. Governor (Claremont XI), 794 A.2d 744 (N.H. 2002).

30.    Id. at 759.

31.    Id.

32.    Id. at 761-63.

33.    Londonderry Sch. Dist. SAU # 12 v. State, 907 A.2d 988, 988-89 (N.H. 2006).

34.    Id.

35.    Id. at 989.

36.    Id. 990.

37.    Id.

38.    Id. at 989.

39.    Id. at 990.

40.    Id. at 991.

41.    Id.

42.    Id.

43.    Pub. L. No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425 (2002) (codified as amended in scattered sections of 20 U.S.C.).

44.    Londonderry Sch. Dist. SAU # 12 v. State, 907 A.2d 988, 993 (N.H. 2006) (quotations omitted).

45.    Id. at 994.

46.    Id. (emphasis in original).

47.    Id. at 991.

48.    Id. at 993.

49.    Id.

50.    Id.

51.    Id.

52.    Id.

53.    Id. at 994.

54.    Id.

55.    Id.

56.    Id. at 994-95.

57.    Id. at 995.

58.    Id.

59.    Id.

60.    Id.

61.    Id.

62.    Id.

63.    Id.

64.    Id. at 996 (Duggan, J., concurring and dissenting).

65.    Id.

66.    Id. at 998 (Duggan, J., concurring and dissenting).

67.    Id.

68.    Id.

69.    Id. at 997 (Duggan, J., concurring and dissenting).

70.    Id. at 1002 (Galway, J., concurring and dissenting).

71.    Id.

72.    Id.  But, in deference to the plaintiffs’ request, Justice Galway would have stayed the ruling until the end of the 2007 fiscal year so that the school districts could receive their anticipated funding.  Id.

73.    Id. at 990 (quotations omitted).

74.    Id. at 995.

75.    Id. at 994-95.

76.    Id. at 990.

77.    Id. (quoting Claremont Sch. Dist. v. Governor, 794 A.2d 744 (N.H. 2002)).

78.    Id. at 996 (Duggan, J., concurring and dissenting).

79.    Id. at 997 (Duggan, J., concurring and dissenting).

80.    Id.

81.    Id.

82.    Id.

83.    Id. at 1001 (Duggan, J., concurring and dissenting).

84.    Id. at 995.

85.    Id. at 994.

86.    Id. at 995.

87.    Id.

88.    Id. at 995-96.

89.    In re Below, 855 A.2d 459, 472 (N.H. 2004).

90.    Opinion of the Justices, 360 A.2d 116, 122 (N.H. 1976); see also N.H. Const. pt. II, art. 2.

91.    Ashland Sch. Dist. v. N.H. Div. For Children, Youth, & Families, 681 A.2d 71, 75 (N.H. 1996); City of Franklin v. Hinds, 143 A.2d 111, 113 (N.H. 1958); see also N.H. Const. pt. I, art. 83 (“[I]t shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences. . . .”).

92.    Londonderry Sch. Dist. SAU # 12 v. State, 907 A.2d 988, 995 (N.H. 2006).

93.    Cf. In re Petition of Governor, 846 A.2d 1148, 1155 (N.H. 2004) (noting that the judiciary’s  “confidence and [] independence would be jeopardized if [its] direction is arbitrarily controlled by the hands of the legislature without specific authority in the constitution to do so”).

94.    Londonderry Sch. Dist., 907 A.2d at 996.

95.    855 A.2d 459 (N.H. 2004).

96.    Id.

97.    Burling v. Chandler, 804 A.2d 471, 474 (N.H. 2002).

98.    Scott v. Germano, 381 U.S. 407, 409 (1965).

99.    Id. (emphasis added).

100. For a more detailed discussion of the judiciary’s active role in redistricting, see David Schultz, Redistricting and the New Judicial Federalism: Reapportionment Litigation Under State Constitutions, 37 Rutgers L.J. 1087 (2006).

101. John DiStaso, Amendment Talk Follows Ruling, N.H. Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.), Sept. 9, 2006, at A1.

102. Id.

103. Id.

104. Id.

105. Id.

106. Sarah Liebowitz, Funding Plan On the Mat, Senate Bid to Revive Amendment Fails By 1 Vote, Concord Monitor, June 15, 2007, at A1.

107. Sarah Liebowitz, Senate Passes Bill Defining Adequacy, Concord Monitor, June 7, 2007, at A1.

108. Norma Love, Lynch Signs Bill Defining Adequate Education in NH, Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.), June 30, 2007, at A1.

109. Id.

110. Id.

111. Liebowitz, supra note 107 (quoting Senator Iris Estabrook).

112. Love, supra note 108.  The committee would consist of four members of the House and Senate respectively, as well as a representative from the Governor’s office.  Liebowitz, supra note 107.

113. Love, supra note 108.

 

 

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