To the Editor:
Newport schools are in crisis. This year our school tax rate jumped $5 per thousand. We lose 30 percent of our teachers every year because we can't afford competitive salaries. Homeowners can't afford the high taxes, can't afford to move, and can't sell anyway.
Towns across New Hampshire are in the same boat and the New Hampshire legislature has agreed this is a crisis. Even our Supreme Court ruled 20 years ago that we must collectively educate our kids.
Yet here we are a generation later and nothing has been done except bickering between towns over who pays what and who gets to keep theirs. We are the fourth wealthiest state in the nation. Shame on us.
The thing is, these aren't just Newport's kids – these are New Hampshire's kids. How can we even call ourselves a state if we won't look after our children? After all, what is a state except a population?
The mountains and lakes mean nothing, wealth means nothing, our history mean nothing. What does it say about us if we turn our backs on each other when our children are desperately in need? That we are only a collection of towns pitting haves against have-nots.
Every elected official from school boards and legislators to the governor knows we need equalized broad based distribution of education funds. They know how to achieve it, too. So what is holding it up? Are they really so short sighted and callous to push the problem into the future while families and whole towns suffer? Shame on them.
It is time to stop talking and put New Hampshire first. Vote for legislation that helps all New Hampshire towns. Make a start, even a small one that moves us towards fair funding. Convince your constituents this is the right and fair thing to do.
Because of this incessant delaying, every year thousands of children across the state go hungry, poorly educated, and grow up wanting to get as far away from New Hampshire as possible.
Can we blame them?