Dover Files Suit Against State Over Cap On Education Funding

Aug 21, 2015

Dover High School
Credit Dover School District

The city of Dover is suing the state, claiming it’s failing to meets its responsibility to fund an adequate education.

In the suit filed in Strafford County Superior Court, attorney Andru Volinsky says the city is seeking to overturn a cap enacted in 2011 that limits state aid to schools.

"Districts may receive no more than 8 percent additional funds from one year to the next, even if they grow by 10 or 20 percent," he said. "That's an arbitrary cap that violates the constitution and that is the specific and expressed challenge in this case."

Volinsky says the cap will cost Dover $1.4 million this year.

He says roughly 40 communities in the state growing at a rate faster than the cap allows and are being shortchanged.  According to the Associated Press, Governor Maggie Hassan is working with the Department of Justice on a response to the lawsuit. 

Volinsky also represented plaintiffs in the Claremont education funding lawsuit in 1993, when the state Supreme Court ordered the state to fund a constitutionally adequate education.

Dover Mayor Karen Weston wrote an op-ed explaining the reasoning behind the lawsuit, saying "it's the right and fiscally prudent thing to do."

"We know that we will incur some expense by commencing this suit and that we may bear some rick by undertaking this effort," she wrote. "However, we do believe that Dover's children and taxpayers are well worth the fight."