school building aid

http://www.newmarketschoolprojects.com/

Voters in several towns weighed in on school construction projects yesterday

In Hampton, voters approved a $26 million renovation of the town’s middle school after rejecting the idea last year.

Kathleen Murphy is Hampton School District Superintendent.

“This is pretty good, this is pretty exciting. It’s a project that is long overdue but one that I think will be a testament to the Hampton community.”

Town meeting day is next week and for many communities the item that will be getting the most attention has to do with schools.

NHPR reporter Jason Moon joined All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to talk about what’s on the ballot for schools around the state this year.

Two major school construction projects on the Seacoast will go before voters this month. Similar proposals for both projects have been defeated in the past.

School districts looking to build or renovate have been in a tight spot ever since the state’s school building aid program was put on hold almost a decade ago.

Case in point: the Hampton and Newmarket school districts.

Officials with both districts say the renovations are long overdue and that taxpayer money is being wasted caring for out-of-date school buildings.

Michael Brindley

What do schools spend their money on?

Books, teacher salaries, computers, and then there’s the building itself, often the single most expensive investment in public education a community will make.

But in New Hampshire, a program that has helped school districts pay for those projects for more than half a century has been on an indefinite pause for nearly a decade.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Population growth on New Hampshire’s Seacoast has led to rising real estate prices that can often mean more tax revenue for towns in the region. But three Seacoast towns are finding it can make fiscal sense to forego development in favor of conservation.