The legal fallout from the Claremont education funding edicts issued by the NH Supreme Court continues. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano and Massachusettes tourists returning to clog up our roads and restaurants here in the Lakes Region year after year, NH residents can count on some group of school districts suing the state for more education funding dollars. Eugene Van Loan, a director of The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy and an attorney in Manchester, writes a superb op-ed in the July 10th Citizen regarding the latest Claremont-based funding lawsuit and offers what might be the way out of the Claremont mess once and for all:
the recent proceedings in the Londonderry case indicate that there may be a way out of this maze. And the hint that a path may exist came from a most unlikely source — Chief Justice John Broderick. Time and time again, the Chief Justice told the lawyers who were arguing the case that all the Court expected the Legislature to do was to flesh out the details of what it, the Legislature, chose to define as a constitutionally adequate education and that the Court would not second-guess the result. As the chief justice put it, "I certainly don’t know what an adequate education is. This is a matter for the people’s elected representatives, not the judiciary, to decide."If the chief justice really meant what he said, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. If the Court is prepared to hold that the Education Clause of the Constitution does not prescribe some judicially-ascertainable standard of an adequate education and that all the Constitution requires is that the Legislature come up with its own standard, The Claremont Game may be over. For if the legislators can be assured that the decision as to what constitutes a constitutionally adequate education is truly their decision, we will have restored some sanity to the debate over education policy. Most importantly, the debate over education policy will be again conducted where it should be conducted – the legislative forum, not the judicial forum..
Click here to read the whole piece. Then ask your local NH house representative what they think about Mr. Van Loan III’s idea. Of course, then the battle is what IS an adequate education. But a least the issue would be decided by the PEOPLE’s representatives, instead of unelected judges.