Turned Away Millions as Chair of State Board of Education,
Lamontagne Tells Radio Host "I'd Do it Again"
MANCHESTER - Democratic lawmakers today called on Ovide Lamontagne to make clear whether as Governor he would once again turn away millions in federal education funds, which would hurt schools and raise local property taxes.
As chairman of the state Board of Education, Ovide Lamontagne blocked local schools from receiving federal Goals 2000 funds. In a recent radio interview with Paul Wescott on WGIR, Ovide seemed to suggest he may seek to block local schools from receiving federal funds again:
"We need to continue to respect our state sovereignty and our responsibilities that we owe to our people and I've been a fighter against Washington encroachment on the education front. In the mid-nineties we stood up the federal power grab. I'd do it again...."
This year, the New Hampshire legislature considered, and tabled two bills that would have withdrawn New Hampshire from No Child Left Behind, a Bush-era law, and rejected $61 million in federal funds that go to local schools.
"A skilled, knowledgeable workforce is essential to our efforts to attract innovative, growing companies to New Hampshire," Senator Molly Kelly, a member of the Senate Education Committee said. "To meet that goal, we need to make sure New Hampshire schools have the resources they need to give our students a solid education, while helping relieve the local property tax burden. That includes ensuring our school districts have access to available federal funding.
"We should not hurt our schools or our taxpayers by turning away federal education dollars that help offset local property taxes and ensure that our schools have the resources they need," said Kelly.
"Parents and taxpayers deserve answers from Ovide: Will you once again turn away federal education funds? What funds? Will you block the Department of Education from applying for federal education grants? Will you block local schools from applying for federal funds? Will the state make up the difference in lost revenue?" House Minority Leader Terie Norelli said.