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Dueling Dollars

So, how much will the "No Child Left Behind " Act of 2001 cost one small New England state? In New Hampshire, the estimates range from $15.5 million to a whopping $126.5 million a year.

One new report says the state will not only have plenty of funding to comply with the law's accountability provisions, but will have money left over.

The report was issued last month by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a libertarian-leaning think tank based in Concord, N.H. The group worked with the Business Roundtable and AccountabilityWorks, a Washington-based group that advocates for accountability, in analyzing the data.

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The analysis estimates that New Hampshire will receive about $18.4 million in federal education aid for No Child Left Behind programs for the 2003-04 school year, and asserts it will cost the state about $15.5 million to carry out the mandates.
"We are confident our numbers are reasonable," said Theodor Rebarber, the president of AccountabilityWorks. Some Republicans in Washington are also promoting the report.
If the state uses common sense and avoids the most expensive options, it will have no problems, Mr. Rebarber said. Many pieces of the law, such as technology plans, are already in place, he added.
The report directly challenges another analysis released late last year by the New Hampshire School Administrators Association. That document estimated that the new law would send about $17 million in federal funding to the state annually, but that the new requirements would cost New Hampshire at least $126.5 million a year.
Mark V. Joyce

, the executive director of the NHSAA, said the Bartlett study "grossly underestimates the impact of the law."

For one thing, he charged that the study does not adequately estimate costs of hiring and retaining better-trained paraprofessionals. Further, he said, the study counts federal Title I money that is already being used for specific programs toward the new mandates.

The authors of the Bartlett study, meanwhile, wrote that the administrators' report "overstates the costs while underestimating both the funding commitment of the federal government and flexibility afforded states."

—Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 22, Issue 25, Page 18

Published in Print: March 5, 2003, as State Journal

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