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Policies » Section A: Foundations & Basic Commitments » AA: School District Legal Status

Policy Date: 03/09/2017

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CSD File: AA

The legal basis for education is vested in the will of the people as expressed in the Constitution of New Hampshire, the statutes* pertaining to education, court interpretation of these laws, the powers implied in them, and the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education.

In New Hampshire, school districts are political subdivisions of the state and, as such, are considered municipal corporations and as per RSA 194:2 and RSA 195:6. School districts have powers as set in RSA 194:3. Such powers include:
1. To procure land for lots for schoolhouses and school administrative unit facilities, and for the enlargement of existing lots;
2. To build, purchase, rent, repair, or remove schoolhouses and outbuildings, buildings to be used for occupancy by teachers in the employ of such school district, and buildings to be used for educational administration including office facilities for school administrative units;
3. To procure insurance against such risks of loss, cost or damage to itself, its employees or its pupils as its School Board may determine;
4. To provide group plan life, accident, medical, surgical and hospitalization insurance benefits, or any combinations of such benefits, for all regular employees of the district and their dependents, the cost thereof to be borne in whole or in part by the district;
5. To plant and care for shade and ornamental trees upon schoolhouse lots;
6. To provide suitable furniture, books, maps, charts, apparatus and conveniences for schools;
7. To purchase/lease vehicles for the transportation of children;
8. To provide for health and sanitation;
9. To provide for adult high school diploma and continuing education programs; and
10. To pay debts.

School district policies are established by the School Board, which serves as an agent of the school district. Funds for school operating expenses are approved by a majority of qualified voters present and voting at the annual school district meeting (RSA 197:1, RSA 40:13), except that bond issues require a two-thirds vote. The administration of the schools is under the executive direction of the Superintendent of Schools, who works under the School Board policies in addition to State Board of Education rules.

Statutory/Case Law References:
NH Constitution, Pt. 2 Article 83;
Claremont School District vs. Governor, 138 N183 (1993)
RSA Chapter 33, 194:2, 195:6, 197:1, 40:13
Clough v. Osgood 37 NH 444 (1935)

Adopted: October 7, 1999
Revised: March 9, 2017