In 1959, the legislature amended the statutes governing apportionment of capital and operating costs (RSA 195) to give cooperative school districts the option of allocating capital costs according to equalized valuation or based on the equalized valuation/average daily pupil membership formula. Following the 1959 amendment, the WCSD did not revise the method by which capital costs were apportioned.
In May, 2000, the Town of Seabrook refused to pay its monthly share of capital costs on the basis that the formula for apportioning the capital costs solely on the basis of equalized valuation had never been voted upon by the WCSD and, thus, had never been legally applied to the town. The WCSD petitioned the superior court for an order requiring the town to make its May 2000, payment. In response, the town maintained that the 1959 amendment required the WCSD to apportion capital and operating costs pursuant to the same formula, not two different formulas as had been the case. The superior court agreed, holding that the WCSD had failed to satisfy the requirements of RSA 195 by failing to properly adopt allocation formulas.
The Supreme Court reversed the superior court’s decision, concluding that the town had misconstrued the language of the relevant statutes. The court held that the 1959 amendment permitted a cooperative school district to allocate capital costs and operating costs pursuant to different formulas. Therefore, the WCSD was not required to choose a single formula for apportioning capital and operating costs following the 1959 amendment.