With kindergarten enrollment on the rise, Laconia looks at adding teacher at Woodland Heights

LACONIA — The Budget and Personnel Subcommittee of the School Board last night discussed the possibility of hiring an additional kindergarten teacher next school year for the Woodland Heights Elementary School.
The position, said Asst. Superintendent Terri Forsten is to accommodate what trends show are an increasing number of kindergarteners entering into city schools.
Forsten told the subcommittee that any need for an fourth section at Woodland Heights would "depend on the numbers" of students who are enrolled by the end of this school year.
"We don't want to go above 22," Forsten said.
The Budget and Personnel Committee doesn't comprise a majority of the School Board. The subcommittee is where budget items are discussed pending a decision by administrators and the full-school board to include the money in the next year's budget.
The cost of adding an additional kindergarten teacher hovers around $60,000 including benefits, Forsten estimated. With the School District looking to cut $243,000 from the overall 2013-2014 budget draft in order to stay within the city's property tax cap, there was no discussion at the subcommittee level that indicated where the district would get the additional money.
The subcommittee also discussed adding a full-time out-of-district-placement school coordinator for the district. Much of the out-of-district school coordination involves students who are in the legal system or students whose home situation requires them to be schooled in a different district, said Forsten. Many are special education students.
Forsten said the district averages 10 to 14 students who are classified as out-of-district at any given time and noted the population is very flexible. She also said the coordinator position was "not very likely" considering the budget restraints for next year.
In other school board news, Facilities Subcommittee Chair Malcolm Murray reported to the full board that the recommended security upgrades to the school should be paid for with money in this year's budget that has already been earmarked for buildings and grounds.
The proposed upgrades were discussed at length in a subcommittee meeting one month ago and were initially scheduled to take place over the next three years.
The recommendations included security cameras for the elementary and high schools, panic alarms in all three elementary schools and interior door locks for every city school with the exception of Woodland Heights and the Middle School, which is new and already has them.
The proposed upgrades are part of a revised security plan that has been in the works since the day-long budget meeting in January but has taken on a new sense of urgency since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Murray didn't provide any dollar amounts to the full board regarding the proposed upgrades.