4 new programs to be added to Huot Center offerings

LACONIA — The School District Budget and Personnel Committee met Tuesday night to review some of the programs and repairs that came from its initial day-long budget session in February.

There will be four program additions at the Huot  Regional Technical Education Center: Law Enforcement, Automotive Specialists, Bio-Technology, and LNA II instruction.

While the total costs of these programs is $110,000, tuition fees paid from the sending schools will pay for them making them budget-neutral for Laconia.

Administrators said the LNA (Licensed Nursing Assistant) I program is over-enrolled and there is a great deal of interest in the second level that is usually offered in college.

The Huot Center also plans on the addition a part-time curriculum coordinator to the Huot administrative staff whose $12,000 annual stipend will be paid for though tuition.

The committee also recommended a high school biology teacher who could also teach physics. As it stands now, one of the biology teachers is retiring. Some committee members felt that students should be able to choose between two physics teacher whereas right now there is only one choice.

Continuing with biology, the committee said it would not support adding a $100,000 biology classroom to the high school at this time. Members said that while it would be nice to have, they said it would be more cost-effective to reconfigure classroom space from the areas vacated by the new Huot Center and use them for lectures while better coordinating the use of the five new science labs built last year.

Committee members also supported adding a part-time secretary to the guidance department. About three years ago, the School District eliminated one of four guidance positions as well as the part-time assistant.

Administrators said they would ideally like to return to four guidance councilors plus a secretary but it may not be doable in the 2014-2015 budget.

At the Middle School there is a federal SAMHSA grant that will pay for an attendance coordinator as well as $10,000 to expand reading-leveled book for an intervention class.
SAMHSA is a federal program that provides money to school districts to support substance abuse and mental health issues.

At the elementary level, a SAMHSA grant will pay for pre-kindergarten classes for all three school. The district has also requested an attendance coordinator from the same grant for the three elementary school.