10 layoffs possible as Laconia looks to cut school district expenses
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Plans are being made to lay off 10 teachers and change the responsibilities for a popular football coach as the Laconia School District looks for ways to make future budget reductions.
Other savings could be made through job attrition as $800,000 in reductions are likely to be needed one year after $1.6 million in cuts were made, district Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said Thursday.
Craig Kozens said he has been advised that he will lose his role as dean of students at Laconia High School as part of the cutback plans.
He said he plans to stay on as the school's football coach and athletic director and that he is hopeful of securing a teaching position through retirement.
Minnihan said the budget process will not be completed until the summer, so cutback plans could be adjusted.
"Nothing has been 100 percent decided," he said.
The goal will be to retain as many teachers as possible, and current plans call for layoffs not to exceed 10, Minnihan said.
"We don't really have a choice, since we have to find reductions," Minnihan said.
He also said Kozens' administrative role is significant.
"The dean of students plays a pretty important role in terms of relations with students," Minnihan said. "Sometimes you have to make a change."
The district is in a pinch as it struggles under the city's tax cap at a time when costs for health care and retirement are increasing.
Kozens has been at the school for 16 years, the last four as dean of students. He declined to disclose his reaction to learning of the position change.
He is popular at the school and in the community.
Last December, Kozens was honored for his contributions to enriching and enhancing the lives of the city's children and youth as the 29th recipient of the Debra Bieniarz Award.
In nominating him for the award, David Bartlett, principal of the high school, described Kozens as kind, giving and empathetic, noting that he supports "students and families in crisis, whether they have experienced a loss in their family, find themselves homeless, or without transportation."
Kozens was also named Northeast Football Coach of the Year for 2010 by the Federation of High School Coaches Association.
Before coming to Laconia High School, he coached at New Hampton School.
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