Franklin School District wins $125,000 grant for dropout prevention

School officials surprised by state budget appropriation


FRANKLIN — Franklin will receive $125,000 for dropout prevention through a grant that was included in the state budget passed yesterday.

“I was surprised,” said School Administrative Unit 18 Superintendent Daniel LeGallo. “I did not expect to get it.”

The grant will allow the school district to expand high school offerings that keep students interested in hopes of reducing the district’s dropout rate, which is one of the highest in the state.

Department of Education statistics for 2015-16, the latest available, show three out of 371, or 3.41 percent of Franklin students, dropped out that year, while the district’s four-year accumulative rate, which reflects the number of seniors dropping out during their high school years, was 13.03.

That makes Franklin’s the third-highest dropout rate, behind Claremont’s Stevens High School, with 4.04 percent for one year and 15.2 percent over four years, and Manchester’s 3.55 and 13.45 percent, respectively. Laconia’s rate was 2.84 for one year and 10.9 percent over four years.

LeGallo said the grant could mean expanding the drama program to other schools. A film studies program also has been discussed, he said.

“The administration and staff will be sitting down and planning what to do with that money,” he said. “There are other things we’ll be looking at as well, and, of course, the school board will have their say.”

Franklin State Rep. Werner Horn issued a statement yesterday, saying, “I am thrilled the House today passed a responsible budget that puts the needs of New Hampshire students, including those in Franklin, first. Franklin’s dropout prevention programs provide students with opportunities for study skill training, tutoring, work training programs, peer-centered community activities, and much more. Students are motivated to stay in school and encouraged to pursue postsecondary education or other opportunities they can excel in.”

LeGallo said, in addition to expanded course offerings, the district could promote mentoring, with older students working with younger students to keep them inspired.

With its strong tradition in sports, Franklin already has several options for those who are less interested in academics and might consider dropping out, but the more offerings the school can provide, the better the chances of retaining students, LeGallo said.

He noted that the school district previously had received a two-year My Turn grant this year that arranges business internships for students. The grant provided $60,000 each year, and the organization will have a spot in the high school next year, LeGallo said.

My Turn receives federal funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act as well as local and national foundations, as well as businesses and individuals.

LeGallo said educators will be working through the summer to put together a plan for dropout prevention so they can implement the programs this fall.


Meredith’s Prescott Park playground gone, new use is in the works


MEREDITH — The playground structures have been removed from Prescott Park, and the town will soon hear a plan to use the space that once held them. The proposal will be included as part of a Parks and Recreation master plan that selectmen will first see next month.
The playground, which had been in a space adjacent to the Glenn Hart Memorial Skate Park, was removed because it had reached the end of its serviceable life, said Town Manager Phil Warren.
“Granted, it was probably built in the ’70s,” if not sooner, said Warren. The town was no longer able to find replacement parts, he said, so it was taken down.
“It had exceeded its intended use life cycle,” he said, noting that the much newer playground, located just a short walk away at the town’s Community Center, is at the ready for children who want to climb, swing and slide.
“There is a wonderful playground up the hill that was put together with lots of volunteer help and fundraising,” said Warren, specifically crediting the Friends of Meredith Parks and Recreation.
The Parks and Recreation Department is working on a plan to utilize the space that the playground once filled. Vint Choiniere, parks and recreation director, said the space is included in a master plan that his department is preparing to present to selectmen during a workshop session next month.
“We’re going to present that (on July 17). It’s still being worked out. We’ll have recommendations for all of our facilities,” said Choiniere, declining to offer specifics of the plan prior to its presentation to selectmen.
The playground’s removal comes less than a year after Warren rejected sweeping criticism of the town’s management of facilities at Prescott Park. In a letter to the editor, written by Kenny Hill and published in October 2016, Hill called the playground a “splinter trap.” Asked to respond, Warren said at the time that the playground was “still safe” and noted that the wood components were treated with a paint that encapsulates any potential splinters.
The town’s management of the park came under fire again this week, when Brendan Hart, son of the man that the skate park is dedicated to, criticised the town for both allowing the structures to deteriorate and for restricting access to the skate park to only a few hours per week.

 06 23 Merediths ex playground

A playground that once stood near the Glenn Hart Memorial Skate Park in Meredith's Prescott Park is gone. The town's Park and Recreation Department is readying a master plan for its facilities, including that space, which will be presented on July 17. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Woman escapes during jail transport in Laconia

LACONIA — Police are searching for a prisoner who escaped while being transported to the county jail yesterday.

A report from the United States Marshal’s – N.H. Joint Fugitive Task Force said Tamara Ipock, 35, escaped from the back seat of a deputy sheriff’s cruiser while being taken from the Merrimack County jail to the Belknap County jail. The report said she reached through a bar in the window and opened the door of the cruiser from the outside, escaping at the intersection of Court Street and Union Avenue.

Police said she is not considered violent and there is no danger to the public. Ipock was facing charges for possession of narcotics.

She is described as being 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 120 pounds. She has blue eyes and brown hair.  Ipock has several identifiable tattoos, including; on her right ankle – four leaf clover; left ankle – flower and moon; right upper arm – butterfly; and neck – zodiac symbol.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Tamara Ipock, contact Special Deputy U.S. Marshal, Stephen Colcord. Colcord can be reached at 603-225-1632; or anonymously by clicking on this link:, or anonymously text the word NHTIP followed by any information to the phone number TIP411. If this is an urgent call, dial your local police or 911.

06 23 Tamara Ipock

Tamara Ipock