City school enrollment total slips below 2,000

LACONIA — School District Superintendent Phil McCormack told School Board members earlier this week that he polled other area school districts and learned that while some of them had "mild" increases in enrollment this fall, some of them also had "mild" decreases — like Laconia.

As of October 1, statistics provided by McCormack showed Laconia had an overall population drop of 3.6 percent from 2014 to 2015 and Pemi-Baker Regional School District had an overall drop of 4 percent while other area schools showed slight increases of between one and two percent.

McCormack told School Board members the changes in enrollment reported are "not statistically significant."

Member Mike Persson said to him it looks like the enrollment data shows that Laconia is on a par with other area school districts.

The numbers showed that Inter-Lakes was down seven students or .6 percent from last year, that Moultonborough was down one student or .2 percent, that Winnisquam Regional was up 17 students or 1.1 percent, that Shaker Regional was up 22 students or 1.6-percent and Gilford was up 19 students or 1.6 percent.

McCormack said that although Franklin was included in his poll, its raw numbers should not be considered because the town of Hill started sending some of its students to Newfound Regional instead. He noted that since some seniors and juniors opted to stay in Franklin High School and graduate with their classes, it's nearly impossible to determine any enrollment trends there.

Data provided by McCormack showed 11 more students or 12.3 percent in Laconia were being home schooled with the bulk of the increase — nine students — being at the elementary level. In response to a question, the superintendent indicated the total number of home schooled students in the district was now at 100, but the number of families choosing that course was far less.

He did not provide any raw data on Laconia-resident students who are being educated at private schools.

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Tardif sues city over procedures used & proposed regarding unanticipated revenues

LACONIA — Former mayor Tom Tardif has filed suit against the city claiming the City Council won't be following state law and will violate the City Charter of it votes to allow the city manager to accept and expend, without a public hearing or formal appropriation vote, sums given to the city of less than $10,000.

Tardif claims the council violated the city charter when it voted 5-to-0 on October 26 to allow two separate expenditures for a total of $17,891.82 after posted public hearings were held where no one spoke.

In addition, the suit claims that City Manager Scott Myers did not comply to Tardif's Right-To-Know request for information about drug forfeiture money in a timely fashion.

According to an attachment provided in the pleadings, that are now at the Carroll County Superior Court, Myers received an opinion from an attorney at the New Hampshire Municipal Association who advised that the city could use the provisions of RSA 32:95-b — which dictates how towns can spend unanticipated revenues that come after the budget is approved — as long as council authorizes vote by a 2/3 majority vote. Such a vote is scheduled for Monday night.

Tardif said he disagrees with the advice given by the attorney at the New Hampshire Municipal Association and said giving the manager free reign to spend federal civil forfeiture drug money would be like creating a stream of money flowing through the city for which no one could account.

He has asked the court to stop the expenditure of $8,000 for drug surveillance equipment and $9,891.82 for items not specified. He also wants the court to stop the City Council from taking any action authorized by its October votes.

Carroll County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple was asked to rule before a hearing could be scheduled but declined saying that Tardiff did not establish the "gravitas" needed for an immediate ruling. However, Temple said because part of Tardif's suit claims a violation of the Right-To-Know law, he will see that it gets put on the court's docket as a high priority.

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Laconia Police investigate burglary of northeend store

LACONIA – Police are investigating a burglary that took place at the Mobil Mart at 17 Lexington Drive sometime Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

They said when they arrived, they found the glass door smashed open and the money, cigarettes and lottery scratch tickets were stolen. Police said it several items were taken from outside the store.

The initial investigation said it appears the subjects left in a vehicle parked at the fuel pumps.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 524-5252 or the Laconia Crime Line at 524-1717.

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