12 school jobs may be cut - Laconia works to meet budget cap

By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — School District administrators have identified about 12 positions that could be eliminated in order to pass a budget that will meet the requirements of the city's tax cap.
Business Administrator Ed Emond told members of the Budget and Personnel Committee last night that four of those spots could come from Woodland Heights Elementary School, saving the district $260,000. He said all four, plus one special education teacher, will come from retirements.
Emond and Superintendent Phil McCormack said class size would remain within acceptable standards or a maximum of 25 students per class for kindergarten through second grade and a maximum of 30 students for grades 3, 4 and 5. Despite an increase in the number of students needing special education services, McCormack said other special education teachers will take higher case loads.
Two teacher positions could be cut from the middle school, saving $130,000. These positions are also from retirements.
Administrators said there would be a total savings of $380,000 from the middle school, but most of that discussion happened in a nonpublic session because of the personnel issues involved. The district will reduce extracurricular and athletic offerings at the middle school level to save $15,000.
Four core-curriculum teacher positions could also be eliminated at the high school for a savings of about $300,000. Administrators declined to be more specific, saying the adjustments involved personnel matters and were not subject to open disclosure. Administrators are also targeting $20,000 in savings at the high school from extracurricular and athletic offerings.
Any cuts to extracurricular programming and athletics will be based on student participation as a factor of the cost of the program.
Administrators also said two grant positions funded through the SAU will be eliminated, saving $56,000.
With some reworking of other programming, administrators identified a total of $1,300,000 in the 2016-2017 district budget, which should make up for the $1,221,449 they think they will be short because of the lower amount of tax revenue in 2016-2017.
With no inflation, the school district expects to get an additional $358,000 from taxes based on the value of building permits or the increase in property valuation; however, the district needs an additional $1.2 million to continue with the programming and staffing levels it currently has.
The suggested cuts presented last night are the preliminary recommendations of the administration to the Budget and Personnel Committee. The proposal will be discussed by the entire School Board and changes may be made.
Emond said the district also needs some money to be able negotiate in good faith three new union contracts that will all expire June 30, 2016.

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Two to vie for Sanbornton selectman

SANBORNTON — There is one contested race, that of selectman, for voters to decide in the town elections. John Olmstead takes on David A. Nickerson for the three-year term available.
With no competition, Katy Wells and Craig Weisman filed for two three-year terms on the Budget Committee; Phil Turner and Judy Gibbons filed for two three-year terms as cemetery trustee; Carol Raymond and David W. Adams filed for the two three-year terms for library trustee; Melanie Vantassel filed for the single three-year term as overseer of public welfare; Karen Cobb filed for the three-year terms of town treasurer; and Sheila Dodge filed for the six-year term  of supervisor of the checklist.
No one signed up for the two three-year terms for trustee of trust funds.
Elections will take place Tuesday, March 8, at which time voters will also consider a zoning amendment on senior housing.

– Ginger Kozlowski

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Not even close - Trump, Sanders carried every town in Belknap County in primary vote

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — In Tuesday's presidential primary, the voters of Belknap County mimicked their counterparts across the state by endorsing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders by overwhelming margins.
Trump carried all six wards in the city of Laconia and all 10 towns in Belknap County by wide margins, polling 5,510 votes, or 35.8 percent of all votes cast in the the Republican presidential primary, more than twice as many as the 2,464, or 16 percent, of his nearest rival John Kasich in Tuesday's vote.
Trump's share of the vote in Belknap County was the fourth largest among the 10 counties. He polled 38.9 percent in Rockingham County, 37.9 in Coos County and 37.4 percent in Sullivan County while topping the field in all 10 counties.
In Belknap County, Trump ran strongest in Barnstead with 41.7 percent, , Belmont with 41.6 percent and Gilmanton with 40.3 percent while winning 39.3 percent of the vote in Tilton, 37.9 percent in Alton and Sanbornton, 36.8 percent in New Hampton, 33.8 percent in Gilford, 32.7 percent in Laconia 31.2 percent in Meredith and 31.1 percent in Center Harbor.
Ted Cruz finished third behind Kasich with 2,020 votes while Jeb Bush with 1,741 votes, Marco Rubio with 1,435 votes and Chris Christie with 1,002 votes finished out of the money. No other candidate won 1,000 votes.
In the Democratic presidential primary, Sanders mirrored Trump's sweep, topping Hillary Clinton by convincing margins in every municipality to capture 6,005 votes, or 62.5 percent of the vote, to Clinton's 3,495, or 36.4 of the total. His share of the vote in Belknap County was the seventh highest among the 10 counties. Sanders won 70.3 percent of the vote in Cheshire County, 69.6 percent in Sullivan County, 66.9 percent in Grafton County, 63.8 percent in Strafford County and 63 percent in Carroll County
Sanders took Laconia with 1,339 votes to Clinton's 933, carrying all six wards. In the towns, Sanders' margins were two-to-one or better in Alton, Barnstead, Belmont and Sanbornton.
As of December there were 41,751 registered voters in Belknap County: 15,134 Republicans, 9,209 Democrats and 17,408 independents. A total of 24,889 votes were cast in the primary election, representing a turnout of 59.6 percent. There were 15,391 Republican and 9,598 Democratic ballots cast.

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