School board OKs two union contracts

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — The School Board approved collective bargaining agreements on Tuesday with two of the three unions representing employees of the district, the Educational Assistants of Laconia, representing para-educators, and the Laconia Association of Support Staff, representing secretaries and custodians.

No agreement with the Laconia Education Association, which represents the teachers in the five schools in the district, has been presented to the School Board and contract talks remain ongoing.

The two-year agreement with the Education Assistants of Laconia provides for a 2.68 percent salary adjustment in the first year, followed by step increase with a 0.5 percent raise in the second year. The contract with the Laconia Association of Support Staff includes a 1.5 percent wage increase in the first year and a step increase and 0.5 percent raise in the second year.

The increase in compensation is funded by a reduction in the cost of health insurance benefits achieved by changing to a plan with a lower premium and eliminating the payment to employees — $1,000 for a single-person plan and $2,000 for a two-person or family plan — to offset the deductible. Altogether, changes in the health insurance plan spared the district $136,585 in costs.

The net cost of the two contracts is approximately $100,000, which business administrator Ed Emond said is included in the 2016-2017 school district budget presented to the City Council.

Emond said that increasing the salaries for para-educators will provide the incentive needed to fill vacant positions. He explained that because wages for para-educators had fallen below those for substitute teachers, the incentive to work part-time as a substitute outweighed that to work full-time as a para-educator.

Boy struck by car near Gilford Elementary

GILFORD — A 9-year-old boy suffered a leg injury Wednesday after he was struck by a car on Belknap Mountain Road near the Gilford Elementary School.

Police said the boy became distracted and stepped into the road where he was just barely hit by a vehicle driving at a very slow speed. He was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital by his parents.

The driver of the vehicle stopped immediately and gave a statement to the police who said this was an accident and the investigation is complete.

– Gail Ober

 

 

Two days left to file for state, county offices

By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN

LACONIA — Two years ago, Republicans captured all 18 seats in the New Hampshire House of Representatives in Belknap County and with two days remaining in the filing period for the November election eight of the incumbent representatives have filed for re-election along with five newcomers, leaving five slots on the ballot still empty.
Valerie Fraser of New Hampton is seeking a second term in District 1, the towns of New Hampton and Center Harbor.
In District 2, where four representatives are elected from Gilford and Meredith, Glen Aldrich of Gilford is running for a second term and Norm Silber, a member of the Gilford Budget Committee, is bidding for his first term. Two spots remain to be filled. The remaining incumbents are Russ Dumais and George Hurt of Gilford and Herb Vadney of Meredith.
Three incumbents — Don Flanders, Frank Tilton and Peter Spanos — have filed for the four seats in District 3, the city of Laconia. The fourth seat was held by the late Bob Luther, who passed away in February.
Incumbent Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, the longest serving member of the delegation, is running again for one of the two seats in District 4, the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton, and is joined on the GOP ticket by John Vorel.
Michael Mahoney of Gilmanton, making his first bid for a House seat, has field for one of the two seats in District 5, the towns of Gilmanton and Alton.
In District 7, the town of Barnstead, former representative Elaine Swinford and Barbara Comtois, the wife of the incumbent Guy Comtois, will vie for the Republican nomination for the one seat .
Ray Howard of Alton, the incumbent, has filed for re-election to the seat in District 8, consisting of the towns of Alton, Barnstead and Gilmanton.
Robert Fisher of Laconia is seeking a second term as the lone representative in District 9, the city of Laconia and town of Belmont.
No Republican candidates have filed in Distict 6, the town of Belmont, which elects two representatives.
Democrats have have filed for election in five of the nine districts.
Former representative Ruth Gulick of New Hampton is bidding to return to the House from District 1.
In District 2 three Democrats from Gilford have filed for the four seats. Lisa DiMartino is seeking to return to the House. Dorothy Piquado who ran unsuccessfully in 2014 is making a second bid and Johan Anderson has also filed.
In District 3, the city of Laconia, five Democrats — Tom Dawson, Tony Felch, David Huot, Liz Merry and Charlie St. Clair — have filed for the four seats.
Former representative Ian Raymond of Sanbornton is running again for one of the two seats in District 4 alongside Rich Burke of Tilton.
Beth Arsenault, who represented Laconia in the House for several terms, is seeking to regain the seat she last held In District 9, which the city shares with the town of Belmont.