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Mom tells Laconia School Board that alcohol & sports policy not evenly enforced

LACONIA — A local woman and parent of a high school student told the School Board last night that in her opinion the athletic policy regarding under-aged drinking at out-of-school events was not being equally enforced for all students.

Specifically, the woman said that the policy states that if a student is present at a party with alcohol the student is suspended from his or her sport for two weeks. A second violation is cause for permanent suspension from the team.

She said last year her child, who plays for a sports team, was caught at a party where alcohol was served and was suspended for two weeks. Three weeks later, she said the child went to a friend's house, learned there was alcohol being consumed by minors and left.

She said her child was suspended permanently from the sport.

This year, she said she learned and allegedly has documentation that some members of the football team allegedly had a party after Homecoming where alcohol was served.

She said she notified the athletic director who told her he would look into it. He reported back that he spoke to the parent who told him there was no alcohol.

"No proof, no suspension," she said. The woman also said the city police were looking into the complaint about the party however the Sun was unable to confirm this at press time.

She said she appealed to Superintendent Terri Forsten about a week ago but still hasn't gotten any answers. Last night, she addressed the School Board.

"If it's enforced for one, it must be enforced for all," she said.

After hearing her statement, Forsten told her to be careful about naming names because there were media representatives in the room and she didn't want to unfairly accuse anyone who could possibly be identified.

School Board Chair Chris Guilmett said this was the first time he had heard about the alleged party and said it would be investigated and addressed.

Member Mike Persson noted that the problem of under-aged drinking parties is serious and prevalent and that, although it is happening off school property, he felt the district should be addressing the problem as part of the district's recent outreach to students about behavioral issues including drugs and alcohol.

"All it will take is one angry parent," said the woman.

Longtime School Board member Joe Cormier said as far as he was concerned, a policy is a policy and it's there to be followed.

The woman thanked them for their time and left.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 01:41

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Laconia schools get extra $313k in state aid this year

LACONIA — The School Board learned this week that it will get an additional $313,005 in so-called state adequacy money that it didn't anticipate for this school year.

The recommendation the School Board will make to the City Council is that the money be put in an expendable trust fund the district can use in the future to offset possible decreases in school adequacy aid.

Because of the way the state calculates education adequacy aid as compared to the preparation schedule for the annual school budget, school districts do not have an exact number from the state until months after the budget is set.

Laconia School District saw a decrease of state adequacy aid in last fiscal year of $150,000 and the year before had a decrease from expectation of $300,000. Both times the school district had to make cuts to their budget to reflect the loss.

Business Administrator Ed Emond said the trust fund would operate much the same was as the Special Education Trust Fund and the Health Insurance Trust Fund — both of which are used to offset any unforeseen costs in those lines after the budget was finalized.

The recommendation must be approved by the City Council.

Should the council disagree, Emond said the money would be used to offset this year's property tax burden.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 01:32

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Clarification: Belmont will continue to contract with N.H. Humane Society

CLARIFICATION: In 2015, the town of Belmont will continue to pay $5,500 to the N.H. Humane Society annual for its services. That point was not made clear in an article that appeared in Tuesday's paper about the three-municipality initiative to share an animal control officer. Rather than being included in a separate live item within the Police Department Budget, the proposal for 2015 is to include the Humane Society contract in a single line for animal control created to reflect a coordinated effort by Gilford, Laconia and Belmont to jointly manage animal control.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 01:10

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Sharing of animal control officer still in planning stage

LACONIA — Laconia Police Capt. Bill Clary said yesterday that the idea of creating an animal control officer posiiton for multiple communities is one that has been informally discussed for years.

Clary said Laconia hasn't had a dedicated animal control officer in at least five years.

He said Laconia Police and City Manager Scott Myers were initially approached by Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn and Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee about some kind of regional effort.

He said Belmont Chief Mark Lewandoski was also interested.

Lewandoski made a presentation on the subject to his Board of Selectmen Monday night as part of a 2015 budget discussion and selectmen agreed the initiative was a good idea.

The officer would be part-time and paid hourly.

So far, Clary said there has been one meeting between the three communities and many of the details of how the combined effort will work have yet to be determined. He noted that both Gilford and Belmont Police administrators needed to create a budget line for the project this month in time for their 2015 budget preparation schedules.

For Laconia Police, Clary noted his department operates on a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year but would have the money for the position for the first six months of 2-15 from his part-time labor allocation.

Clary said the idea is to hire a part-time police officer who will technically be employed by the Laconia Police Department. He said he wold prefer a sworn police officer because he or she could issue summonses and write criminal citations, if needed, in cases of animal cruelty.

All agreed that the work done by the part-time animal control officer will free up uniformed patrol units needed for non-animal related calls.

Gilford Town Administrator Scott Dunn said his understanding is that his community and Belmont will each contribute approximately $15,000 to Laconia as their portion of the cost.

The animal control van belongs to the city of Laconia and, tentatively, each community will take turns fueling it.

All three communities will continue to make separate payments to the N.H. Humane Society for contracted services rendered. In 2014, Laconia paid $25,000, Gilford paid $7,000 and Belmont paid $5,500. All involved said the same amount will be budgeted for 2015.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 October 2014 01:08

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