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Trustees believe this is a unique opportunity to improve our library

To The Daily Sun,

To the voters of Ashland: The price to purchase the historic school building has been drastically reduced to $525,000 (original asking price was $850,000). An expected $100,000 will be needed for minor renovations, shelving and other furnishings, to convert the building for library use, for a total cost of $625,000. As $25,000 will come from the Library Building capital reserve fund, the Library Trustees are asking for a bond issue of $600,000.

The trustees believe this is a unique opportunity for Ashland to improve library facilities and services and also showcase one of the finest architectural features of the town. Most new library/renovation project costs begin at $1,000,000 and go up from there.

The children's room would triple in size; more public use computers would be available; there would be quiet reading spaces, group study tables, expanded space for collections, and a spacious third floor meeting room with spectacular views of the town. The location next to the elementary school would create more teaching and learning opportunities for the children of Ashland. The building has been renovated and is up to all current codes, including an elevator. More information is available on the library website, ashlandtownlibrary.org. There is also information on the website about donating to the building fund. Any donations would reduce the amount needed from the town. Please be generous if you are able.

There will be an open house at the proposed new building on March 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please come and explore this beautiful building and speak to the trustees and staff about this great opportunity.

Remember to vote on March 14. The bond issue for the purchase of the building is Article 3, and Article 17 would add $25,000 to the capital reserve fund if the bond issue fails. The bond issue requires 60 percent majority votes to pass, so please come and support the library by voting yes on Article 3 and Article 17.

Ashland Town Library Trustees
Alice Staples
David Ruell
Mardean Badger

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Our assistant teachers keep students from falling through the cracks

To The Daily Sun,

In addressing Mr. Leandro's letter of Feb. 20, I would first like to say that no one in administration requested that I speak at the Gilford school deliberative session. I wrote the letter on my own, and read my letter to be sure that I covered all the key points that I wanted to address regarding the cuts to the School Board's recommended budget. Those cuts directly affected the paraprofessionals and assistant teachers in the School District. While many know who we are, many people do not know what the we do within the schools.

Gilford paraprofessionals are Para II certified with the state licensing board, and like the teachers, participate in professional development to maintain our certification, which is renewed every three years.

We supplement the regular education teachers in educating those children who have a legal document, called an IEP, that requires the school to provide assistance to identified students. Our goal is to help them to be successful in their education. Paraprofessionals also help them feel safe via social and emotional support, as well as being advocates for their education.

The students know us and we know them, as we are a constant during their time in school. This means we are often the ones who see the changes that are indicative of issues that need to be addressed, not just educationally, but socially and emotionally.

Family dynamics have changed, requirements for education have changed. We provide a vital service to those students who need it the most. It has been proven that children with disabilities are more successful when they know the people who work with them. We take great pride in our work and the work of our students.

Financially, we are saving the taxpayers the difference between our salary and the $100,000 per child it would cost taxpayers if the students were put in out-of-district placement. Other important facts that people might not know about the paraprofessionals are how we assist with after-school activities, such as the Unified Team.

Our assistant teachers work with those students who are not covered by IEPs, keeping them from falling through the cracks. Test scores would plummet without the added teaching skills they offer. They reteach classroom topics, reinforcing the learning material. Without the assistant teachers, this would not be possible.

Knowing this information, I am asking taxpayers to please support the amended school district's budget. Thank you.

Valerie Chase


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