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Just where does Laconia School District think this money comes from?

To The Daily Sun,

Once again the Laconia School Department's "problem" is the city's tax cap, in place since 2005, and not its own excessive spending.

Where does the School Department think its funding comes from? Wikipedia states Laconia's 2000 population was 16,411, and its 2010 population was 15,951. The median income is $45,307. Of course there are many wealthy people, too, in our city, but overall Laconia cannot be described as prosperous. Sixty percent of our students receive free and assisted school meals. New Hampshire's average is 30 percent. During the summer months the fantastic program Got Lunch! feeds more than 600 students. Food insecurity represents financial distress. This is not a prosperous community.

According to childrennh.org NH Kids Count, in 2013-14, New Hampshire had 28.3 percent economically disadvantaged children. Laconia had 57.2 percent.

I've lived in Laconia and have been a taxpayer for the past 35 years. I've seen enough "do what's best for the children" headlines. This is just the latest one. "No Money. No Child Care." Really? Before, they implied they'd cut band or football — always high-profile programs. This, despite solutions being offered to either increase enrollment or tuition at the Huot Center.
Other cities have tax caps, including Manchester. It manages. So can Laconia.

A few fiscal questions have come to mind which perhaps others might also like answered:

— What was the school enrollment in 2005, and what is it today? According to NH.gov, Dept. of Education, we now have about 400 fewer students.

— How many administrators, teachers (part- and full-time), support and specialists, etc. were there in 2005, compared with today?

— How many teacher substitute days were used and at what cost, in 2005, and today?

— How much taxpayer money has been spent on "early retirement" between 2005 and today? For how many people?

— How much was paid, in total, for health insurance for these early retirees until they turned 65?

— What percent of the city budget was the School Department's in 2005 and today?

A Laconia Daily Sun headline on July 9, 2015, page 9, read, "Zero inflation factor in '15 likely to put severe
strain on Laconia budget in 2016." The city manager and Ed Emond (the School District's business administrator) were quoted, so this latest funding "problem" is not at all unexpected. Or it shouldn't be.

Yet, as usual, the School Department of this small, unprosperous city continues to spend beyond many people's and businesses' ability to pay. This is nothing new. Most working people, and certainly taxpaying seniors, with their own finite incomes, cannot afford unlimited, unreasonable taxation.

The problem is not the tax cap. That is the solution.

Diane Lewis


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Candidates have a right not be be shouted down by protestors

To The Daily Sun,

As an infrequent commentator to this paper, I have consistently defended the First Amendment right of free speech.

I have supported the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which confirmed a 35-year-old precedent that the inherent worth of speech to inform the public does not depend on the identity of the speaker, whether corporation, union, association or individual.

Today we see protest groups trying to shut down another person's rights to free speech, whether a conservative-oriented speaker, Ben Shapiro, at a public university in California, or candidates for the president of the United States in Seattle (Bernie Sanders) and Chicago (Donald Trump). This is clearly wrong and a violation of our constitutional rights.

Protesters have a First Amendment right to protest a speaker but they do not have a First Amendment right to halt another person's exercise of his or her rights of free speech and expression.

Am I missing something here? It seems that those who protest another person's rights of free speech are invariably the liberals or progressives. What do they have to fear? Is it a position or thought which they vehemently disagree? As I have said previously: The foundation of the First Amendment is that it protects and promotes the free exchange of ideas regardless of source and however personally disagreeable one may find the content of the speech. As frequently stated, the solution is more free speech rather than less.

Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and others have the right to free speech and not to be shouted down to the exclusion of speaking by those who disagree with the person, ideology or another cause, like University of Illinois Chicago students or Black Lives Matter.

Those on every political spectrum who support this suppression of free speech are anathema to our constitutional rights and freedoms.

Richard R. Gerken


  • Category: Letters
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