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Laconia families struggle with tug to move away for 'better' schools

To The Daily Sun,

When my oldest son was two, we moved from Gilford to Laconia. A move that raised many eyebrows from friends living in neighboring towns who expressed opinions of Laconia being an inferior school district. My husband grew up in Laconia and attended Laconia schools and we were confident that our children would succeed in this environment as well. And, so far, we've been proven right.

However, hearing of the recent budget cut proposals, I must admit, I am concerned. My children both are, or have been, involved in elementary school band and middle school sports (both of which are facing cuts.) The benefits of these programs have been immeasurable in my eyes and I could write an entire letter on how these programs have positively impacted their development.

Over the last few years, I have personally watched several Laconia families struggle with the decision to stay in Laconia or move to nearby towns with "better" school districts. This saddens me and I do fear that further cuts to our programming will only continue to perpetuate this view that Laconia has an inferior school system.

If we want to retain and/or attract families into our city we must demonstrate that we are a city dedicated to the development of our children in all areas of physical, emotional, social and intellectual growth. We must give the students ample creative and physical outlets in which they have opportunity to practice new skills, learn how to be a part of a team and experience pride in a game or concert.

I don't pretend to be knowledgeable in school or city budgets, and I don't write this proposing an answer to the budget problem. I simply write to express that I hope and pray that there's another way. I write hoping that others may come to the table with their ideas. I write hoping that in a few years from now people will want to stay or even move to Laconia because they see that we are a city that invests in our children and our future.

Rachael Rollins

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Inter-Lakes seniors want to hold graduation on the football field

To The Daily Sun,

Tuesday night, senior class presidents of the Inter-Lakes High School Class of 2016, along with other students and parents, petitioned the School Board to allow a change in venue for their June graduation.

Currently, graduation is held on a grass field in the back of Prescott Park, under a tent with no scheduled rain date. The primary reason for not changing the venue to the high school campus — specifically on the turf football field — put forward by the school principal is the fact that there would be no tent, but instead a need for a rain date. The tent would be cost-prohibitive on the turf field, but the school would also save over $5,000 annually by not having to rent a tent.

There is no perfect solution, however, having rain dates are a good option either way since there is no perfect indoor solution. (If the gym were to be used, students would be limited to about five guests each). Currently, the tent on Prescott Park is not ideal either, as last year rain caused the grass to be too wet for the graduation march. The parking lot is also dirt and the field has limited restroom facilities and accessibility. A large rain storm or weather event would also make the tent option unpleasant and unsafe.

Scheduling rain dates for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning with the ability to confirm the date on Wednesday prior would allow the best chance for a memorable event. The students and parents of not only the senior class but younger grades as well are overwhelmingly in favor of a change in venue to improve the aesthetics, accessibility, emotional tug, in addition to a reduction in cost.

If you are a Meredith, Center Harbor, or Sandwich resident, taxpayer, student or alumni please consider reading and signing the student's petition located at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/ilhs-graduation-on-turf-field.

Randy Eifert

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