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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

Gilford

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Why keep moderators from performing their constitutional duties?

To The Daily Sun,

Senate Bill 109 was voted down last week by the state Senate. They refused to authorize town moderators to perform a public, random, verification count on vote-counting machines. With only voiced support for SB-109 from a few senators, it is clear that the New Hampshire Senate would rather assume vote-counting machines are accurate than to have evidence of their accuracy.

An amendment was recommended by prime sponsor, Sen. Martha Fuller Clark during the session, but the Senate would not overturn the committee recommendation (3-2 ITL) in order to consider the amendment. The amendment addressed concerns expressed by the Attorney General's office.

In order for the governed to give consent (as articulated in Part 1, Art. 1 of the New Hampshire Constitution) and hold elected officials accountable (as Part 1, Art. 8 of the New Hampshire Constitution declares is their right) through a vote cast, people in each town, city, ward and unincorporated place have a fundamental right to vote (as we see in Part 1, Art. 11 of the New Hampshire Constitution) and receive a verified accurate vote count.

The responsibility for verifying the accuracy of that vote count is held within each community and constitutionally assigned to the town moderators. But the Granite State is approaching 90 percent of municipalities using secret, proprietary software in vote-counting devices without any specific clarity or method to a moderator's constitutional duty to verify the accuracy of the vote-counting machines. SB-109 proposed a means and a method for town moderators to fulfill their constitutional duties and state law where vote-counting devices are used.

Moderators take an oath pursuant to Part 2, Art. 84 of the New Hampshire Constitution and are bound by Part 2, Art. 32 to govern the election process, to openly oversee the counting of votes on election night and make a public declaration of an accurate vote count. In a better political climate, SB-109 might not be necessary, but town moderators have recently had their constitutional authority questioned and challenged by state election officials, and it is absolutely necessary to reaffirm in explicit law, authority that empowers moderators to fulfill their constitutional duty to openly and accurately verify votes counted by vote-counting devices.

Why do state election officials and our senators object to town moderators fulfilling their constitutional duties and numerous state laws that hold them accountable for an accurate vote count? Reach out to your senator and ask how they voted on SB-109. Go to (http://www.nhcommunityrights.org/news--updates/an-accurate-vote-count-doesnt-count-in-nh) for additional information to assist you in speaking with your senator about SB-109.

New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) stood up for election integrity and one of our most basic civil rights, our right to vote and have our vote counted accurately by supporting and providing testimony in favor of SB-109. Join "NHCRN" on Facebook or visit them online at www.nhcommunityrights.org to learn about educational opportunities and sign up to receive newsletters and updates about the Community Rights Movement. NHCRN is a grassroots, non-profit organization of community rights efforts, educating and empowering communities and elected officials about our right to local self-governance.

​Michelle Sanborn

NHCRN Coordinator

Alexandria​

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