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As a teacher, every day I see the damage a tax cap does to schools

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing this letter as a concerned parent of children who attend school in Laconia.

My husband and I moved here from the North Country 16 years ago. We both started our careers in the Lakes Region, me as a teacher and my husband as a firefighter in Laconia. We soon began to feel at home in this beautiful area and when it came time to settle down, we decided to buy a home in Laconia. We had confidence that our children would receive a quality education.

Our children both attend Pleasant Street School, a school that we absolutely love. Our kids have had wonderful teachers. We feel they are getting a fantastic education at PSS. They are also very involved with after school clubs, band and community sports.

My concern is that the city tax cap is going to negatively impact our community. Our children need small class sizes, they need quality educators, they need the programs that are threatened by budget cuts and they need access to the fine arts.

With that being said, one of my biggest concerns is the possible cut of the band program at the elementary level. The elementary program is the lifeline for a successful band program at the middle school and high school levels. It is proven that students who participate in band have larger vocabularies, higher academic scores and are less likely to abuse illicit substances-something our community could benefit from.

As a teacher who works in a community with a tax cap, I see the damage it does on a daily basis. We need to be a community that supports education and allows families to thrive.

Angela M. Vaillancourt

Laconia

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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
Laconia

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