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If overriding tax cap isn't the answer, I look forward to learning what is

To The Daily Sun,

Education, as many know, is forever evolving. The system that children of the past were nurtured and grew in, is nowhere close to the school system of today.The demands on today's teachers are far greater than ever in the history of education. Teachers are expected to be counselors, mathematicians, parents, mediators, scientists, cheerleaders, historians, dieticians, anti-drug spokespeople, community activists and so much more.

The fact that our teachers in Laconia have been without step increases for over four years is just appalling to me. I see teachers from my children's school at countless community events where they are supporting students after hours, yet we seem to be turning our backs on this same group when they need our support most. It is part of this unwavering LOVE for kids and community that keeps the teachers of Pleasant Street School and the other four Laconia schools, consistently putting in countless hours outside of the school day. These same professionals are trying to enrich students who are ready to soar, but are left doing this juggling act on their own, as there is no money for enrichment programs at the elementary schools like neighboring towns have. Now more than ever, we need to come together to rally behind the teachers and award them with fair contracts. The alternative, will leave teachers nervous for future job security, as positions repeatedly need to be dropped each year.

I know for a fact that the School Board has tirelessly tried to shave costs, even making the tough decisions to cut positions to stay within the budget. Yesterday evening I learned that the School Board had to cut 1.7 million dollars from the previous year's budget. This year was another $800K. With less federal and state money being given to schools than ever, we are going to be left with figuring how we will financially support and sustain our schools with less and less national support. Yes, this is unfortunate, but a reality nonetheless.

One councilor at the meeting expressed concerns that if the city councilors advocate for the proposed teacher contract that they would of course have every other city employee coming to seek compensation too. I, like most, value and respect police officers, firefighters, road crews, and the many other city employees who work day in and day out to make Laconia a city we can be proud of. I'd ask the council members if turnover within these other city positions comes even close to that of the teachers in our district? I already know the answer is NO! So perhaps the more burning question the council members must ask themselves is WHY? The answer is rather simple. Because of these budget freezes and constant budgetary cuts each year, our salary scales are now the lowest in all neighboring towns, including Franklin, Meredith, Gilford, Winnisquam and Belmont. How are we expecting quality educators to want to come and stay in a city that clearly is not putting education as its top priority? How are we attracting middle class families to come and plant roots in our city?

As I was speaking at the last City Council meeting, I looked out at a room packed with educators. I saw the pride in the way they stood tall, the unity in the sea of red shirts, but most importantly, the concern on their faces. Each time citizens stepped up to the microphone to speak out in supporting the teachers, the applause was thunderous.

I myself went through the Laconia school system from kindergarten until I graduated from LHS in 1996. I now teach in Belmont and have for the last 17 years. I'm proud of what I do on a daily basis and would never change careers for the world. I have administrators, school board and a town that values education, always putting the kids as a top priority. I am one of the lucky ones I guess. I used to daydream about teaching in Laconia, giving back to the community that gave me so much. Because of teacher salaries in the basement, this dream fizzled like air from a balloon. I'd no longer be able to support my family of six. Yet somehow, our teachers in Laconia have made this budget crisis work temporarily, supporting their salaries with second even third jobs. When all towns that border Laconia are offering superior contracts, and consistent step increases, it's no wonder we are losing 17 teachers who we have trained to these neighboring schools.

I don't have all the answers and certainly cannot think up the solution myself. I at least left the last City Council meeting feeling like some of the councilors are in favor of reaching an amicable solution with the School Board to show unified support. If overriding the tax cap conservatively isn't the answer, I look forward to hearing what is. One thing remains certain ... we must find a way to once and for all show our city's teachers that they deserve a fair contract for all they are doing for the city, today, tomorrow and the future. The council will be voting on this important issue at an upcoming June 5 meeting and I look forward to seeing another packed room as we get to listen to proposed solutions. My final question is for the city councilors to ponder: Do we want to live in a basic city or an extraordinary city? I know my answer.

Keith Noyes

Laconia

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Look to Congress if you're worried about Trump's broken promises

To The Daily Sun,

Dear Bernadette: I usually read your frequent letters to this paper with a level of incongruity at the ignorance displayed when it comes to our fine President Trump and his administration. However, your latest attempt at whatever you are trying to achieve at the expense of the president requires some response for to let the content go unchallenged would be plan wrong. You provided eight points of contention. Let me reply in order.
1. You quote the president claiming a very high IQ but then complain about his butchering English grammar. A high IQ does not guarantee knowledge of any particular subject only the ability to more easily acquire it. Your complaint is that of an elitist who can find little else to comment on so they must attempt to show off their grammar skills. It is not a good trait to show in public forums.
2. You mention his claim to be very rich and then complain that he refuses to prove it to you. Why does it make a difference to you how rich or poor the man is? Envy and jealousy are also not good traits to exhibit.
3. You return to the election and the protesters upon which the president commented weeks ago. And you continue to bring up that he did not receive the majority of the popular vote. Still he is and will be the president of the United States for the next almost four years by virtue of following the rules set forth in the Constitution called the Electoral College and there he won by a significant margin. As an aside, if one takes out New York City (Staten Island not counted) and the area from Los Angeles to San Francisco, President Trump did indeed carry the popular vote so you can understand why we have an Electoral College form of elections for president.
4. Here you mock his comment that he thought being president would be easier than it is. Maybe you are the exception but has not everyone at some time in their lives thought something was easier than it turned out to be. He as most, simply has taken that lesson, rolled up his sleeves and begun the learning process. His high IQ will serve him well here.
5. On this one, you appear bothered by President Trump's Twitter account. This is a free country and one is not required to read such postings if one is bothered by them. President Trump is his own person and has obtained success being such. Why should he parrot others so that you may be comfortable?
6. Here you question when the president will fulfill his campaign promises. He has a full four and hopefully eight years to bring them all to fruition. One-hundred days does not a presidency make. However, while your side of the aisle has been all a dither over losing the election, President Trump and his administration has been hard at work making the federal government smaller and more user friendly, has reduced immigration by 70 plus percent, begun getting rid of the bad guys, meeting numerous foreign leaders (his recent trip has been a huge success), the trade deals are being looked at, new ones with China have been put into place, several rogue countries have been put on notice that their tactics will not be tolerated and he has received pledges from numerous corporations that they will and are already bringing new jobs to the country. And the most vital of all, he has nominated and had approved and sworn in a Supreme Court Justice who, God willing, will be on the bench for the next 40 years. So there are but a few accomplishments to your questioned when, when, when. You would be well served if you focused not on the election lose but on what is actually happening now.
7. Your next paragraph talks about 34 broken promises. As you are well aware (hopefully) the president in many instances can only propose, it is up to the congress to implement through legislation. So look to those people if you are annoyed about broken promises.
8. Finally you end with the worry that the president is learning on the job. In as much as all presidents in their first term have to learn on the job, the only assumption one can make from your concern is that we the public did not elect a government bureaucrat as they would be the only people who might conceivably have that experience. Everyone learns on the job. Therefore, Bernadette, relax, enjoy the ride and be productive. It is the American way.
Charles Wibel
Wolfeboro

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