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Hooksett school board members grapple with district’s future

HOOKSETT — Despite the presence of a new Hooksett School Board member, tensions remained high during the board’s workshop meeting Tuesday night designed to discuss efforts to terminate the district’s high school contract with Manchester.

Board Chair Trisha Korkosz at one point declared board member John Lyscars out of order when he began to question the agenda of the meeting while apologizing to Superintendent Charles Littlefield for an email he previously sent questioning the procedure of the meeting.

“You asked to apologize, and any apology with a but is not an apology,” Korkosz told Lyscars.

After Lyscars began to question Korkosz, she then called a five-minute recess.

Once the recess ended, Lyscars once again questioned Korkosz for declaring him out of order, saying, “I did not ask for the floor specifically to apologize.”

Korkosz responded by saying Lyscars was using the floor, “to blast me and an agenda that you don’t like.”

Board member David Pearl than said that Korkosz was using her position as chair to be rude to certain board members, and that she has been indiscriminate with how uses her authority as chair.

“You are speaking rudely to other members, slamming the gavel and saying out of order. I object to that,” Pearl said.

“Well, I object to being publicly bullied,” Korkosz responded.

Pearl asked for clarification, asking if Korkosz was saying that he was bullying her, which he called “a very serious thing to say in a school setting.”

Korkosz did not respond.

After tensions subsided, Littlefield gave a presentation to the board and the public in attendance detailing the issues the district will face if its claim of breach of contract is upheld against Manchester.

Saying that if the district’s claim is successful — a situation Littlefield called “scary” — the district would have to have a plan in place where its high school students would attend the 2014-2015 school year.

“The hovering question is how are you going to handle high school assignments,” Littlefield said.

Littlefield went into detail on how the timeline would work if the breach claim is successful, saying that along with the board, the voters of Hooksett, along with the voters of any town whose board of education agreed to take on Hooksett’s students, would have to approve a warrant article agreeing to the new contract.

Littlefield also told the board that he wasn’t sure what would happen if the district gets out of the contract with Manchester early, but doesn’t have an agreement in place detailing where the district’s students would be sent for the 2014-2015 school year.

He added that negotiations of this magnitude have a history of being contentious, and could take years, whereas the district would only have months.

Littlefield said that the State Department of Education would also have to approve any new contract, something he said would be no sure thing.

“I want to remind you this is not a one-way street,” Littlefield told the board.

He added that if the breach claim is not upheld, the district would have until 2016 to inform Manchester of any plans to end the contract in 2018.

“That would give us the luxury of time,” Littlefield said.

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