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Hooksett to restart its talks with Pinkerton

HOOKSETT — During a heated Hooksett School Board special meeting Tuesday night, the board agreed to restart negotiations with Pinkerton Academy in hopes of sending high school students to the Derry school by next fall.

The decision came in two separate 3-2 votes, including one to reverse a decision that would have delayed the start of any contract to the 2015-2016 school year.

“In light that one of the two issues that stalled negotiations is now off the table, and we should get this (negotiation) back on the table and do it as quick as possible to give the 8th grade class some solace,” board member Cheryl Akstin said.

Pinkerton Academy sent over a newly revised contract this past weekend, surprising some board members. Superintendent Charles Littlefield had told the board last week it would be nearly impossible to negotiate a contract in time for the next school year.

Board member Phil Denbow said the board had a non-public meeting with school district attorney Ed Kaplan to review the proposed contract by Pinkerton Academy. He said just prior to Tuesday’s special meeting, the board had been authorized to say that Pinkerton has dropped its concern regarding the wording of proposed Memorandums of Understanding with Londonderry and Bow that would allow the two school districts to refuse to admit Hooksett students with records of violence or drug use.

“With one of the two issues addressed, I want to continue to work on the other one,” Denbow said.

Board members Trisha Korkosz and Denbow joined Akstin in voting to continue the negotiations. David Pearl and John Lyscars offered vociferous opposition to the plan.

Pearl said the Pinkerton contract will have restrictions on the number of students who would be allowed to attend other schools. As long as the restrictions remain, he said he would not support the contract.

“Buckle your seatbelts Hooksett,” Pearl said, “We’re now chasing down a restrictive contract when we have not agreed what circumstances people can opt out.”

Lyscars agreed, and said that just when parents in the community started to feel solace in knowing what would happen for next year, the board has changed its mind again.

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