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Hooksett board says school agreement with Pembroke delayed

HOOKSETT — While the Hooksett School Board hopes to have agreements about accepting Hooksett students with Bow and Londonderry ready for a vote for the board’s Dec. 3 meeting, a third expected agreement with Pembroke Academy has been delayed.

Hooksett is trying to create a plan for its roughly 650 high school students because the town ended its 20-year contract with the Manchester School District four years early — at the end of this school year.

Board member Phil Denbow said during Tuesday night’s special meeting that due to unexpected problems on Pembroke’s end, a Memorandum of Understanding won’t be ready as quickly as expected.

“Pembroke is willing to work with us, but they have had some attorney changes recently, and that has backed stuff up a little bit, so they may not be as timely as the other folks,” Denbow said.

Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said the Bow agreement would be for 10 students per class, and the Londonderry agreement would be for 40 students per class. How many would be able to attend Pembroke is unknown because of the delay.

There was some disagreement between board members as to when to expect the Pembroke MOU, with board member John Lyscars saying that as far as he knows, there has been no official estimate about when it will be ready.

In the meantime, Lyscars and Vice Chairman David Pearl advised parents interested in having their children attend Pembroke to apply to do so under the district’s current JCB policy, which allows parents to ask the district for permission to have their child attend the high school of their choice. Parents, however, have to pay any difference in tuition and provide their own transportation.

While the board wants the Londonderry and Bow MOUs up for a vote next week, Lyscars and Pearl have both indicated there are aspects of both agreements they might not be comfortable with and would like to see further negotiations.

“We should have never sent any proposed MOU without it being approved by the board first,” Pearl previously said.The board wants to negotiate MOUs with Pembroke, Bow and Londonderry that would lock into place a tuition rate for a set number of students to attend those schools. Unlike the high school sending contract being negotiated with Pinkerton Academy in Derry, any MOU agreement would not have to be a minimum of 10 years and would not have to be approved by residents in a warrant article.

Any agreement with Pinkerton would be to establish the school as the district’s anchor school, a term coined by the board to mean that all of the district’s students could attend, while schools with an MOU agreement would be referred to as satellite schools.

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