March 06. 2014 10:55PM

Hooksett school bus to Pinkerton: Prepare for 6 a.m. pickup

Union Leader Correspondent

HOOKSETT — Cawley Middle School eighth-graders, take notice: If Pinkerton Academy is in your future, you’ll be setting your alarm clocks earlier in September.

All four of the bus routes to the Derry high school have a first pickup scheduled for 6 a.m., each with drop-off at Pinkerton at 6:50.

Karen Lessard, business administrator for SAU 15, which covers Hooksett, Candia and Auburn, said the earlier pickup times for approximately 110 students are simply a product of Pinkerton beginning classes a half-hour earlier than Manchester high schools, which Hooksett students have traditionally attended.

“Before we put this together, we waited to see which kids were planning on going to Pinkerton because we didn’t want to send buses to areas of town that we didn’t need to,” said Lessard, who coordinates transportation for the district. “As it turns out, we pretty much needed to cover the whole town anyway.”

Current high school buses begin picking up students at 6:35 a.m. and drop them off at Trinity, Central and West between 7:20 and 7:30 a.m. The longest current Manchester route, bus 11, makes its first pickup on Rockingham Road at 6:36 a.m. and drops students at Central 54 minutes later.

“Obviously, whether we’re going to Manchester or to Derry, it adds time to the trip,” said Lessard, who noted district policy mandates a maximum transportation time of one hour.

Lessard said the four Pinkerton buses are in addition to the district’s 16 current bus routes to Manchester and Cawley; those routes will be almost identical next year.

Melissa Bouldin, a current Pinkerton sophomore from Hooksett, said getting up early is tough, but the extra-half hour doesn’t make much of a difference.

“I don’t think it’s that bad. We leave around that time anyway, so it really shouldn’t be an issue,” she said.

Bouldin’s mother, Kim, works in Londonderry and drops her daughter off each morning, but she said the relatively early bus pickup time wouldn’t bother her.

“I’m up at 5 everyday anyway, so it’s worth it for them to have the transportation,” she said. “We often do carpools where we meet at 6:30 at K-Mart, so 6 o’clock, 6:30, once you’re up it really doesn’t make much of a difference.”

Phil Denbow, chairman of the Hooksett warrant article information subcommittee, said it is important to School Board members that the bus information be published before the March 11 vote on Article 3 on the Hoooksett School District warrant, which details the proposed 10-year tuition agreement with Pinkerton.

“There was an estimate done earlier in the year, and obviously the distance is the distance, but one of the concerns we heard from parents who came out to the Pinkerton information night is they wanted to know the bus routes before the vote,” Denbow said.