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John Lyscars and "school choice" win Hooksett school board race


John Lyscars, a local education activist who has made headlines for his social media advocacy and his multi-contract high school proposal, will serve on the Hooksett School Board, filling the seat previously held by outgoing former chair Dana Argo.

Lyscars, founder of the education advocacy group HELP, took 274 votes, with parent and activist Jen Leger receiving 224 votes. David Ryan, who criticized the board's policy towards Manchester before dropping out of the race, received 94 votes.

Lyscars has been a vocal proponent of a multi-contract, or "choice" option in which the district would have multiple contracts with area schools, allowing families to apply to a school of their choice on a "first-come, first-serve" basis.

Lyscars had also spoken of a desire to pursue a continuing contractual relationship with Manchester under this framework.

Leger had advocated for a single contract with Pinkerton Academy in Derry if and when Hooksett resolves its contract dispute with Manchester.

School board member David Pearl has shown interest in exploring Lyscars' idea, though others, particularly Chair Trisha Korkosz, have expressed reservations.

All warrants except a $316,000 article for the School Building Construction/Reconstruction Capital Reserve Fund (which had a 19 cent per $1,000 estimated tax impact) passed. As a result, the estimated tax impact of the 2013 school district budget in Hooksett will be 23 cents per $1,000, or $57.50 on a home evaluated at $250,000.

Two collective bargaining agreements, increasing $234,015 and $$38,641 for the 2013-2014, passed by a sizable margin. The budget committee's proposed operating budget also passed, 346 to 238.

The administration had spoken in favor of the default budget, as it contained funding to restaff teaching positions, which will now be left vacant due to retirements. A warrant to expand the school board from 5 to 7 members also passed.
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