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Denbow elected to school board seat

HOOKSETT – After going more than two months without having a full board and enduring countless votes to fill the seat, the Hooksett School Board was informed by legal counsel that Phil Denbow had received enough votes from School Board members to fill the vacant seat.

At the June 4 School Board meeting, Denbow received two yes votes from Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz and Cheryl Akstin, with David Pearl voting against and John Lyscars abstaining.

The initial opinion during the meeting was that Denbow had not received enough votes to be confirmed, but Korkosz said the New Hampshire School Board attorney and the district's own legal representative said that Denbow had indeed received enough votes.

"I am very relieved that it is over," Korkosz said, "I think Mr. Denbow is a fair-minded individual who will bring some much needed tranquility to our board. I think that our board has struggled over the last few months with agreeing sometimes to disagree."

Korkosz said that with many votes brought before the four-person board ending in 2-2 ties, Denbow's appointment would end much of the stagnation by providing the deciding vote on issues.

"Members of the School Board have different views of what being a school board member is and what our role is. As you are on a school board, you begin to realize what isn't your role. The School Board should not hover at 30,000 feet and be in the everyday activity of the school and everyday activity of the administration, that is not really our role. It is not our role to control the day to day minutia of the school," Korkosz said.

She added, "With a new School Board member I expect to see us stepping out of trying to fill that role."

Denbow, a resident of Hooksett for more than 20 years whose daughter recently graduated and whose son is still in middle school, said he is looking forward to trying to get the school district moving in the right direction.

"I think I am good about the art of compromise, (and) sometimes it's OK to agree to disagree and move on," Denbow said. "In the end we have to get the people's business done."

Denbow said one of the first things he will do is lean on district Superintendent Charles Littlefield for guidance.

"The School Board hasn't been using him enough. When you are new, the first thing you should do is get next to someone with experience and learn from them, and he knows more about education than all of us together," Denbow said.

Denbow acknowledged that the School Board has been stagnant recently, but said that it wasn't his initial intention to try to fill the vacant seat. "Someone needed to step up, and it ended up being me because I think I can help," he said.

Despite voting against Denbow, Pearl said he is looking forward to moving ahead with a full board.
"I was looking for someone who would be a neutral party, someone to bring the board together, and I am hoping (Denbow) can, but at the time of the vote I choose not to support him. I think it will certainly make things quicker, because the deadlocked votes did take up time, even though I don't think there were that many of them," Pearl said.

Denbow said that he is looking forward to working with every member of the board, and that it is his hope that his placement on the board will bring a calming effect.

"In the end it is all about compromise and getting the people's business done," he said. Much of the trouble the board has endured recently, which culminated with members of the public attending the June 4 meeting to voice their displeasure, was blamed on lack of experience.

"We are a extremely young board, Akstin and I are oldest board members, and we have only been sitting for two years, and that is very uncommon that the veterans have only two years experience," Korkosz said. "I mean we are still learning and now we're the leaders."

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