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Bid to unseat Hookset School Board chair fails

HOOKSETT — After a failed attempt to supplant School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz during Wednesday's meeting, board member David Pearl said he has instead decided to make peace.

Pearl and John Lyscars dropped all their complaints and agenda items regarding board behavior and policy after the board voted to revert board policy back to what it was before last month's changes.

"We listened to a lot of well-thought-out comments from the public saying they wanted us to end what is going on. And that was my feeling as well, and that is why I offered to be chair, and with that being declined the only other option was to try to remove things that are issues," Pearl said.

The policy changes that were approved in July restricted board members' abilities to call special meetings, set agenda items and talk to district teachers directly.

"I am happy the policy changes were reversed, in spirit of protecting the minority, and everyone will find themselves in the minority at some point," Pearl said.

While Pearl said he wanted to lead the board as chairman to solve some of the issues that have been plaguing it, his fellow board members did not see that as a viable solution.

"What concerns me, especially because of the spot we are in, is that the qualities we need in a chair are the ability to work closely with the superintendent (Charles Littlefield), who I know David doesn't speak with by phone, the ability to work with other SAU districts, (Candia and Auburn), and I know there has been friction there as well, and the ability to work with the school board in Manchester, as we still have kids there, and to represent the district positively," said board member Phil Denbow, who voted for Korkosz to retain the chairmanship.Pearl said one of the primary reasons he challenged Korkosz was to ensure the board's policies and state laws are enforced fairly.

Denbow called Pearl "an honest guy," but said the position of chairman requires "sufficient negotiating skills."

Lyscars, who was the sole vote for Pearl aside from Pearl himself, said Pearl would bring the board back into compliance with regulations.

Board member Cheryl Akstin, who also voted for Korkosz, said, "I do feel Trisha is getting up to speed as fast as she can with policy and procedure, which shows her due diligence, but the part that might be difficult is the dynamics of this board make it tough on her."

During the public comment section of Wednesday's meeting, resident Jason Hyde said Korkosz needs to be removed.

"I would say that the current chair is not the person to lead this board. Experience has shown that when one disagrees with the chair, unpleasantness ensues. She shows unacceptable behavior, she is abusive, using her power to gavel other people down," Hyde said.

Resident Mike Sorel, who has been on boards and committees in Hooksett for 40 years, said all the unpleasantness being experienced on the board is due to a small minority out to make Korkosz's life as difficult as possible.

"And David Pearl is the leader of that minority," he said.

Sorel added that the modus operandi of this "minority" is to attack any decision or person they don't agree with.

"They do not represent the community, they do not serve us and do not help us. (Korkosz) is being subjected to an attack, and it is difficult to also hear them attack the superintendent. They will file complaints and come before you to criticize, but I cheer you on and encourage you to keep going so you can focus on educating our children," Sorel said.

Korkosz did not address Pearl's challenge before the vote.

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