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Choosing Manchester: Will Hooksett families be allowed?

Hooksett’s school board might want a quick end to the town’s school contract with Manchester, but it is not clear that so many Hooksett parents are interested in undertaking a mass exodus when the contract expires next year. Interviews with this newspaper show that many parents would prefer to keep sending their high school students to Manchester rather than opt for the 25-mile trip to Pinkerton Academy.

This should not be surprising. In addition to affection grown from generational affiliations with Manchester high schools, a lot of Hooksett parents will find it hugely inconvenient to send their children to schools so much farther away. And yet if some Hooksett school board members have their way, that inconvenience will be imposed on Hooksett families.

Geography and history give Manchester an advantage over Pinkerton Academy and other high schools. But those advantages will not be enough if most parents become convinced that their children are being given a subpar education. Do they think that is the case now? Some do; some don’t. Those who don’t might be forced by their school board to drive 30 minutes or more each way to get their kids to and from high school. The Hooksett School Board has entered into negotiations with Pinkerton Academy, even though the board is, per an agreement, supposed to be negotiating in good faith with Manchester.

If Hooksett enters into a tuition agreement with Pinkerton Academy that allows only 30 or so students to attend Manchester high schools, the school board is going to have a lot of angry parents on its hands.

Eric Church
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