Hooksett board member challenges school talks decision
HOOKSETT — After the School Board voted Tuesday against forming a negotiation committee to handle contract talks with Pinkerton Academy, Vice Chairman David Pearl told fellow board members that unless given a legal reason not to, he would participate in future negotiations.
As a result, Chairman Trisha Korkosz said that a legal opinion would be solicited from the district’s attorney as to whether Pearl has the ability to attend.
“It is not appropriate for (Pearl) to go; the board did not vote for him to go to the negotiations. It all goes back that Mr. Pearl wants to be right, not what’s best for the children of this district,” Korkosz said.
Pearl said that he plans to attend because he feels that the board is abdicating its responsibility as elected officials by not forming a negotiation committee.
“We have a responsibility to be part of those negotiations; as an elected school board member, I intend to do that,” Pearl said.
He added that his original proposal for a negotiation committee, which would have consisted of two school board members and Superintendent Charles Littlefield and was voted down in a 3-2 vote, would not have necessarily had him as a member.
Littlefield to negotiate
Korkosz said she voted against Pearl’s motion for a negotiation committee because of her faith in Littlefield.
“The reason (Pearl’s motion was) voted down is because of our absolute confidence in Dr. Littlefield; he has over 30 years’ experience in school administration and has negotiated before with Pinkerton on behalf of Auburn. Mr. Pearl has a year and half experience as a school board member, and it is an administrative function to negotiate, not a school board function,” Korkosz said.
Pearl said that the idea of having a negotiation committee would not to be to oversee Littlefield, but to work with him.
Also, before Tuesday night’s meeting, Pearl accused Korkosz of overstepping her reach by not allowing him to add an agenda item for the meeting. Meanwhile, Korkosz called Pearl a hypocrite for trying to break the rules of the board for the past two weeks over a fact sheet posted on the Internet regarding the high school sending situation.
“This is classic David; he has been doing this for as long as I have known him. The rules apply to everyone but him. He tells me all the time every rule he thinks I am breaking. He is being hypocritical, but it is tough to keep track of what he is doing,” Korkosz said.
At a previous board meeting, members voted unanimously to put up a fact sheet on the Web regarding negotiations over where high school students will be sent. A day or two after it was put online, Pearl said a Hooksett resident advised him one of the statements was wrong.
“The way that it is published it says that future tuition rates (with Manchester) will be determined by future negotiations. That is incorrect; the rates have already been determined until 2018,” Pearl said.
Despite acknowledging that the wording could be better, Korkosz said that neither she nor Littlefield have the authority to remove it without another vote from the board. During Tuesday’s meeting the board voted to remove the statement in question so that it can be readjusted and reposted later.
Korkosz ineligible for job
A day after announcing that she had been hired as a substitute teacher for the Auburn and Candia School District, Korkosz said she has withdrawn from consideration for the job after being informed her potential employment constituted a violation of state rules.
The towns of Candia, Hooksett and Auburn comprise SAU 15, with Superintendent Charles Littlefield overseeing all three. As a member of the Hooksett School Board, Korkosz also sits on the SAU board, which meets and votes on issues that affect the entire SAU district.
“The SAU was made aware that there is an RSA that says I can’t (be a substitute teacher in the district while being a board member). It is fair to say I am disappointed, but I understand why,” Korkosz said.
The board will meet Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. to take up the agenda items not covered Tuesday.