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Hooksett holds off on school requests

HOOKSETT — In anticipation of finalizing a contract with Pinkerton Academy, the school board has suspended until Nov. 19 all student requests to attend specific high schools.

“It’s important to wait until we have concrete data from (memorandums of understanding) or (a contract with Pinkerton) before a sending policy can be set,” School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said after the 3-2 vote.

In the meantime, Korkosz said that it is still important that parents and students go through the process of trying to select a high school.

But board members David Pearl and John Lyscars voted against the suspension.

“We struck a deal with Manchester to allow our parents and students to (select their own high schools) without any claim from Manchester, so we have the right to do it,” Pearl said. “We have no other policy in place, and we are not sure when anything will be adopted, so I think (parent and student) considerations should be considered now.”

Pearl said the board should have set a policy long ago.

“Why should we ask parents to wait when we haven’t done our job?” Pearl said.

The settlement reached by Hooksett and Manchester ended the city’s lawsuit against the town and the town’s effort to have the city declared in breach of its tuition contract.

Manchester agreed that this school year would be Hooksett’s last in the 20-year contract the two parties entered into in 2003. Hooksett students would be allowed to continue to attend city high schools through 2018.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the board also voted 3-2 to create a new committee called the High School Communication Committee that would be formed of board members and members of the community. Its focus would be to inform the public about any potential contract with Pinkerton, with the aim of getting it passed by voters in March.

“I firmly believe that putting forth the warrant article for the anchor school is going to take the collective effort of school board and engaged parents. I modeled the committee after the efforts that went on in Auburn when they brought a warrant article to voters regarding Pinkerton,” Korkosz said.

Pearl, along with Lyscars, voted against the creation of the committee.

“We don’t need to complicate this with community members,” Pearl said. “We need to do our jobs as a school board and not involve community members at this point for that process.”

Korkosz disagreed, saying, “I think the more people engaged in the process, the more accurate the information that is being put out there will be, especially since some board members have said they are too busy for more — David Pearl has on the record said he is very busy, he sits on no committees except as an alternate to the Budget Committee, — and I firmly believe on March 13 whether the contract passes or fails, we shouldn’t say we could have done more. This board and community need to put everything we have into moving this forward. We have come too far to fail now.”

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