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October 16. 2013 10:56PM

Manchester says Hooksett students can finish up school in the city

HOOKSETT — Manchester school officials have indicated that Hooksett students in city schools will be able to finish their high school careers where they started, Hooksett School Board members say.

As part of the settlement that prematurely terminated Hooksett’s high school sending contract with Manchester, Manchester must take all Hooksett students until 2018, but no longer had any obligation as to which high schools those students would be assigned. Since the agreement was signed, many parents in Hooksett have expressed concern that Manchester could change which school their child attended in the middle of their high school career.

“There was a lot of concern in the town over this, this should give some relief to a lot of parents and students,” Hooksett School Board Chair Trisha Korkosz said.

School Board Vice-Chair David Pearl said that Superintendent Charles Littlefield said Manchester doesn’t anticipate any changes in how students are assigned. Under the terms of the settlement, Manchester has sole authority of where Hooksett students are assigned, he said.

“It is good for students to finish where they start. That was brought up a couple of months ago, what if Manchester shifts students around, what happens to our students. But this news is positive for Hooksett, and I am grateful to Manchester because it is their decision, and something entirely under their control,” Pearl said.

Korkosz said that traditionally Hooksett students west of the Merrimack River went to High School West, and if they lived on the east side they went to Central High School.

“We have received reassurance that Manchester will continue with past practices, and past practice is that they don’t go against what people ask for. So if a kid is a junior now, they should be able to finish their high school career where they started it,” Korkosz said.

Also, during Tuesday night’s board meeting, the board in two separate 2-2 votes decided not to ask the lawyer who negotiated the settlement on behalf of Hooksett, Gordon Graham, to prepare financial information about the settlement for the public.

Korkosz and Cheryl Akstin voted for getting information from the lawyer and against asking the administration, while Pearl and John Lyscars voted the opposite.

“There are numbers out there regarding the financial impact of the settlement but none officially from the board and some members of the board aren’t all that comfortable with what numbers we can share and can’t share, (and the lawyer could have helped with that),”Korkosz said.

She said she voted against asking the administration because Littlefield has informed them that without a contract with an anchor school and memorandums of understanding with satellite schools, doing so would be premature.However, Pearl disagreed, saying, “I made the point that the most qualified people to put out correct numbers was the administration. They voted no.

Then Korkosz made a motion about asking the lawyer about what the cost of litigation could have been without the settlement, and I voted against it on basis that I don’t think anybody can predict accurately what cost of litigation could have been, there are so many variables.”

bklein@newstote.com


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