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Hooksett School Board votes to set aside funds for buses

HOOKSETT — The Hooksett School Board voted Monday to add $187,000 to next year’s transportation budget for four more school buses in anticipation of a high school sending contract with Pinkerton Academy.

The new contract is set to be presented to the board and its attorney during a meeting on Nov. 13.

Board chairman Trisha Korkosz said the board expects to receive memorandums of understanding from Londonderry, Bow and Pembroke to allow some students to attend those schools and a sending contract from Pinkerton.

“So (adding the four buses) was in anticipation of that,” said Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz.

The board also voted to guarantee bus transportation for students who attend high school in Manchester until 2018, which is the last year Manchester has to accept students from Hooksett under the terms of the settlement that prematurely terminated the sending contract set up between the two districts.

Korkosz said the buses are a necessary expense.

“I think the cost of transportation is a necessary expense because we are asking families to attend a different school than what this district has traditionally attended, and for some families (Pinkerton) is not in the footprint of where they drive,” Korkosz said.

Korkosz said the agreement to add the four buses with Goffstown Trucking, the company that currently provides the district’s six buses for transportation to Manchester, currently stands only as a budget appropriation.

“It is designed so that Goffstown Trucking won’t purchase the trucks until voters decide on the expected Pinkerton contract in March. If it falls through, we won’t spend the money,” Korkosz said.

Board members John Lyscars and David Pearl voted against adding four buses, with Lyscars saying he voted against it for fiscal and application concerns.

“We keep kicking the can down the road on the hard questions that residents want us to answer,” said Lyscars. “Because of the settlement with Manchester we have to pay a $200,000 penalty and we are looking at an increase in tuition of over a million dollars. That is real money, and with this board, it’s almost like because it’s not their money they can expend without thinking about it.”

Korkosz disagreed, saying that Superintendent Charles Littlefield has made the board well aware of the costs associated with leaving Manchester for Pinkerton, and that the cost is well worth it.

The board also voted to guarantee bus transportation to Manchester through 2018 after Korkosz said the board began hearing transportation concerns from parents who want their children to remain in Manchester high schools.

“I voted for this because there was an assumption when many families choose to go to Manchester that it would remain our school of record, and that didn’t happen. So we want to reassure them that their children will still have bus service should they choose to stay,” Korkosz said.

Lyscars, who voted against the motion along with Pearl, said he voted against it because the current school board cannot make decisions for future school boards unless a contract is entered into.

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