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Special meeting Monday to cover Hooksett's high school concerns

HOOKSETT — The Hooksett School Board is holding a special high school informational meeting Monday at Cawley Middle School that School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said she hopes will help relieve residents' concerns after news broke that Pinkerton Academy negotiations have hit a snag.

Originally scheduled in October, the special meeting was supposed to be an opportunity for the board to go over a finalized high school sending contract between Pinkerton Academy and the district and Memorandums of Understanding with Bow, Pembroke and Londonderry. However, after news broke that any contract with Pinkerton would start in 2015 and not next year as hoped, the meeting will now be used to explain to parents what will happen in lieu of a contract with Pinkerton next year. Korkosz added that currently only the Londonderry MOU is available to discuss with the public.

"The buzz that I am hearing is that a large amount of the community is going to come out to see what the plan is. I think the meeting will do a good job of informing the public of what is going on because people are very nervous since the Pinkerton contract fell through," Korkosz said.

To start the meeting, Superintendent Charles Littlefield will give a comprehensive overview of what the district's short- and long-term plans are.

"Not bits and pieces, it will be a presentation of everything. This will help the community see what the short-term plan and long-term plans are for our students," Korkosz said.

Following the presentation by Littlefield, Korkosz said the public will be given a chance to comment and ask questions.

"I truly hope that members of the community come out to see the plan, to give their input and participate in the community," she said.

However, she added that emotions within the community and within the board have been high, and she is nervous that the meeting could dissolve into a shouting match between residents and board members.

"I don't want to see people arguing, but I think some people like to argue, unfortunately. But I don't want to see it, because I think you can agree to disagree on something and come back to the table and still move forward," she said.

She added that the board will listen to community members' suggestions.

Board Vice-chair David Pearl said that he has similar expectations as Korkosz does for the meeting, but added that he recently filed a complaint with SAU 15, which encompasses the Auburn, Hooksett and Candia School Districts, against Littlefield due to what Pearl called an illegal meeting Littlefield called to discuss the Monday special meeting.

"After Tuesday's meeting was adjourned, Dr. Littlefield called the board back to the table and asked about Monday's meeting. John Lyscars and I left because we felt it was an illegal meeting in violation of the state Right to Know Law," Pearl said.

He added that Littlefield should have known better.

"It wasn't the board, it was him," Pearl said.

Pearl said that he asked that the SAU take up the matter during their next regular or special meeting.

For her part, Korkosz said there wasn't an illegal meeting on Tuesday, and that nothing about the Monday meeting was changed or voted on.

However, Town Council Chair and former School Board member James Sullivan was in attendance, and said that to him, it appeared as if an illegal meeting took place.

"It seemed like an innocent mistake," he said.

In an effort to bring as many people to Monday's informational meeting as possible, child care will be provided. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Cawley Middle School.

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