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Hooksett officials say deal won’t stop other school talks

HOOKSETT — Hooksett School Board officials are adamant that a Memorandum of Understanding between the Hooksett and Londonderry School Districts that would allow 40 Hooksett high school students per class to attend Londonderry High School should not affect the district’s relationship with Manchester or negotiations with Pinkerton Academy.

The Londonderry School Board approved the Memorandum of Understanding on Tuesday night, and Hooksett School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said she expects the Board to take it up at its Dec. 3 meeting.

“This is only for a (Memorandum of Understanding), so Londonderry can be a satellite school, they are not going to be a school of record. This doesn’t compromise our relationship with Manchester or our ongoing negotiations with Pinkerton to the best of my knowledge, but everything could change very quickly, the spokes are constantly moving,” Korkosz said.

School board Vice-chair David Pearl agreed that the Memorandum of Understanding shouldn’t affect the district’s relationship with Manchester or Pinkerton, but added that just because Londonderry approved the memorandum, which was negotiated by the two district superintendents, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want changes made.

“There is one significant change I want made in the contract about enrollment. As it stands, it states that Hooksett has to send the names of all interested students to Londonderry. My point is the contract language does not agree with the process the board is planning (to assign students), so one or the other has to change,” Pearl said.

Pearl added that he has requested to meet with a district attorney to go over the language of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding, which was posted on the Londonderry District website.

“I objected that the (Memorandum of Understanding) proposals were sent to the districts without the board’s approval,” Pearl said. “I think that should be the practice even if I didn’t want to make changes.”

While Hooksett is currently in negotiations with Pinkerton Academy on a 10-year sending contract that would start in 2015, Manchester still serves as the district’s high school of record.

A Memorandum of Understanding, unlike a sending contract, can be shorter than the state mandated 10-year minimum, and does not have to be approved by voters of the related towns in a warrant article. It also does not indicate how many students must attend a high school, only how many would be allowed, while at the same time setting a tuition rate for the length of the deal.

Korkosz said the school district is also in negotiations with the Bow and Pembroke school districts on Memorandums of Understanding, with Bow prepared to take up to 10 students per class, while the final number for Pembroke has yet to be determined.

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