HOOKSETT — Along with agreeing to send at least 75 students to Pinkerton Academy next year, the Hooksett School Board has signed contracts up to four buses to transport the students at a cost of roughly $200,000.
Hooksett residents will decide in March whether to approve a 10-year high school sending contract with Pinkerton. In the meantime, Hooksett has entered into an enrollment agreement for at least 75 students for next year, making the buses a requirement even if voters reject the contract.
"With the enrollment agreement, this is happening. The deal would be for up to four buses with Goffstown Trucking. But, for instance, if we only need three buses, the cost of one bus would be returned to reduce tax rate of the next year. But this is the cost for four buses, which is not unreasonable and comparable to what other districts pay," Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said.
With the additional buses, Korkosz previously said transportation costs for the district could be roughly $800,000. Along with buses that provide transportation to Manchester, the new deal with Goffstown Trucking could bring the district's fleet up to 10 school buses.
Board Vice Chairman David Pearl said that while the district has said it will provide transportation for Pinkerton students, he is frustrated that the board has yet to establish how those four buses will be run.
Pearl also said that if the contract fails in March, he might have issues providing transportation to Pinkerton because traditionally Hooksett has not provided transportation to high schools that are not considered a school of record by the district."I think what we need to do is make our decisions on transportation scenarios that include residents passing the contract and not passing the contract. We shouldn't be unprepared if it doesn't pass," Pearl said.Board member John Lyscars proposed adding two buses, and also expressed frustration that the board has not established how the extra buses will be used.
"The initial proposal was to provide four buses. There are two things I have a problem with, it is not fiscally responsible, but also practically, I don't think it makes sense because four buses would be enough to accommodate 240 children, and I don't think there are 240 ready to take the bus. We did no sampling and made no effort to figure out who will use it," Lyscars said.
However, he added that his proposal would only have been applicable if the district entered into a contract with Pinkerton that has no restrictions on student attendance.
"I do not support the current contract," Lyscars said.