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Board member urges Hooksett residents to fight Pinkerton school deal

HOOKSETT — Hooksett Board member John Lyscars is suggesting that residents start a petition with a goal of 1,000 signatures to voice their displeasure with the recently signed contract with Pinkerton Academy.

In a mass email, Lyscars said that sending such a petition to Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, Pinkerton Headmaster Mary Anderson and Hooksett School Board officials would show how many residents oppose Pinkerton's restrictions on how many Hooksett students can attend other high schools.

"I know it would have no legal impact, but the impact that I would hope for is that maybe people would listen, that the decision-makers would reconsider what they have done ... I do know of at least one person working on one and I would expect it to come out very soon because this is a very hot topic right now," Lyscars said.

Last week the Hooksett School Board voted 3-2, with Lyscars and board member David Pearl opposed, to enter into a 10-year sending contract with Pinkerton. In the first five years, a minimum of 75 percent of each class from Hooksett must attend Pinkerton. For the second five years, 90 percent of Hooksett students must attend Pinkerton.

The contract must still be approved by Hooksett voters in a warrant article in March.

"I do not support the current contract. It removes all competition with surrounding high schools for Hooksett families," Lyscars said. He added: "I think Pinkerton is a wonderful school, I just don't want restrictions in the contract. I think that with no restrictions Pinkerton would find out it's the best thing they could do because people would want to go there instead of feeling forced."

Board members David Pearl and Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said they don't see the point of the petition.

"This item is on the warrant article for the voters to decide in March; that is how contracts work," Korkosz said. "A petition would be redundant. The voters are deciding this anyway."

Pearl agreed.

"My feeling is that we are headed for the ultimate petition, and that is the warrant article," Peal said.

Pearl added that even if a petition were to receive 1,000 signatures, he doubts it would change the minds of any School Board member.

Currently, most of Hooksett's 600 high school students attend Manchester schools; some attend Londonderry High and Pinkerton. Hooksett has also been involved in contract negotiations with Londonderry, Bow and Pembroke.

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