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Hooksett school board makes cuts in effort to reduce budget

HOOKSETT — The Hooksett School Board voted to reduce the district’s roughly $30 million budget by $141,000 at Tuesday night’s board meeting in an attempt to fulfill the request of the Budget Committee to shave the budget by 1 percent.

The proposed budget for next year, which was $29,789,827, now stands at $29,648,154, which only represents a roughly half-percent reduction in the budget.

“We cut a lot of supply items and took money for a new position out. I think this could appease the Budget Committee, but they could also make the additional cuts themselves,” Board Chair Trisha Korkosz said.

Korkosz said the cuts were put together by Superintendent Charles Littlefield and his staff, and that they come from the reduction of full-time position at the high school, removal of the salary for a proposed administrative assistant position, and from departments across the district making incremental reductions in their supply needs.

“The loss of the (salary for the assistant) was a big (loss),” Korkosz said.

Still, for board member David Pearl, the cuts didn’t go far enough.

“I commended (administration) for coming up with them, I voted for them. We reached about half of (the Budget Committee’s) request, and I think it is a good thing, but I would have preferred that we reached the full one percent both to reduce the budget and to make sure the Budget Committee doesn’t (make the cuts themselves),” Pearl said.

As it stands, the proposed budget represents a roughly $2 million increase over the current budget, something that Pearl and Korkosz both said can be attributed to the high school issue.

“It is primarily due to all high school issues, not just going to Pinkerton Academy. Tuition is increasing with Manchester, we have the (second $100,000) settlement payment with Manchester and we have a bunch of new Memorandums of Understanding,” Korkosz said.

Pearl agreed, but said that is exactly the reason why the board should have been looking at more things to cut.

“I have made a number of motions in the past to reduce the budget, but none of them succeeded,” Pearl said.

Korkosz said board member and Budget Committee School Board representative Cheryl Akstin will present the cuts to the committee on Thursday. Korkosz added that budget cuts represent the board’s last work on the budget, and that the Budget Committee will take up the issue at its meeting on Thursday night. After that, she said the next available opportunity for the budget to be altered will be during February’s deliberative session.

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