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January 10. 2014 7:59PM

Pinkerton waives minimum enrollment from Hooksett

HOOKSETT — The Pinkerton Academy Board of Trustees voted Thursday night to waive the 75 Hooksett freshman enrollment requirement for next year, making the lottery system the Hooksett School Board had approved possibly forcing some students to attend the school unnecessary.

The Hooksett School Board had voted 3-2 Tuesday, with Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz and Phil Denbow voting against, to ask Pinkerton to waive the requirement. At the same time, the board voted 4-1, with John Lyscars against, to create a lottery system to ensure 75 freshman would attend.

Chip Underhill of Pinkerton Academy said that Pinkerton decided to waive the 75 student requirement, "because Hooksett asked," and added that there is now no minimum requirement for how many students must attend Pinkerton next year.

"We know that this is going to be a rough transition, and we want to do everything in our power to make it as seamless as possible," Underhill said.

The Hooksett School Board previously agreed to a 10-year high school sending contract with Pinkerton that would start next year, and just in case voters voted down the contract in March, the board also entered into an enrollment agreement with Pinkerton for only next year. Before the requirement was waived, both the enrollment agreement and contract called for a minimum of 75 incoming freshman to attend Pinkerton next year.

"I am really glad to hear (Pinkerton waived next year's requirement), said Hooksett School Board Vice-chairman David Pearl. "I said from the beginning we had nothing to lose by asking. This is going to give the 8th-grade parents a chance to not worry about this. I think that is great. It shows Pinkerton is willing to work with us. Had they said no, I don't think we would have been offended, but I am glad they said yes."

Pearl said the reaction from the community to the news has been positive.

"I have already seen a lot of people happy about it online. Obviously, it takes a lot of pressure off and more importantly it gives us time if the contract passes to have a well thought out plan and let people get used to that plan," Pearl said.

Pearl added that he was surprised that both Denbow and Korkosz voted against sking Pinkerton in the first place.

Like Pearl, Korkosz said the reaction from residents has been positive.

"I have no problem admitting I was more skeptical than others that Pinkerton would say yes. I am glad David brought the motion forward to ask Pinkerton and that it worked out the way that it has. It truly shows Pinkerton is about the students, by their actions they are showing they walk the walk," Korkosz said.

"I think that is absolutely wonderful, because now we don't have to use the lottery. That is a big relief, I think it should be a relief for every family that they can truly make their decision," Korkosz said.Both Underhill and Pearl were both careful to note that only next year's requirement has been waived, and that if the contract passes, the 75 freshman requirement for the following year has not been waived.

"In the (second year) of the contract, if it passes, we are required to send 75 students to Pinkerton, so we will have to come up with a system to do that," Pearl said.

According to Korkosz, the contract now calls for a minimum of 75 students per freshmen class to attend Pinkerton during years 2-5 of the 10-year contract sending contract, and then 90 percent of each freshmen class until year eight, followed then by 90 percent of the entire student population of Hooksett for the rest of the deal.

bklein@newstote.com


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