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Hooksett's choices: Leave them to parents

After defeating a tuition contract with Pinkerton Academy on Tuesday, Hooksett has numerous high school options. All parents should be so lucky.

Hooksett, which tuitioned its high school students to Manchester for more than a century, grew frustrated with the city's schools in recent years and declared the city in breach of contract in 2012. The result was a settlement that let Hooksett out of its contract this year. The town school board then swiftly sought and obtained a long-term contract with Pinkerton Academy, but voters resoundingly rejected it last week.

Hooksett has options now. Manchester is only one of many choices. The town could ink a deal with Bow, Pembroke Academy or Londonderry. It might negotiate a Pinkerton contract that voters would approve. If Manchester wants Hooksett's students, it will have to compete for them.

And that is a positive development. Competing for students is how all schools should operate. It would improve the schools and better serve the students.

Outgoing Hooksett School Board member Phil Denbow said after the election, "So this board is going to have to do a lot of work to figure out where the majority wants to go because at the end of the day, you have to have a plan."

Do you? Does the municipal government have to herd all students to the same school?

Hooksett has no high school. There is no reason why the town must cut a deal to send all Hooksett high school students to the same school.

The board could work out tuition deals with multiple school districts and let parents choose the one they like best. Or even better, it could give parents vouchers to use at the school, public or private, that best suits their children.

In a town with no high school, why should the school board have the authority to make everyone attend the same out-of-town school? Let the parents pick.

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