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April 01. 2014 10:10PM

Hooksett school board plotting its next move on high school

HOOKSETT — The school board is trying to determine its next step in light of voters’ rejection to the deal to send the town’s students to Pinkerton Academy.

The board will hold a public forum April 21 to gauge why residents voted for or against the failed Pinkerton contract.

Like the meeting a week prior, several residents approached the microphone Tuesday to express their opinion on the subject.

While many of those who spoke at the March 25 meeting verbalized a strong support for a continued effort at establishing a long-term Pinkerton contract, Marc Miville asked the board to strongly consider the reality that the voters rejected the Pinkerton pact.

“I sat here (last week) with other people coming up here and promoting the Pinkerton contract as if nothing happened,” he said. “I couldn’t help but notice (the board) spent nearly two hours at the last meeting trying to figure out how to make the Pinkerton contract work when, procedurally, the voters essentially told you not to.”Much of the discussion Tuesday centered on how to define the 1,026-792 March 11 rejection of the Pinkerton deal.

Low turnout vote

David Macpherson, however, said the vote may not have been as definitive as it seems.

“I keep hearing the Pinkerton contract was overwhelmingly voted down, so I went back and looked at 2012 presidential election and found that 7,400 votes were cast. ... We had a total of around 1,800 who voted (on March 11), and of that, about 55 percent said ‘no.’ I don’t think it was overwhelmingly shot down, and I think we need to get the public more involved because ... we need more input from the public.”

Superintendent Charles Littlefield told the board that he has written to Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and has been in touch with Pinkerton Headmaster Mary Anderson to inquire about the potential for a one-year extension to the current Pinkerton enrollment agreement. Littlefield said Anderson indicated that she’d discuss the idea at the next Board of Trustees meeting on April 10.

Currently, 104 Hooksett eighth-graders have elected to attend Pinkerton next year, 31 selected Manchester Central. The remaining students are split between Manchester West, Bow, Londonderry, Pembroke, Manchester School of Technology and private schools.

In addition to scheduling the public forum, much of the board’s focus centered on defining current agreements and memorandums of understanding with the aforementioned school district. Board members voted to use the term “school of record” to denote the default high school to which Hooksett is assigning its students.The majority of the remaining talk revolved around additional actions that need to take place before a proper course for the future can be established, including surveying voters and Hooksett fifth, sixth- and seventh-graders on their preferred high school destination.

roconnor@newstote.com


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