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Hooksett School Board meeting to focus on K-8 issues

HOOKSETT — For more than a year, Hooksett’s high school future has monopolized time and discussion at school board meetings.

With that in mind, school officials have scheduled a special meeting today at 6:30 p.m., to review issues affecting kindergarten through eighth grade.

“The board felt it was a good idea to have a focused meeting on K-8, simply because the high school issues usually consume most of our regular meetings,” said John Lyscars, one of two board members — along with David Pearl — remaining from last year. “I have yet to review the agenda but I knew (David) Pearl wanted to discuss BYOD (bring your own device) policy. Other than that, I am not aware of any other significant discussion items.”
School Board member Jim Sullivan said board members had initially attempted to schedule a retreat, or workshop, to discuss longterm planning, establish budget goals, and touch on any additional subjects that may be pertinent.
“The board felt having this as part of the regular meeting would take away from the high school issue, plus it was not clear from some why we have retreats,” said Sullivan. “Since we could not decide, after a long discussion on what to do, a request was made to have a special meeting to allow discussion on K- 8.”
Though the exact subject matter is fluid, Sullivan said he hopes to discuss class sizes, testing scores, curriculum and programing.

“Ultimately,” said Sullivan, “the board needs more meetings to allow full discussion on all school issues, since the main emphasis has been just high school for so long.”
School board members continue to discuss all options for future high school placement for Hooksett students, including both Manchester and Pinkerton Academy.

Lyscars, last week, presented a plan which he said takes into account concerns from all interested parties with proposed memorandums of understanding with up to a dozen other local school districts.
“My proposal for a solution to the high school issue Hooksett currently faces takes into account all of my constituents concerns — including supporters of Manchester, Pinkerton, school choice, and building a school — by us not committing to any restrictive contracts, and continuing negotiations with Pinkerton and Manchester to further relationships with them and other surrounding communities,” he said.
The district currently has limited agreements in place to send students to Manchester schools, Pinkerton, Bow, Londonderry and Pembroke Academy.

The board, at the request of School Board Chairman Joanne McHugh, also agreed to invite Bob Baines and the Dyn company to present information about Manchester’s STEAM program at an upcoming meeting, said Lyscars.

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