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August 08. 2014 6:33PM

Officials still seeking Hooksett/Pinkerton schools pact

HOOKSETT — Despite the fact Hooksett this week voted on Manchester as its default school district for high school assignment, officials from both Hooksett and Pinkerton Academy say they remain committed to fostering a lasting relationship.

“Continuing from last year into this year, Pinkerton is consistently working toward a long-term agreement with Hooksett,” said Pinkerton Academy Headmaster Griffin Morse. “We look forward to offering enrolled Hooksett students all the long-term educational opportunities provided to our other partner school districts.”

According to Hooksett School Board member Todd Lizotte, officials from both sides have tentatively agreed to a one-year extension of the current tuition agreement. Hooksett, however, has requested some minor changes before the deal becomes official, he said.

“The Pinkerton trustees will urgently consider changes requested by the Hooksett School Board for an enrollment agreement,” said Morse.

Morse said the revisions require trustee approval so the board plans to meet Aug. 20 to address the district’s requests. Assuming the Pinkerton Board of Trustees approves the modifications to the one-year tuition agreement extension, the Hooksett School Board plans to hold a special meeting the next week, likely on Aug. 26, to ratify the pact, said Hooksett School Board member John Lyscars.

He also noted Hooksett officials are still waiting to hear back from the Manchester Board of School Committee on their approval of an amendment to the current agreement, which will ensure Hooksett students who begin at a Manchester high school are allowed to complete their education there.

“We are forging partnerships with the outstanding high school opportunities that surround us with the best interests of all the Hooksett children and families in mind,” said Lyscars. “We also realize that receiving Hooksett children is beneficial to our partners and their districts as well and we look forward to furthering those partnerships for the long-term.”

Lizotte, at the Hooksett School Board’s Tuesday meeting, expressed concern about designating Manchester as the default district for high school assignment over Pinkerton, primarily noting the recent New England Association Schools and Colleges accreditation report on Central High School, which he said brought to light concerns with CHS’s ability to maintain current accreditation standards.

“Looking at it from that perspective, I believe we need to maintain another school, which offers access to all levels of education for our students, including special ed,” he said.

“We want to give parents and kids across all socioeconomic levels access to a second high school and that’s why we have Pinkerton and Manchester,” he said. “My position has been clear that we needed a school that is willing to take all of our students since the MOU (memorandum of understanding) schools (Bow, Londonderry and Pembroke Academy) only take a small percentage of our students.”

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