LONDONDERRY - With room to accommodate up to 200 additional students, Londonderry High School is opening its doors to tuition students from outside communities.
Superintendent Nathan Greenberg said Tuesday "a significant number" of families from Hooksett and Candia recently toured the campus; more tours are scheduled this week.
So far, the district has sent 21 acceptance letters to students from outside the district. The school board in the student's home district has the final say in the matter.
Hooksett currently has around 550 high school students, while Candia has around 140, according to Dr. Charles P. Littlefield, superintendent for School Administrative Unit #15.
SAU No. 15 encompasses the Auburn, Hooksett and Candia school districts. Hooksett and Candia students attend high school in Manchester via a tuition contract, but overcrowded conditions in city high schools have prompted the school district to look elsewhere. Auburn students now attend Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
Littlefield said he's processed three requests for Hooksett and Candia students transferring to Londonderry High School as of this week.
"We haven't really discussed anything formal, so the idea of having any sort of permanent agreement with Londonderry is very premature," Littlefield said Tuesday.
Greenberg said the immediate plan is to charge Hooksett and Candia students the same tuition those towns pay to Manchester - $8,400 per student a year. Transportation to Londonderry isn't included in the cost, so parents would have to choose between driving their child to school or paying something extra for a bus.
"We feel we've got a number of quality programs to offer here at Londonderry High School," Greenberg said.
Of particular appeal, he added, is the district's partnership with Southern New Hampshire University, which allows qualified high school students to take college courses.
Next year, seven college courses will be offered, with students eligible to receive both high school and college credits at the same time.
"Conceivably, our students can walk out of here with a briefcase full of college credits, saving their families quite a bit of money on college tuition," Greenberg said.
- - - - - - - -April Guilmet may be reached at AGuilmet@newstote.com.