Hooksett school vote puts city on notice
The Hooksett board gave the Manchester School District 180 days to remedy this and any other breaches, or else it would consider the contract void.
The board also unanimously voted to formally authorize its school superintendent, Charles Littlefield, to begin “formal conversations with other (school) districts” should Hooksett school officials need to find another school to educate its estimated 500 to 600 high school students, Hooksett School Board Chairman Dana C. Argo Sr. said.
Littlefield already has engaged in “informal” talks with area school districts this summer following cuts to Manchester teaching staff and resulting increases in class sizes, Argo said.
The school committee took the action at Tuesday’s meeting after hearing many angry parents describe overcrowded conditions facing their children in the Manchester schools, Argo said.
“We have many, many classes that are well exceeding the state recommendations” of no more than 30 students per teacher, Argo said.
One parent told the school board their daughter’s math class has 44 students and “she was sitting on the floor,” Argo recounted.
“One parent got up and ... said his daughter had three lunch periods,” Argo continued. Another parent said their child had lunch scheduled at 9:30 a.m.
Argo said these anecdotal accounts were largely supported by documentation provided by the Manchester school district since school opened last week, showing many classes exceeding state recommendations.
Hooksett is one of three surrounding communities that has a contract with the Manchester school district. Under the contract, Hooksett pays Manchester to educate its estimated 500 to 600 high school students. The agreement requires Manchester high schools to provide appropriate space in accordance with state minimum standards.
While the official class size figures are not set until Oct. 1, Argo said “based on the numbers we saw last week, it would take some pretty drastic changes on Manchester’s part to remedy them all.”
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Kathryn Marchocki may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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