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Poll results 'HELP' clarify Hooksett's next school option

Polling results released by a local grassroots group suggests overwhelming support in Hooksett for moving away from Manchester High School Central as the town's primary high school vendor.

The High School Education Lifts People (HELP) poll, which was conducted on Election Day outside the town's polling site at Cawley Middle School, listed two options:

- Remain with Manchester Central; possibly with a renegotiated contract, or

- Pursue a "choice" option, involving multiple contracts with area schools, creating a pool of options that parents could consider.

Replacing Central with another single contract school, a course the school board had discussed, was not an option.

Ninety-five percent of the 752 "votes", or 717 respondents, favored the "choice" option. Only 35 voters, wished to remain with Central. People who "voted" did so on a volunteer basis, having to approach the booth themselves outside of the polls,

The options were framed under the question: "what is your #1 priority message to send to our Hooksett School Board representatives?"

A HELP press release said the poll was created "to understand the Hooksett voter position with regards to sending Hooksett high school students to Manchester, NH under a current atmosphere of budget and staff reductions as well as classroom sizes greater than the minimum NH state allowed threshold of 30 students."

HELP founder John Lyscars noted that the total number polled, was roughly five percent higher than the number of students currently attending Manchester schools.

"This is a hot item in Hooksett that has everyone's interest," said Lyscars.

The results were announced at a press conference Thurs., Oct. 8 at the Hooksett Public Library. HELP described the event in a press release as "a brilliant display of American democracy hard at work."

HELP, which is something of a hybrid of the democratic grassroots in the vein of Occupy and a social media forum, began and remains primarily focused on a Facebook group created on Oct. 20 by Lyscars with the stated goal of working to "define and provide educational excellence for ALL Hooksett High School children."

Regular meetings have been held by the group with a loose moderator system. The group currently has 400 members.

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