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Heading out: Hooksett's school choices

Hooksett parent Phil Denbow put it bluntly to a joint meeting of Manchester and Hookset school officials last Thursday. "I now have an eighth-grader who will be heading to high school this fall. With the current money issues that your district is having, why would I knowingly send my son into that environment?"

It is the question Manchester has been unprepared to answer for years. And it is likely going to suffer the consequences.

Hooksett has a contract to send its children to Manchester high schools (Central and West). Last month, the Hooksett school board voted unanimously to pursue an end to the contract. The board is considering many options, including contracting with numerous towns so parents have the option of sending their children to any of a variety of high schools. Imagine that: real school choice.

For far too long, Manchester city and school officials have acted as though parents had no options. They treated the public school system as the monopoly that it is. The reforms that should have come after Bedford left did not come. Now Hooksett and Candia are probably going to leave too. One wonders what would become of the school system if Manchester parents had the same options their counterparts in the contracting towns have.

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