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Hooksett school board votes to replace chairman

HOOKSETT - The Hooksett School Board voted Tuesday night to remove Dana Argo as its chairman after he came under fire in recent weeks for his handling of a warrant article about the size of the board.

The motion passed 3-1, with Cheryl Akstin in the opposition. Argo did not attend the meeting.

Trisha Korkosz, the vice chair, assumed the role of chairman. David Pearl was voted vice chairman in a 3-1 vote, with Akstin again in opposition.

Argo came under fire for the handling of article to increase the size of the school board from 5 to 7 members. The article was designed to ease the board's workload and to free the chairman to attend to the duties of that position.

The article had previously been approved on Dec. 18 in a 3-2 vote.

When the question of putting it on the ballot came to a vote on Jan. 9, when board member Pearl and Korkosz - two of its yes votes - could not attend, the discussion turned to withdrawing it.

Michael Dubisz, the one yes vote in attendance that day, cautioned against the move, saying "once the school board members have passed it, I abide by that ruling. ... I think (this is) not doing things in the right way."

The vote to withdraw the article to expand the board passed 2-1.

On Jan. 22, the board voted 3-1 to return the article to the ballot.

The board made another last minute warrant change at the meeting, removing an article that would have allowed the school to create a fund from unspent money, not to exceed 2.5 percent of the current year's "net assessment," for emergency use.

The Manchester High School issue was also discussed at the meeting. The board directed Superintendent Dr. Charles P. Littlefield to attempt to gather information on classroom sizes at a two-week interval from the Manchester School District in order to monitor the overcrowding issue more closely and build a larger data pool.

In December, Hooksett sent a formal letter declaring the existence of a breach of contract on Manchester's part, in large part due to issues such as classroom overcrowding.

The board also voted to make two separate overtures to Manchester. The first was to make a second attempt at negotiating a mutual agreement for early release from the contract after the initial attempts last year failed. The second was to schedule a joint meeting between the two school boards to discuss the current situation at the city schools and the classroom conditions students faced.

Pearl noted to the public that they could not "guarantee" that either request would be granted.

The Manchester Board of School Committee canceled the last joint meeting with Hooksett, which had been scheduled for Dec. 21. It cited as its reasoning that given Hooksett's declaration of breach against the district, such a meeting would be "unproductive."

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