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Hooksett will turn to lottery if Pinkerton enrollment falls short

HOOKSETT — A lottery will determine which Hooksett students will go to Pinkerton Academy next year if 75 incoming freshmen don’t voluntarily sign up to attend, the Hooksett School Board decided Tuesday night.

“After much deliberation, we have decided for next year it will be a lottery. So if only 70 students decide to go to Pinkerton, and we need to give them 75, all students going somewhere else will be in a lottery, and then those chosen will go to Pinkerton. We decided this through a very long discussion, with a lot of motions and good debate,” board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said.

Korkosz said every student who chose not to go to the Derry school would be included in the lottery if it is needed.

“The board felt that it needed to be everyone who didn’t choose Pinkerton would be in the lottery. No geographic concerns were taken into account because of the logistics of having to map out upwards of 100 kids,” Korkosz said.

Korkosz acknowledged that the vote to establish the lottery might make some residents unhappy.

“It’s not perfect, but it’s something we all came together on. It was a very difficult decision, and nothing was done lightly,” Korkosz said.

Board member John Lyscars, who has previously said he opposes any agreements with minimum enrollment requirements, was the sole vote against a lottery.

While voters will decide in March whether to approve a 10-year high school sending contract with Pinkerton, the school board also entered into a one-year enrollment agreement with Pinkerton that calls for a minimum of 75 freshmen to attend Pinkerton next year.

Korkosz said the lottery system would only be in place for next year’s freshmen.

Board member David Pearl said, “I think no one is going to like it. I don’t like it, but I think it is fair. In the amount of time that we have to make these decisions, I think it was the best solution. I was not in favor of putting us in this position, but we are here and have to deal with it.”

Despite voting for the lottery, Pearl said he made an unsuccessful motion to exempt students who wish to attend Manchester schools from the potential Pinkerton lottery.

Along with establishing the lottery, the board also voted to ask Pinkerton if the 75-student requirement could be waived for next year, with Pearl, Lyscars and Cheryl Akstin voting for it, and Korkosz and Phil Denbow voting against.

“Removing that for this year would give us a chance to take a breath and prevents a lottery or any other way to compel kids to have to go,” Pearl said. “I am very happy that it passed because it doesn’t hurt to ask. We made it clear that this request is not a negotiation. We have already signed the contract; this is purely up to Pinkerton. At the end of the day, they can choose what they like, but I feel we needed to ask.”

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