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January 23. 2014 12:46AM

Fewer Hooksett freshmen heading to Manchester schools

HOOKSETT — Superintendent Charles Littlefield announced at Tuesday night's School Board meeting that 106 incoming freshmen have chosen to attend Pinkerton Academy next year while 32 have decided to attend Manchester high schools.

The 32 incoming freshman going to Manchester next year would represent a 45-student drop from the Hooksett freshmen attending Manchester schools this year.

"I think it is becoming very clear that many parents of school-age children in Hooksett no longer feel that attending a Manchester high school is in the best interest of their student. And Pinkerton is the only school that can accept all our students, making them the best alternative," School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said.

Board Vice Chairman David Pearl said he thought the Manchester number would be higher.

"We conducted one informal survey of the 8th grade in December about which school they wanted to go to, and 74 students indicated they wanted to go to Manchester," Pearl said.

In December, Hooksett used that poll to provide an estimate to Manchester for next year.

Pearl said he doesn't think the drop-off says anything about the education Manchester provides.

"A lot of students just want to go where their friends are going," Pearl said.

Littlefield has said that the final number of students who will attend Manchester schools is not due until March 31.

Along with Manchester and Pinkerton, 11 incoming freshmen will attend private schools, seven will go to Londonderry, six will go to Bow and four will attend Pembroke.

Hooksett has memorandums of understanding with Bow, Londonderry and Pembroke that allow a certain number of the town's children to attend their schools, however parents have to make up any difference in tuition and provide their own transportation.

"I think it is wonderful that every 8th grader's request can be honored; every student can go where they want to go," Korkosz said.Pearl said he is glad that none of the criteria the school board came up with were needed to assign students to different schools.

"I'm glad that the school board did its work and set all the criteria, but I am glad they were not needed."Pearl said he was very impressed with the job of Littlefield and his staff.

"I think the administration did an exceptional job."

bklein@newstote.com


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