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January 23. 2014 10:27PM

Hooksett voters will be asked if they want to consider leaving SAU 15

HOOKSETT — Voters will be asked to consider a warrant article in March asking if they want to form a committee to explore the possibility of Hooksett leaving SAU 15, which includes Auburn and Candia, and forming its own SAU with its own administration and staff.

The warrant article is a citizen petition article, meaning it was put on the ballot after 25 registered voters, including School Board member David Pearl, signed onto it.

“Speaking as a private citizen and not as a School Board member, I have supported this warrant article before. And this warrant article is to study the idea. It’s not to separate,” Pearl said.

Pearl said his support of the warrant article has nothing to do with any displeasure with Superintendent Charles Littlefield or his staff.

“My personal view has been that there is a size discrepancy between us, Candia and Auburn. Right now we pay 60 percent of all SAU costs, which is about a million dollars a year. And I think it would be a positive to have our own superintendent and staff, to get that kind of direct attention,” Pearl said.School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said she disagrees with the initiative, and said the reason it was put forward is due to control.“This is about control; it’s not about what is best for our kids. This is coming up because Pearl and his entourage can’t control Dr. Littlefield, and I don’t want a superintendent in the control of a small faction or one board member,” Korkosz said.She added that being in a SAU with Auburn and Candia is a benefit to students from all three districts.

“I still think the relationship between the three districts is a positive one. I think it is in the best interests of all the district’s students that we remain one SAU,” Korkosz said.

Pearl said that when he was a part of the committee exploring the issue in 2006, the committee recommended separating, but was told by the state they couldn’t put it on the ballot for voter consideration.

“That was the same as it is now; Pearl couldn’t control the superintendent,” Korkosz said.

Pearl was adamant that his support of exploring separating from Candia and Auburn has nothing to do with trying to control the superintendent.

“The superintendent works for the SAU School Board. If we were our own SAU, we would have our own staff working only for us, and it would be a positive to have that direct attention. In 2006, we looked at it and determined that through the three districts combined there were over 100 night meetings the administration had to attend, and even now we have had to try to fit meetings in,” Pearl said.

Pearl said that the process to separate is laid out by state law, the beginning of which is forming the committee to explore separation.

“After that, if the committee recommends separation, the Department of Education would have a hearing to determine if the matter can be put to residents for a vote. If that is then approved, Hooksett would be separated from SAU 15 within a year,” Pearl said.

bklein@newstote.com


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