HOOKSETT — Though it may have come as little surprise to many of those in attendance at Friday night’s Hooksett School District Deliberative Session, much of the discussion of the evening centered around Article 3, which calls for a 10-year contract to send Hooksett high-schoolers to Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
The other issue that garnered significant attention was the district’s proposed operating budget, which represents a $2.5 million increase over the current fiscal school year, said Hooksett School Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz.
Yet the meeting did not generate any amendments to the warrant’s nine proposed articles.
Jason Hyde, a current candidate for one of the district’s five open school board seats, proposed a $745,000 reduction to the district’s proposed $29,935,864 budget. The amendment was rejected by voice vote, however.
The Pinkerton tuition agreement calls for a 10-year deal, which sends at least 75 students per grade to the Derry high school at a cost of $10,800 per student. Years 6-10 of the deal mandate 90 percent of public high school students attend Pinkerton Academy.
“Some people in the community feel it was rushed and others in the community feel that Pinkerton is the best educational option for our high school children, so we heard some discussion from both sides,” said Korkosz.
Also moving to the school district ballot without amendment are articles to allocate $34,000 to purchase appropriate software components and related materials to upgrade the HVAC system at David R. Cawley Middle School to improve the system’s efficiency, and another $85,000 to furnish and install a complete standby diesel generator package for Fred C. Underhill School.
Residents in attendance also supported articles to spend capital reserve funds on a $20,573 tractor; $30,745 to seal and repair the parking lot, driveway and sidewalks at Cawley; and $26,800 to re-coat the water tank at the middle school according to government regulations which require the mandatory 10-year maintenance.
There is also a petition article in place which asks residents to support a planning committee to study the feasibility of Hooksett withdrawing from SAU 15 and forming its own school district.
Of course, all articles must now be approved at the second session of the School District Meeting, which takes place on Tuesday, March 11 from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voters will also choose from 11 candidates currently running for five open seats on the soon-to-be seven-member school board.
Those who are vying for the elected positions include Phil Denbow, an incumbent appointed to the board in May of 2013. He’s also the chairman of the Hooksett High School Warrant Article Committee, which has been advising the school board on its presentation of facts and information to the public. He’s being challenged for the board’s open one-year seat by Joanne McHugh.
Hooksett Town Councilor Todd Lizotte is running for a two-year seat against Yvonne Preston, and Jim Sullivan, who currently chairs the town council, is hoping to be elected to one of three open three-year seats.
Korkosz, who is up for reelection, is also running for a three-year seat, as are Jack Sweeney, Mike Berry, Becky Berk, Amy Boillard and Hyde.