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Hooksett school petition calls for exploring feasibility of withdrawing from SAU 15

Union Leader Correspondent

February 25. 2014 5:43PM

HOOKSETT — Kathy Butler wants residents to understand what a vote on March 11 for Article 9 on the School District warrant really means.

“I would like to make sure that the citizens of Hooksett understand that a ‘yes’ vote simply means a committee will be formed” to study the possibility of withdrawing from School Administrative Unit 15. “It does not mean we will withdraw from the SAU,” said Butler. “This committee does not impact their taxes, and there is no charge associated with this.”

Butler is one of at least 25 residents who signed the petition to place Article 9 on the warrant. She said she and fellow supporters of Article 9 are simply taking advantage of their legal rights to explore the possibility of splitting from an SAU, which encompasses Hooksett, Auburn and Candia.

“I’ve lived in this community for almost 10 years, and I have a vested interest in making this the best possible place to live, and looking at this is just a way of determining if we can do things better,” she said.

Butler said the timing of the article has nothing to do with the anchor high school debate or anything else going on in town.

“This is an independent action, and I just think it would be a prudent step for Hooksett to take right now,” she said. “In order for Hooksett to evolve as a community, I think it’s important that we advance, and taking a look at what we’re doing as a school district and forming an objective view can only benefit us.”

School board member Phil Denbow, speaking as a resident and Hooksett parent, said he has no problem with the formation of an exploration committee, but hopes Hooksett remains part of SAU 15.

“I think Dr. (Charles) Littlefield and the SAU (15) staff do a great job, and obviously I’d like to see Hooksett continue to utilize their services,” said Denbow. “With everything we’ve had going on (with the anchor high school debate and other school-related affairs), we’ve probably been taking a large portion of their time and resources, and they’ve always, always been a great asset as far as I’m concerned.”

Butler said she and other proponents of the petition article are not necessarily in favor of withdrawing from the school district. Rather, she said, they simply want to gather information and discuss the findings in an open forum before making a recommendation.

“Anybody who is in favor of withdrawing without knowing all the facts is very shortsighted. The only way to know is to form this committee and have a study,” she said. “We just want to go back to the citizens and say, ‘Yes, this is the best course of us,’ or ‘no, we need to do something else.’”

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