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Nashua officials seeking new home for alternative high school

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

December 04. 2017 11:43PM


NASHUA — School officials must soon decide the future of the Nashua Program at Brentwood, an alternative high school for local students that needs to find a new home.

“We are in the budget season now and we have to talk about some serious numbers,” Superintendent Jahmal Mosley told the Board of Education last week.

The Nashua Program at Brentwood currently has about 20 students enrolled in its program, which operates inside of a Merrimack building being leased by the school district.

That lease, however, is set to expire.

Previously, the Board of Education discussed the possibility of moving the Brentwood program into the school district’s central offices on Ledge Street, and potentially relocating the SAU offices — although no formal decision was ever made.

According to Mosley, site visits have been scheduled for this month to consider all options available to the district.

“We are trying to get this going as soon as possible,” he explained. “There are a lot of moving parts that we have to be transparent about in making sure our kids get what they need.”

Mosley said he is not trying to rush the process, but said it is important to begin the discussions now rather than waiting until February or March.

The availability of sites, costs to retrofit existing buildings and the option of purchasing or leasing must all be considered, according to George Farrington, chairman of the Board of Education.

“All of those things play into it,” Farrington added.

A special Board of Education committee is being assigned with the task of finding a new home for the Nashua Program at Brentwood, which assists students with different needs.

The program, originally known as the Brentwood School, was previously serving five different communities by providing individual and personalized education to students with emotional, social and academic challenges who were not thriving in a traditional high school setting.

The Merrimack-based school closed in 2014, but Nashua school officials decided to keep the program operating as the Nashua Program at Brentwood.

“They are starting to look at properties again,” said Sandra Ziehm, school board member. Ziehm was a member of the committee that previously looked at about 15 different sites for the alternative high school.

Ziehm said it was a lengthy process, and she anticipates that this time around it will also take a significant amount of time to find the right location for the program.

Farrington suggested that at least one of the three new members elected to the Board of Education in November be assigned to the committee, even though they will not be sworn into office until January.

“I strongly suggest that you have people on there now that are willing to make that commitment through,” he said.

khoughton@newstote.com


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