Hooksett’s eighth graders have chosen which high schools they will attend next year and their choices are interesting. Ninety four are planning on attending Pinkerton Academy. Thirty three are looking to go to Central High. It looks like Londonderry’s offer to pay for a bus if more than twenty kids signed up worked out for them as thirty two chose their high school. Five have chosen West High. Five have chosen private schools. Three are going to Bow and two to Pembroke Academy. One has an “individualized specialized program.”
In social media posts, Hooksett School Board Member John Lyscars said Londonderry’s offer to pay for a bus looked like a good move for them as the number of incoming freshmen almost doubled from the seventeen now in their first year. He suggested that Manchester might see gains in its numbers if it similarly offered to pick up Hooksett students in their own neighborhoods. Frankly, that won’t happen. Why does a kid care which community’s bus picks them up?
Anyway, overall, two hundred three Hooksett high schoolers are at Pinkerton. Two hundred attend Central, seventy six are at West, seven are at the Manchester School of Technology and five are at Memorial High for a total of two hundred eighty eight in Manchester schools. There are seventy one at Londonderry, forty at Trinity, eighteen at both Bow and Pembroke and one is at Alvirne.
The numbers were released yesterday, one day after the negotiations committee of the Manchester Board of School Committee met with Hooksett Superintendent Charles Littlefield to continue discussions over a long term contract between the two towns. In an interview here on Girard at Large yesterday, Mayor Ted Gatsas said he was unaware of any results from that meeting and warned against a deal that would have Manchester taxpayers subsidizing the cost of educating Hooksett’s students. He pointed to Londonderry’s offer to bus Hooksett students and asked “what’s next,” implying he was uninterested in deals that were financially advantageous to Hooksett at the expense of the city.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The traveling town hall act comprised of Mayor Ted Gatsas and mayoral challenger Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig arrived at the Parker Varney School in Ward Ten last night. It was sort of a surreal listening to Craig complain about how bad the schools in the city were while in the cafeteria of the New Hampshire School of the Year. Craig ended up providing Gatsas with a soapbox to brag about the positive recognition the district’s received for the efforts of its teachers and administrators, which were just praised by the district’s principals union in a presentation to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday night.
In response to a question by Ward Ten resident and Manchester school teacher Peter Sorrentino about why the young couples in his neighborhood move out of the city when they start their families, Gatsas suggested that if people focused more attention to the positives things happening in the district, the district might have a better image and people would be less concerned.
The city’s heroin problems were, of course, a topic. Gatsas made news last night saying that New Horizons for New Hampshire Executive Director Charlie Sherman called him yesterday after hearing the Board of Mayor and Aldermen had provided seventy five thousand dollars for a collaborative effort to help heroin addicts between his organization, Serenity Place and Hope for New Hampshire. According to Gatsas, Sherman knew nothing of the proposal. In response, Craig said she and Alderman Patrick Long talked to all three organizations about the effort, but she didn’t say with whom they spoke at New Horizons.
Gatsas also gave a rousing defense of the Manchester Police Department, following Craig’s criticism of crime in the city. Craig would later come back and praise the police as well, but blamed Gatsas for their being twenty vacancies on the force. If she were mayor, she’d go to the chief and find out why it was sooo hard to fill them, she said.
In an interesting exchange, Gatsas pointed to a number of efforts he’d initiated to make government more efficient and save money, none of which Craig supported. In a curious response to Gatsas statement that Craig asked him if he’d checked with the city’s employee unions before proposing an audit of the city’s health and dental insurance programs to ensure that only eligible dependents of city employees were covered, Craig accused the mayor of being punitive by proposing an audit that would remove non-eligible dependents off the city’s insurance plans. She, of course, was happy with the email she convinced the committee to send asking them to make sure only eligible dependents were covered.
The two square off again tomorrow night at Green Acres School in Ward Eight. Gatsas will be at Gossler Park School in Ward Eleven tonight at six thirty.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.