Hooksett School Board Member John Lyscars will introduce two conflicting policies at tomorrow night’s meeting of the Hooksett School Board, which includes a public forum specifically to take input on the proposed tuition contract with Pinkerton Academy. At issue is what the board should do if the minimum number of students required by the contract isn’t reached. As Lyscars sees it, there are only two answers to what to do if the minimum threshold isn’t met: Pay tuition twice for the number of students needed to meet the minimum number or force all freshmen into a lottery that assigns them to Pinkerton to meet the requirement. Expect push back from Board Chair Joanne McHugh who believes that neither policy is appropriate because it would bind a future board to a course of action. Lyscars, who opposes contracts requiring a minimum number of students to attend any particular school, had attempted to get a special meeting of the Hooksett and Manchester school boards scheduled before tomorrow night’s meeting to consider a long term tuition deal between the two communities that would pay Manchester a ten percent premium over its actual cost of educating Hooksett’s students in exchange for not requiring a minimum number of students. McHugh referred the request to tomorrow night’s meeting, which starts at six thirty in the media center at Cawley Middle School.
While we’re on the topic of the Hooksett School Board, Girard at Large has learned that David Pearl will not seek reelection. Pearl, who is up for reelection this March, has decided that things are on a much better footing than when he first ran. In an email received by Girard at Large, Pearl, who lead the charge to declare Manchester in breach of contract over classroom crowding issues, points to greater choices for Hooksett’s high school students and the live streaming and uploading of meeting recordings as accomplishments. Pearl’s clashes with former Board Chair Dana Argo over allegedly harassing emails to administrators led to a coup that saw Argo removed from the position and replaced by then Vice-Chair Trisha “The Gavel” Korkosz. We all know how that turned out, as Korkosz would toss caution to the wind, and just about every rule, policy and procedure with it, in pursuit of a long term, exclusive contract with Pinkerton Academy. Argo’s ouster would be followed by the election of John Lyscars, the resignation of Board Member Mike Dubisz, the appointment of Phil “Dumbo” Denbow, and one of the most tortured years in local political history that led to Cheryl “BT” Akstin not running for reelection and the ignominious defeat of Korkosz, Denbow and the Pinkerton contract they championed in an election that saw triple the normal voter turnout. Can’t imagine why Pearl doesn’t want to have anymore fun, though things seem to be on remarkably better footing.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Ayei Akot. That’s the name of the Manchester high school student who was slated for an expulsion hearing before the Board of School Committee’s Student Conduct Committee, but didn’t get there because district administrators entered into an agreement with the Office of Civil Rights of the federal Department of Education to reinstate Akot to Central High. When confronted with the identity of the student by Girard at Large in a inquiry on the matter, Superintendent Debra Livingston replied quote “it is not our practice to comment on matters of this nature.” We’d asked how Akot could be allowed to play basketball on Central’s team given his assault of a female student, other alleged violations of the Code of Conduct and grades that make him ineligible to play.
In our email, we reminded Livingston that we’re awaiting a redacted copy of the agreement between the district and the OCR as published news reports say they intervened to protect Akot’s civil rights against the district’s failure to provide an interpreter who speaks Dinka, Akot’s native language. Girard at Large confirmed that Akot did not need an interpreter from multiple sources who said he and his family had been in Manchester for several years and spoke English quite well. Livingston said our request had been forwarded to legal counsel. Finally on this topic, Girard at Large learned that after our email to Livingston on December twenty ninth, which we copied to the entire Board of School Committee, at least one school board member demanded a special meeting of the board to discuss its contents, angered by the information we’d presented. We believe that is why the board has scheduled a special meeting for this Wednesday night, which only has a non-public agenda item. Our requests to discover whether or not it involved students or staff or both have gone unanswered.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!