The Hooksett School Board has indicated its willingness to approve up to four buses to transport students to Pinkerton Academy for the 2014-15 school year. The cost will be roughly $200,000, Superintendent of Schools Charles Littlefield said this week.
The actual cost is $194,625, and the buses will be “rolled in” to the district contract with Goffstown Trucking, Littlefield said last week.
The district provides buses to Manchester, until this year its “school of record,” Littlefield said. It does not provide transportation to Pembroke Academy, Londonderry High School or Bow High School, the three schools with which it has a “memorandum of understanding,” he said.
Littlefield said the Hooksett board is still working on its budget and had planned to meet Jan. 2 but canceled because of the snowstorm, he said.
While the budget is not yet finalized, Littlefield said $10,976.83, the current Pinkerton tuition, will be budgeted for every incoming freshman, whether they choose the Pinkerton option or not. If the school they choose has a higher tuition rate, the parent will pay the difference, he said.
If it’s lower than Pinkerton? “There are no rebates,” he said jokingly.
A warrant article in March will ask voters if they approve of a 10-year high school sending contract with Pinkerton. A one-year “enrollment agreement,” approved in December, allows Hooksett to send a minimum of 75 students to Pinkerton for 2014-15.
Littlefield said he did not have a figure yet for the students choosing to attend Pinkerton under the enrollment agreement. The agreement was approved at the Dec. 17 meeting, after which the district “lost kids” for the holiday break.
The school selection forms will go out when children return to class, and if all goes well, Littlefield said, he hoped to have the forms back by Jan. 17, and a tally of who wants to go where by Jan. 24.
The contract to be approved in March also requires a minimum of 75 students from each class for the first six years, and 90 percent of Hooksett students at Pinkerton for the final four years.
Hooksett reached a settlement this past June for early termination of a 20-year sending contract with Manchester. The settlement requires Hooksett to pay $200,000, plus increased tuition for students still choosing Manchester. The settlement also calls for Hooksett and Manchester to negotiate a new sending contract by 2016. Manchester has accused Hooksett of being in breach of the settlement by negotiating a contract with Pinkerton.
In December, Hooksett Board Chairman Trisha Korkosz said Manchester alleged Hooksett was in breach of the contract because it didn’t give Manchester an estimate of the number of students to attend Manchester schools next year. But, Korkosz said, it was her understanding that Littlefield did give Manchester an estimate.
In addition to the March vote, the contract must be approved by the Pinkerton Board of Trustees, which will meet this month.
The contract will be voted on in Hooksett on Tuesday, March 11. The budget public hearing is Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall, with a snow date of Jan. 17; the deliberative session is Friday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. at Cawley Middle School, with a snow date of Feb. 8 at 9 a.m.