Hampstead School Board Discuss Policy Changes

By Alex Malm

At the Nov. 8 Hampstead School Board meeting, the Board had second readings for a number of different policies.
One of those policies was in regards to home education programs.
It was explained by Hampstead Superintendent, Robert Thompson, that the changes are based on the recommendations of the NH School Board Association and the new state obligations they have for homeschool students.
Thompson stated currently they are working on outreach for families that homeschool their students.
“Many of our conversations lately have been about outreach for homeschool families,” said Thompson.
Thompson said some changes are families being able to designate the commissioner of education as the child’s participating agent. He said it makes it more difficult for the district when identifying students who are homeschool students that otherwise would be in the Hampstead School District.
It was explained by Thompson that they want to look at ways to offer and advertise for home school students to access education programs.
He stated students that are homeschooled are still able to participate in extracurricular activities with the school district.
As an example, Thompson said he recently had a conversation with a homeschool parent who was “shocked” to learn that their child can attend a dance, try out for sports, or even take a math class.
“I do think there’s more outreach that needs to be done by the school in order to make sure parents are aware of those,” said Thompson.
Thompson said while they keep a database of homeschooled students that live within the district, it isn’t completely accurate because it’s only students that they know about. He said generally the students they know about are students that originally attended public schools, but then left.
Overall, he said he’s hopeful they can inform families the school district is a resource for all students living in the district.
“We are still a resource for your child in support of their education,” said Thompson.
Also during the meeting, the School Board received a brief update regarding the contract negotiations between the school district and two of their employees unions.
School Board Chairman, David Smith, said they are in discussion with two unions.
“This year we have two union negotiations going on with HEA and HASS,” said Smith.
Smith said they didn’t have any substantive updates, however, he said they are progressing and moving forward.
In other news, School Board member, Karl Hubner, said he recently attended a meeting with school districts that send students to Pinkerton Academy.
He said the most notable thing that happened was that it was announced that the tuition for next year is likely to go up by 10% per student.
“That’s not a firm number and we’re hoping it’s going to come down,” said Hubner.
Hubner said it was more than they were expecting the increase to be.
“It wasn’t a great night, but we will figure it out,” said Hubner.
Thompson said they expect to have a final number by the end of November.

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