Hooksett Voters Approve 10-Year Contract with Pinkerton Academy

It’s official. Pinkerton Academy is one of the two “anchor schools” for the Hooksett district, following a vote on a contract with the Derry-based semi-private high school in the March 10 elections.

Second time was the charm for Pinkerton and Hooksett, as voters approved a 10-year contract, 1,033 to 528. The district rejected a long-term contract with Pinkerton last year.

Contacted by phone on Wednesday, March 11, Charles Littlefield, superintendent of School Administrative Unit (SAU) 15, said one reason he thought the contract passed was the effort of the two negotiating teams. When last year’s contract failed at the polls, they went back to the negotiating table and came up with a solution.

Their solution was to let Hooksett “self-select” the percentage of Hooksett students going to Pinkerton by a process that bases the number of Pinkerton students on the number of Hooksett eighth-graders selecting the school in the previous year. Last year’s contract effort included an arbitrary number of Hooksett students going to Derry, a clause many community residents thought was too binding.

Littlefield said he didn’t think the vote would change the way the district looks right now, pointing out that Hooksett students already attend Pinkerton under a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU. “This formalizes and extends the current relationship for the long term,” Littlefield said.

As of March 10, 68 of Hooksett’s 150 eighth-graders had selected Pinkerton, Littlefield said. But he added that those numbers could change: “Kids move in, kids move out.”

Pinkerton Headmaster Griffin Morse commented, “The 10-year agreement allows (Hooksett) students the choice to complete all fours years of high school at Pinkerton. This brings more certainty and stability to Hooksett families; it also allows Pinkerton to plan for and meet their curriculum, staffing and facility needs. The stronger Hooksett-Pinkerton relationship, already tested to be very successful with our two one-year agreements, provides benefits for all students, our four other sending school districts, taxpayers and residents.”

Morse continued, “During our discussions with the Hooksett Negotiating Committee we studied our current enrollment situation, which is already projected to be stable for three years straight, to promise in our new agreement with Hooksett that Pinkerton is equipped to educate all Hooksett eighth-graders each year, if Pinkerton is their choice. Our Board of Trustees studies these issues carefully and is very pleased to welcome Hooksett families to a more permanent agreement with universal access to a Pinkerton education.

“It is too early to speculate about the effect of future tuition as a result of Hooksett students attending Pinkerton because we do not have enough enrollment history with Hooksett to foresee those numbers,” Morse added. “Tuesday’s 10-year agreement with Hooksett and Monday’s 20-year agreement with Chester reflect their belief in and satisfaction with the high quality and value of a Pinkerton education moving forward, and we are confident that their children will contribute directly to proving the success of that vision.”

Derry, Chester, Hampstead and Auburn tuition their high school students to Pinkerton.