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Hooksett officials to visit Concord High in search for new site for students

As the Hooksett School District continues to contest conditions at Manchester high schools, where the town pays tuition for its students to attend, a committee is visiting Concord High School to see what other options may be available.

Deerfield is the only school district that pays tuition for its roughly 200 high school students to attend Concord High, a contract that is up for renewal in 2014 and is being reviewed by the Deerfield district.

The Hooksett group is an ad hoc committee and, at this point, is just looking for information, said Hooksett Superintendent Phil Littlefield.

“They have visited several high schools to gather data on any host of indicators so that they’d get a better sense for what is the state-of-the-art in high schools to give the data to the board,” he said.

Hooksett has about 550 high school students who currently attend Manchester schools.

In December, Hooksett declared its contract with Manchester to be breached because of a list of complaints ranging from large class sizes to an inadequate supply of textbooks. That dispute will be settled by the state Board of Education if the two districts can’t agree in negotiations before then, Littlefield said.

In the meantime, Concord High School, which has about 1,725 students this year and capacity for about 1,900, is working on putting its best foot forward, Superintendent Chris Rath said.

“We would greatly miss Deerfield’s students if they decided to go elsewhere, but if they stay with us, we are stable in terms of enrollment,” she said. “We don’t know what Hooksett has in mind, so we were open to engaging in conversation when we received their letter.”

Deerfield representatives toured the school last month, led by students who spoke about school programs and the curriculum. A similar tour was planned yesterday for a visit from Hooksett officials, Rath said.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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