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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Board of Education approves opening new Nashua Program at Brentwood

NASHUA – The Nashua Board of Education will move forward with plans to reopen The Brentwood School in Merrimack through the Nashua district at a special meeting Monday. The Nashua Program at Brentwood will continue to offer intensive-needs services for high school students.

“Now we will move forward with hiring, negotiating the lease, speaking with students and parents,” Superintendent Mark Conrad said. ...

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NASHUA – The Nashua Board of Education will move forward with plans to reopen The Brentwood School in Merrimack through the Nashua district at a special meeting Monday. The Nashua Program at Brentwood will continue to offer intensive-needs services for high school students.

“Now we will move forward with hiring, negotiating the lease, speaking with students and parents,” Superintendent Mark Conrad said.

Although the board had approved posting open positions for program, the overall plan had not been approved until Monday.

After the privately owned Brentwood School closed suddenly in June, the 12 students enrolled for next fall were left with few options. Having received special permission from the state Department of Education to expedite a new education program in time for September, the board had the choice between opening the school through the Nashua district or finding out-of-district placements for the students.

For the new program, the district plans to rent the 11,000-square-foot Brentwood facility from the owner, Southeastern Regional Education Service Center. SERESC, which ran the Brentwood program before its closure, is an education development and consulting agency based in Bedford.

The latest proposed program budget reflects a rent reduction from $130,000 to $117,594 to cover the 2014/2015 school year. The rent would include custodial services, internet, telephones, technology, furniture and equipment.

The program’s personnel needs call for one full time program coordinator and 10 part-time staff and faculty positions, as well as a stipend for several hours of secretarial assistance per day. The costs per student are expected to be $40,044. Out-of-district costs per student had been estimated at $42,250.

Anticipated total costs for the Nashua program at the Brentwood School, including benefits and payroll taxes, are $640,703. The district presently has 12 students set to enroll, the tuition from whom would cover about three-quarters of the costs.

For the four open spots, Conrad said they have some specific students in mind who may benefit from the program to fill the remaining four spots. There have also been inquiries from other districts about availability in the program as well, he said.

The Brentwood School had been operating as an alternative high school on the Merrimack High School campus since 1981.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).