EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

February 5, 2014

Parents kick off new Hunking School drive

Rally tomorrow to start gaining support of voters

HAVERHILL — It all starts tomorrow.

A group of parents with a mission of convincing voters to pay for a new school will have their first meeting Thursday night, a rallying event of sorts.

The parents are looking to gain support for a replacement for the deteriorated Hunking School. They are seeking other parents and residents to join them at the meeting and during an upcoming campaign in support of the school.

Dena Papanikolaou, one of the organizers who has two children at Hunking, said the meeting will kick off a membership drive to broaden support for a new school.

“This will be a grassroots campaign where people will be knocking on doors, making phone calls and distributing literature to help voters understand and support the issue,” she said.

Papanikolaou said the group has reached out to parent-teacher organizations at Hunking and other Haverhill schools, as well as to the District Parent Council. That council is also promoting tomorrow night’s meeting and encouraging residents to learn more about the proposed project.

Calling themselves a “municipal ballot committee,” the group will hold its first public meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Bradford Country Club, 201 Chadwick Road.

School officials said the current Hunking School has deteriorated so badly that it must be replaced.

Papanikolauo said the group will campaign to support a ballot question they expect will be before voters in June. The question will ask voters to determine if they will pay Haverhill’s share of building a new school.

The project took a major step forward last week when state officials voted to place the estimated $61.5 million plan into the state’s funding pipeline. The state vote also signaled the start of a local campaign to win the support of voters to pay the city’s $24 million share of building the school.

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