EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

March 26, 2014

First step to a new school

Council sets June 10 vote to consider temporary tax hike for new Hunking

(Continued)

Without a new school, Scully said the district would have to find a place for about 500 Hunking students among the city’s already crowded schools. He said the additional transportation costs to bus those students out of Bradford would be exorbitant and that the city’s all-day kindergarten program would be among the casualties due to space limitations.

Despite the united front put up by parents and officials last night, several councilors stressed that the debt exclusion is going to be a tough sell to voters.

“It’s going to be very tough to sell this to voters,” Council President John Michitson said. “Senior citizens need to understand the value for them, in their terms.”

Fiorentini and others said the new school will boost real estate values everywhere in the city. Without it, they are just as likely to drop, he said.

“Anyone who has been paying attention for the past three years knows building a new school in the only responsible thing to do,” Councilor William Ryan said. “We can’t borrow without a debt exclusion, and doing nothing will cost us more in the long run. But if you don’t go door-to-door and make phone calls and really educate people about why this is needed, you won’t be successful because in this economy there are a great many people who are struggling to hang on to their homes.”

Papanikolaou said the parents will do whatever it takes to win the election.

“We have 140 volunteers emailing us regularly to ask what they can do,” she said. “We are ready to knock on doors and pound the pavement and do whatever it takes to win support for the ballot initiative.”

The plan, if the debt exclusion is approved in June, is to start building the new school next spring.

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