EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 7, 2012

State OKs new school study

Question of voter approval remains


School Committee member Scott Wood, one of 10 voting members on the School Building Committee, said he expects the panel will play a major role in deciding what kind of project is eventually pitched to Haverhill voters.

“When he appointed me, the mayor didn’t ask what I’ll support and I didn’t tell him what I might or might not support,” Wood said of his role on the building committee. “At the end of the day, the big question is, will voters pass an override to pay for it? And what do we do if they don’t?”

Fiorentini said he intends to schedule the building committee’s first meeting this month. He said the feasibility study is expected take at least a year and that he doesn’t support asking voters to increase their property taxes to cover the city’s share of a new school until the study is completed. Voters will eventually be asked to pass a debt-exclusion override, which would allow the city to temporarily skirt the tax-limiting constraints of the Proposition 2-1/2 law, to raise the city’s share of the cost.

City Councilor Robert Scatamacchia and others have called for the mayor to appoint some Hunking parents to the building committee. Scatamacchia is the council’s representative on the committee.

“We want the community to feel they are part of the discussion,” Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien said. “That and parental involvement are going to be key, especially as we address the funding issue.”

Wood said he agrees with the mayor that the building committee shouldn’t have too many members.

“I don’t mind one or two parents on it,” Wood said. “But I agree it shouldn’t be too big. Large committees have a hard time making decisions and getting things done.”

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