EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 6, 2014

Letter: New school keeps Haverhill moving forward

To the editor:

The construction of a new Hunking School is a sound investment that would benefit the entire Haverhill community. The Haverhill legislative delegation is in favor of this initiative. State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives and Representatives Linda Dean Campbell, Diana DiZoglio and Lenny Mirra join me in supporting a new Hunking School.

Currently, the Hunking Middle School has many structural and systemic deficiencies that need to be addressed as soon as possible. In order to provide our students access to a safe, healthy and modern learning environment we must move forward with the construction of a new school. The Massachusetts School Building Authority has accepted a new Hunking School into their program, which qualifies the city for an approximately 65 percent reimbursement from the state for the cost of the project. This reimbursement is contingent upon the voters of Haverhill approving the local funding for the remaining costs. On Tuesday, June 10, residents can voice their support for this critical project by approving the debt exclusion and permitting the city to bond monies to fund the required municipal portion of the building costs.

The current Hunking building is set to close after the 2016-2017 school year. Upon the school’s closure, the students will be forced to attend classes in other Haverhill schools, displacing students and overcrowding classrooms. Should the debt exclusion be approved, our students will be able to attend a new K-8 configuration of the Hunking School by the fall of 2017. A new Hunking School building will reduce overcrowding in the remainder of the city’s schools that would result from the closure of the current building without an adequate replacement while also prudently accounting for future growth in the city.

As we welcome new and exciting projects to our city, such as the new Harbor Place where UMass Lowell will locate, it is imperative that our city seizes on opportunities for continued positive growth. A new Hunking School would be another positive step for our city, ensuring that as Haverhill moves forward, our school system reflects our progress. A new Hunking School will have a lasting impact on the city of Haverhill and will address the long-standing challenges and needs of the current building by utilizing a significant, cost-effective state-reimbursement.

On June 10, by voting in support of a new Hunking School, we have the opportunity to provide our students with a new facility that will reflect the values and direction of our city.

Brian S. Dempsey

State representative

3rd Essex District

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