Haverhill Superintendent: Student Surge ‘Nothing to Worry About’

Haverhill Superintendent: Student Surge ‘Nothing to Worry About’

This year, every student at Tilton Elementary School, pictured, has access to a bus to get to school. However,  many parents continue to drive their children to school, at Tilton and elsewhere in the city,

When it comes to the student population of Haverhill’s public schools, numbers tell only part of the story.

Superintendent James F. Scully told School Committee members on Thursday that schools opened with a total of 8,136 students. The Hunking School, built to hold 1,005, already is over-capacity at 1,024.

However, Scully said, there remain roughly 300 unfilled seats in the district.

“Enrollment has gone up, but it’s nothing to worry about,” he said.

“Thank you for saying that,” Mayor James J. Fiorentini replied.

Class sizes are averaging about 25 students, Scully said.

“One teacher at Consentino said he has the lowest class sizes in a decade,” Scully said. Fiorentini remarked that teachers at Walnut Square School have told him the same.

Silver Hill and Bradford Elementary have a combined 250 to 300 unfilled seats, Scully said. The Bradford Elementary vacancies were created when students were moved over to the Hunking.

Scully said his goal was to move children into schools where they would be able to stay for several years, rather than having them attend kindergarten in one building only to have to move again for first grade and again a short time later.

Scully said the traffic troubles of the first couple of days of the school year are improving, as parents and bus drivers learn the routines.

Picking up students in the lower school yard at Hunking at the end of the day, a process that took nearly a half-hour at first, now is accomplished in 12 or 13 minutes, Scully said.

The volume of cars on South Main Street is not exacerbated by students coming and going at Hunking, he said.

“We have more problems with traffic and Golden Hill and Nettle,” Scully said, which is a result of the single drive connecting the two schools in the Riverside section of the city.

The superintendent said he has noticed an increase in the number of students being dropped off at school.

“Traffic is a major problem around schools, especially in lower-grade schools. Parents don’t want to put their kids on the bus,” Scully said.

After 9:39pm on Thursday September 21st, 2017 this article available to WHAV members only.

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 04:09:32 +0000