Haverhill Superintendent James F. Scully said he likely experienced his last first day of school on Aug. 29.
“This is my eighth, and, I believe, my final year as superintendent,” Scully told the City Council.
When schools opened their doors, 8,136 students walked through, the superintendent said, highlighting the city’s population growth and, therefore, increasing school enrollment, especially in the city’s Bradford section.
The new Hunking School, built to house 1,005 students from kindergarten through eighth grade, opened with 1,024, Scully said.
“The Hunking is jam-packed,” Scully said.
Scully said the state School Building Authority, which reimbursed the city more than 70 percent of the cost of building the new Hunking School, plans to visit Haverhill next week to begin its study of the district’s request for financial help to renovate and add to the Consentino School.
Councilor William J. Macek said he’s looking forward to school building improvements in other areas of the city.
“Every time I walk into that building, I think, one down, three more to go. It’s unfair that all our students don’t have the same 21st century resources available to them in the abundance that is available at Hunking,” Macek said.
Scully said the SBA team will study population trends and school space needs, which could have an effect on how — or whether — the Greenleaf is used. The visit does not guarantee that Haverhill’s request will be approved or that it will be funded.
However, the speed with which the SBA is coming to Haverhill is a hopeful sign, Scully said. The city’s request was only recently filed earlier this year.
“I didn’t expect to hear from them for a year. I was shocked,” Scully said.
Another area of the city that has seen an increase in school-age children is the lower Mount Washington area, Scully said, which necessitated a shuffle of students among the Tilton, Bartlett and Consentino schools and required the use of the Greenleaf School.
The number of fourth-grade classes was reduced at Tilton, with those students shifting to the Consentino. Kindergarten through second-grade students were moved out of Consentino and into the Bartlett School, meaning the kindergartners at Bartlett needed a new home. They moved to the Greenleaf.
“We needed the space. Looking at the population trends, it’s not going to get better,” Scully said. “We’re going to try to use it for another year.”
Council Vice President Melinda Barrett suggested the district look at the St. Joseph School building on Broadway to ease its space crunch. St. Joseph School closed its first- through eighth-grade program at the end of the last school year.
Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan urged Scully to find an alternative to using the Greenleaf, which does not comply with accessibility regulations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, has a failed roof, and lacks either a cafeteria or a gym.
After 8:55pm on Tuesday September 19th, 2017 this article available to WHAV members only.
Published at Wed, 13 Sep 2017 04:05:03 +0000