hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

June 12, 2014

Bradford to get new school

Voters' OK means new Hunking willopen in spring 2017

HAVERHILL — In just over two years, 1,000 students will go to school without having to worry about mold in the air, cracks in the walls — or even the possibility of the building collapsing.

If all goes according to plan, the city will open a new school in the spring of 2017 to replace the deteriorating Hunking School, which threatened to collapse two years ago and has been haunted by other problems.

In this week’s special balloting, voters approved spending Haverhill’s share of the cost of building the new school.

Here are the highlights:

The vote in favor was overwhelming — 4,807 to 1,778.

Construction will start in the spring of next year.

The state will pay $40 million of the project’s total cost, with the city paying $21 million.

Taxes for the average homeowner will increase by about $70, according to figures released by the city.

That increase will be offset by taxes coming off the books because payments for schools built in the early 1990s are nearly complete, city officials said.

The $70-a-year payment for the average homeowner will last 20 years, under the Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion vote. Such a vote temporarily hikes taxes for a particular project and for a limited period of time.

In the Tuesday election, all 21 of Haverhill’s voting precincts supported the plan to pay the city’s share of the construction cost.

Haverhill has 41,500 registered voters. A total of 6,585 cast ballots, for a turnout of 15.9 percent.

Elections workers said they were surprised the turnout was so low. The last time Haverhill voted on a debt exclusion was in 2002, when about 25 percent of voters went to the polls and defeated a proposal for work at Haverhill High School.

The new building approved this week will house 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade eight. It will allow the city to ease overcrowding in other schools, Superintendent James Scully said.

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