hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

June 5, 2014

If voters approve, new school project starts in spring

Residents go to polls next week

It’s been run like an election — people going door to door to get their message out and planting signs on front lawns across the community.

But unlike other city elections, there is only a single “candidate.’’

No one is running for mayor or City Council or School Committee. There is but one question on the ballot: Are residents willing to pay the city’s share of building a new school to replace the deteriorated Hunking School?

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, June 10, they will decide whether Haverhill will embark on a project to replace the Hunking — a plan that would solve space and other problems in schools across the city, according to school officials.

If voters approve the plan, Haverhill will receive state money to cover most of the cost of building the school.

The debt exclusion, if approved, will allow the city to temporarily raise property taxes to pay the city’s estimated $24 million share of the project. The state has agreed to pay the balance for a 1,005-student building in the city’s Bradford section that will serve children in kindergarten to grade eight. It is to be next to the existing Hunking school.

The entire cost of the building is projected to be $61.5 million.

The wording on the ballot will be as follows: “Shall the city of Haverhill be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition two and a half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to finance construction and/or reconstruction of the Caleb Dustin Hunking School.”

A “yes” vote supports borrowing the money to build the new school. A “no” vote opposes borrowing the money.

The project is expected to increase taxes by about $70 per year for 20 years for the average homeowner, according to figures provided by the city.

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