Amirian: Are Haverhill’s Newest Schools Still Adequate?

Haverhill School Committeeman Sven A. Amirian.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini during a recent Open Mike Show.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini during a recent Open Mike Show.

Further studies on Haverhill school population trends are promised after a School Committeeman called for future investment in new school projects, as well as adding temporary classrooms, to address “large class sizes stemming from our aging physical plants.”

During a discussion Thursday on class sizes and building capacities, Committeeman Sven A. Amirian proposed the city set money aside or “to think 10 years out” for plans to replace older schools such as Tilton elementary or Consentino and Whittier middle schools. He claimed Consentino, among others, was “busting at the seams” which is “not conducive to learning.”

“When you look at schools like Whittier and Consentino, that have sort of almost reached the end of their useful life – not in a dangerous sense – but Whittier is the same vintage as the old Hunking. It’s aging and there’s nothing you can do about that other than have a plan in place. Maintenance only goes so far, we need to be talking about what the next steps are for replacement,” Amirian said.

Amirian may have raised some eyebrows from his colleagues, including Chairman and Mayor James J. Fiorentini, when he claimed newer city school buildings, such as Golden Hill, Silver Hill and Pentucket Lake schools, were “getting up there in age.”

Fiorentini: “Did I hear you correctly, did you say the Pentucket Lake was aging?”

Amirian: “It was built in 1998, it’s 18 years old.”

Fiorentini: “If the schools can’t last 50 years, we haven’t done our job.”

Amirian: “I’m saying we do have old schools that are going to need some serious attention. And whether or not you think the old school is serviceable or not, we have space issues. We have space constraints at Consentino, we need to expand.”

However, Superintendent James F. Scully said older schools may need work but “are functioning well.” He added the issue was not just a matter of space but also a plan that makes fiscal sense. Scully noted 80 additional seats at the new Hunking School, when it opens, would bring “a little relief” in at least the next two years.

7 thoughts on “Amirian: Are Haverhill’s Newest Schools Still Adequate?

  1. Amirian is correct about capacity but not about age. Walnut Sq. school is still a wonderful school. It’s the ;lack of a maintenance plan by the Mayor for the last ten years that is the issue. He waits until the situation becomes a crisis then screams and puts on his superman suit to come to the rescue. Sadly most in the city fall for this fake facade.

    Let’s also not forget about people coming here to the city in droves for our SPED program. I bet the % is probably near 30% now of the kids on some sort of state IEP program. Rich is right about growth as well. The Mayor wants the tax money form the developments but he is shortsighted about the affect it has on the schools.

  2. Nice job Duncan, you voted for a socialist that wants to spend your money. If he can’t balance his own checkbook what made us think he can the cities?

    • Not sure Sven is a socialist, but what he stated may have been taken out of context. I think Rich is closer to the truth, stuffing as many humans as possible into the smallest area does and will create crowding issues in schools. Mind you, a lot of these structures, including parts of Harbor Place are low income housing, so where’s the ROI in that?

      I would also argue, again, context is key here, is the reference to maintenance of city owned property. If we look at the historical record, it isn’t exactly stellar. I’ll ask him though next time I see him, or, you can ask him to clarify.

      “If he can’t balance his own checkbook” –

      Tell that to the millions that lost their job back in 2008, just like Sven did. Even if I don’t agree with him on all the issues, the ad hominem attack on his past, during a recently very dark economic time in our nations history, is pretty cheap. As I have repeatedly pointed out, many of those millions have never recovered, he has, and he used the law afforded to him to help him and his family.

      I’ll stand by my vote, as it was one of the better ones in recent local political history for me. If circumstances change in regard to that vote, I’ll always have the opportunity to change it.

      • Duncan, I agree with you many times but not this one. The taxpayers paid for him filing his bk, by us paying higher rates on credit cards etc. You attack the mayor for deficit financing, isn’t maxing out credit cards the same? Isn’t the system flawed?

  3. You mean, all of Haverhill’s schools have to be torn down? The city’s bankrupt for sure then. Turn the keys over to the state, Haverhill’s days are over. When I voted for this guy, I didn’t think he was going to put the city out of business.

    • The schools would not be bulging without the Haverhill boards allowing all the residential development in Haverhill. Just last night I read in the Gazette that 56 more apartments were up for construction on the corner of Granite and Essex streets. That alone with the over 200 being built on Merrimack street are contributing to this fiasco. Haverhill needs to stop this type of growth and make sure the growth is in all sectors. I wont get into the fact that Haverhill continues to lose businesses. Thats for another day.

  4. If the Haverhill boards keep approving hundreds of new apartments and condos every few months this overcrowding wouldn’t happen. Slow growth is best. Besides kids can learn in any safe environment. Its not the state of the art pretty buildings that provide the best educations. The very schools mentioned are in the areas that have had the most units approved.