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.


10 thoughts on “Haverhill Superintendent: Student Surge ‘Nothing to Worry About’

  1. Scully is right to want to keep the kids at the same school as long as possible. That creates a community at the school where parents and teachers can develop strong relationships which helps all the kids. Kids need stability now more than ever.

  2. Maybe parents won’t use the buses because the transportation department is so poorly run. They have lost children(although they deny it) year after year. They don’t see anything wrong with a Kindergartener having to ride on a middle school bus and then having to transfer to another bus on their own with no monitor to there final destination. The buses are over capacity, disruptive and unreliable.

  3. You gotta give Supt Scully a break. As mayor failurentini has imposed sanctuary city policies which has attracted illegals to flock to the city with their children, and the mayor’s aggressive implementation of low income, subsidized housing just flooding the city schools already at capacity, this explosion of kids in city schools has been dropped right in Scully’s lap. And of course, school committee members and city councilors say absolutely nothing as the mayor implements his liberal local agenda of flooding the city with illegals (future democrat voters) and their children. Why is that? It’s because they are ALL liberal democrats!!! When are the people in this city going to wake up about the people they vote into office??? How do they not see what the mayor is doing to the city?

    Shaun Toohy…this should be YOUR issue! You should have been talking about the mayor’s public policy of attracting low income parents and illegals to the city years ago while a school committee member, yet you’ve said nothing. Now you want support as you attempt to lead the city at the state level? Shaun, with your inaction you’re making it hard for even republicans in the city to vote for you.

    • “Shaun, with your inaction” –

      I agree. Vargas is out pounding the pavement nearly everyday, and all over social media. In what will be a traditional low voter turnout, Vargas will get his base to the pols and vote. The challengers appear to be AWOL sans a few signs.

      • Toohey did come by my house. And then he sent me a card in the mail for taking time to talk with him. But why he is targeting his base to spend his time is a mystery to me. I also see Toohey signs all over the city. In fact, in the Eagle Tribune “sound off” section someone was complaining of seeing “too many” Toohey signs around the city.

        Is he waiting until the Democrat primary is over and an opponent is decided before he actually gets out there?

        • In the Primary, you must get out your base voters. Toohey is doing what he needs to energize his base as the other two are scrambling for the same base voters. Vargas is targeting his far left base and a couple wards. Mags needs to step it up because the “middle ” voters he is depending on are not primary voters. They come out big in the finals but not so much in the primaries. It is going to be interesting to see the voter turnout.

  4. How is being over capacity at Hunking safe? 19 children is almost a classroom; yet there are empty seats in other schools? Also, I wouldn’t put my younger child on the bus either. My high schooler had enough of a hard time being told she’d be dropped off at an entirely different bus stop.