School Committee to Hear Update on Whittier Repairs Thursday

Paige Caswell pleaded for replacement of the John Greenleaf Whittier School at a School Committee in January. (WHAV News file photograph.)

An update on issues and repair timelines for Haverhill’s JG Whittier Middle School is on the agenda when the city’s School Committee meets Thursday night.

At the request of Committee vice chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti, the group will receive an update on efforts to rehab the more than 60-year-old Concord Street school. Magliocchetti put the item on the agenda after receiving an email from Whittier parent Paige Caswell, one of the city’s most vocal advocates for change.

“This city does not care about the children at J.G. Whittier. There is no investment in the youth at this school. It’s utterly disgraceful,” Caswell wrote in a passionate plea to the School Committee, Superintendent Margaret Marotta, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and school Supervisor of Facilities Heather Forgione over the weekend.

In her email obtained by WHAV, Caswell pleaded for fixes related to the heating system and bathrooms. Following a steam leak at the school in early February, Superintendent Marotta told WHAV repairs were well underway, noting that “significant upgrades” were still necessary to the improve the full heating system.

Fiorentini has said Whittier repairs are next on the list once Consentino receives its overhaul. On Monday night’s WHAV Open Mic Show, School Committeeman Richard J. Rosa implored his fellow city leaders to be strategic when considering future requests.

One way to do that, Rosa said, is to take advantage of the state’s accelerated repair program to receive funding to repair or replace roofs, windows and boilers. “We should be looking at that program every year,” said Rosa, adding that Worcester—as an example—has had 15 schools approved for funding in the last four years.

WHAV plans to broadcast Thursday’s School Committee meeting live from City Hall starting at 7 p.m. only on 97.9 FM.

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