Guest Opinion: 2017 Study Says Investing in School Buildings Improves Student Outcomes

Architect’s rendering of planned new Dr. Albert B. Consentino School.

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Editor’s note: Haverhill voters have a week to decide whether to support a debt exclusion as the method of financing construction of a new Dr. Albert B. Consentino School.

A special election takes place Tuesday, June 6, at voters’ usual polling locations. Early voting runs from Wednesday, May 31, to Saturday, June 3, at Haverhill City Hall, in the former basement offices of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, 4 Summer St.

Hours are Wednesday and Friday, from 8 a.m.- 4p.m.; extended hours Thursday, from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.; and weekend hours Saturday, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

As a Haverhill parent and community member, I believe investing in our schools is crucial to ensure that all children have access to the best possible educational facilities and resources. The upcoming vote on the debt exclusion to fund the new Consentino Middle School is a crucial step in making this belief a reality. By approving the debt exclusion, we can invest in the future of our children and our city as a whole.

Research has shown that investing in our schools and providing high-quality facilities can have a positive impact on the academic performance and behavior of our children. In a 2017 study, researchers found that investing in school facilities improves student outcomes. Students attending newly constructed schools perform better academically, attend more days per year, and show more effort. This research suggests that investing in school facilities can be efficient and productive, especially in districts that have a history of underinvestment.

The debt exclusion not only funds the new school but also enables the city to maintain and invest in other essential services such as public safety and infrastructure. By approving the debt exclusion, we can ensure that our city remains a safe and desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

It’s important to note that the debt exclusion is a responsible and temporary measure. The additional revenue generated by the temporary increase in property taxes will be used only to pay for the construction of the new Consentino School. Once the debt is paid off, the additional tax will go away, protecting the city’s long-term financial stability.

By voting “YES” on the debt exclusion, we can ensure that all children in Haverhill have access to the best possible educational facilities and resources. This investment in our children’s future will pay dividends for years to come.

As we approach the upcoming vote on June 6th, I urge all Haverhill voters to vote “YES” on the debt exclusion to fund the new Consentino School. Let’s work together to build a brighter future for our city and our children.

Reference: Lafortune, J. and Schönholzer, D. (2017). Do School Facilities Matter? Measuring the Effects of Capital Expenditures on Student and Neighborhood Outcomes. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 9(4). DOI: 10.1257/pol.20160347

Dr. Nathan Hartwell is a director of pharmacy at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and holds a Master of Public Health from Boston University. He is also a co-chair of the Yes for Consentino Committee, advocating for improving educational opportunities for children by supporting a Yes vote on June 6 for a debt exclusion that would fund the construction of a new Albert B. Consentino Middle School.

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