Consentino School Debt Exclusion Supporters Raise $22,000 from Notable Officials and Groups

Dr. Albert B. Consentino School. (Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

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Proponents of a plan to finance construction of the new Dr. Albert B. Consentino School through a debt exclusion raised more than $22,000 as of last Friday.

The bulk of the money was used to pay for three postcard mailings and purchase lawn signs and door hangers in advance of early voting and next Tuesday’s special election.

According to campaign finance reports, the Yes for Consentino committee spent $15,185 to reach voters and ask for their support. The largest donors in support of the effort are past and present local elected officials. These include former state Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, who donated $6,000 through his former campaign committee and personal checkbook, and Rep. Andy X. Vargas, $2,000; City Council President Timothy J. Jordan, $2,000, split between personal and campaign money; School Committee candidate Thomas Grannemann, $800; and mayoral candidate and City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, $600. Lesser amounts were donated by Councilor Catherine P. Rogers, Council Vice President John A. Michitson, School Committee member Richard J. Rosa and Councilor and Mrs. Michael S. McGonagle.

Other notable donors include the Haverhill Education Association, $5,000, and Haverhill Firefighters Local 1011, $1,000.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini has said the school will be built either way, but he has come out in support of the override of the tax-limiting law, Proposition 2 ½. The city last month began borrowing for the project last month by including $8 million for the project within a $10.9 million loan.

Supporters argue the debt exclusion gives the city spending flexibility should it find itself requiring money in an emergency sometime over the decades it is paying for the school. They note, the financial collapse of the city-owned Hale Hospital 20 years ago hampered the city’s ability to pay for critical needs.

There is no organized opposition to the debt exclusion ballot question.

Early voting is already underway to decide what method the city will use to pay for the new $160 million middle school. Voting takes place today until 4 p.m. and tomorrow, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., at Haverhill City Hall.

Haverhill City Clerk Kaitlin M. Wright says the most easily accessible entrance is from the Newcomb Street side of the building. There is also handicapped access from city hall’s lower parking lot, off Main Street.

On Tuesday, June 6, voters may cast ballots at their usual polling locations.

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