Vargas Helps Deliver State Approval for Consentino School Renovations
HAVERHILL, MA— Representative Andy X. Vargas along with Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini and Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Marotta today announced the Consentino School was accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s pipeline of school renovations for the upcoming year.
“We can’t afford to sit by idly and watch the infrastructure in our schools crumble or the education gap widen in our district,” said Representative Andy X. Vargas in a statement. “It’s time for us all—advocates, teachers, parents, elected officials—to step in and fight for our students’ futures. Better infrastructure and facilities at Consentino mean our students can have a more comprehensive, immersive education experience, and that we’re not leaving the most vulnerable students behind. I applaud the MSBA for advancing the Consentino project and I thank my partners in both the city and state government for helping us get here.”
Representative Vargas led the Haverhill legislative delegation in advocating for Consentino to state partners. Vargas authored a letter of support to the MSBA and testified on the school’s behalf at their board meeting and vote on the project on December 12.
“I'm so happy to see this project that I have long championed for finally moving forward,”said Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a statement.
“We first submitted an application to renovate and expand Consentino in 2017, but were passed over in favor of other school projects around the state. But then we filed a new application this year, and we hired an outside engineering firm to verify our claim that the school needs a new roof, more classroom space and a total renovation. Today’s approval is the result of that renewed effort and the support of many people. This is great day for the kids at Consentino School.”
Consentino is located in the Mount Washington neighborhood, where median incomes are around $33,000 lower than the city of Haverhill at large, and 41.5% of residents did not finish high school. Representative Vargas championed Consentino’s renovation to establish equity in the Haverhill public school system.
Over the years, overcrowding reconfigured the design and use of the school. Originally a middle school, Consentino currently houses K-8. As a result, computer labs, science labs, and teacher work rooms have been eliminated; classrooms have been divided with partitions to support expanded enrollment; and the band room has been reallocated to a cafeteria, effectively dissolving the band program. Despite the Mount Washington neighborhood housing the highest number of English Language Learner (ELL) students, there is a lack of programming at Consentino, meaning these students must attend other district schools.
The state will now conduct a study into the school to determine next steps in renovation as well as total cost to both the state and the city.
Haverhill originally applied for a complete renovation of Consentino in 2017, but was rejected. This April marked the second application for the school system.