Residents in 10 out of 11 Massachusetts towns vote against proposal for new Whittier Tech campus

A plan to construct a new Whittier Tech regional school in Haverhill, Massachusetts was met with opposition from 10 out of 11 communities it serves. The only community to vote in favor of the proposal was Haverhill. The new school, estimated to cost $444 million, would have required 40% of the funding to come from the district’s communities. The current school building, constructed in 1973, is in need of replacement to keep up with the demands of the 21st century workforce.

Lisa Medina Smith, a Newburyport resident leading the Reimagine Whittier movement, advocated for a “no” vote on the rebuild plan. She expressed concerns about the high cost, funding structure, and lack of input from all the towns, suggesting that alternative solutions should be explored. Whittier Tech Superintendent Maureen Lynch stated that the response from the 10 communities indicates a need for the school to revisit how it can best meet the needs of its students and adult learners.

Data shows that college enrollment is declining, while interest in trade and technical programs is on the rise. With over 1,200 students and 22 programs, Whittier Tech serves as an important resource for the 11 communities it represents. There is a growing demand for skilled trades, and many believe that a trade school could be beneficial for those who choose not to pursue a traditional college education.

Despite the challenges, many have expressed their support for Whittier Tech and its programs, highlighting the critical need for skilled workers in various trades. However, concerns remain about the loss of potential state and federal funding for the plan.

The opposition to the proposed new school in Haverhill has sparked discussions about alternative solutions, and it remains to be seen how Whittier Tech will address the concerns of its communities in moving forward.

Historic Background: Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, also known as Whittier Tech, has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1972. The school has been an important resource for vocational and technical education in the region, providing students with a wide range of programs to prepare them for careers in skilled trades. As the demand for skilled workers in various industries continues to grow, Whittier Tech plays a crucial role in shaping the future workforce of the 11 communities it serves.

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