From My Corner: April 15, 2021

I didn’t know that one day I would say Thanks to God I’m living in Lawrence.  While the entire country is going crazy, we have peace in our beautiful city.


Oliver Partnership School rally

Students, teachers, and parents of the Oliver Partnership School staged a demonstration on Thursday with bold signs while chanting “We need a new school.”

Rather than enumerate the conditions to which they are exposed, we decided to reprint the text written by a fifth-grader, Endy Leonardo (page 1 in Spanish and page 5 in English).  Endy captured everything I have seen there.

On April 6, the Lawrence City Council met to discuss (and approve) the construction of the school at a cost of $132.3 million of which only 46% will be reimbursed by the Commonwealth.  The item was tabled until the councilors can get someone from the legislature to appear and advise as to possible additional funding for this expense.

Time is of the essence now.  The decision must be made by next month because the state’s offer for that funding had an expiration date and we don’t go ahead with the Oliver School now, they will be taken away.

The alternative will be increasing taxes by approving an override again this year but this time over the 2.5% allowed.  Then, a couple of years from now, we’ll have to do it all over again with the Leahy School.

I have to agree with Brian De Peña when he said, “If we don’t pay for a new school, we’ll have to build new jails.”  It may sound like an exaggeration but poor dilapidated schools create a society believing they are not worthy of anything better.  It’s a predicament we find ourselves with difficult decisions to be made.

There’s definitely a need to rebuild and expand the Oliver School, just like Leahy.

I see two reasons for this mess: the lack of planning by previous administrations creating housing without regard for the growth of the student population and the fact that this community has become accustomed to getting everything for free.

Surrounding cities and towns with modern schools ask parents to pay for many extras such as sports, music, arts, etc. while we don’t charge for anything.

We are a welcoming community lacking common sense to tackle our problems, growing dependent on the State and Federal governments.

We are still paying for the Guilmette, High School, and South Lawrence East schools.  How much debt can we endure with two additional schools?  It’s either, we raise taxes over the limit or convert some old buildings into school space instead of housing which will bring in more students.

Another consequence of this will be that rent will continue to rise as taxes increase.

It’s your fault councilors for allowing so much housing to be built without regard for the advice against it from professionals.



Last week I was not clear reporting about the April 6 council meeting and said that Councilor Maria De La Cruz was at the site of the house in question at 36 Kendall St. when she wasn’t.  I’m sorry María.

Also, I included Councilor President Marc Laplante as voting in favor of converting the zoning of that property.  Laplante did not vote in favor of the change but against it. It was then tabled hoping to investigate who issued the original permit.

Thanks for letting me know.


Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in Lawrence remains at 15.4 compared to the state’s 4.1% and nationally is 6%.

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