Supt. Paul Dakin and Mayor Dan Rizzo said this week that one of the first things on the docket if casino monies come to Revere would be a new high school.
In a letter to the Journal, Dakin wrote that the mayor has indicated he would support spending monies on a new high school as one of the first priorities – along with additional school funding commitments.
“If the development is approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and mitigation funds enter the City’s coffers, Mayor Rizzo has instructed me to immediately file a Statement of Interest (SOI), which begins the process of building a new Revere High School,” wrote Dakin. “In addition, Mayor Rizzo has promised to use new funds from the project to increase the school budget by $1 million each year above the state established Foundation Budget.”
Mayor Rizzo said the City needs to think about a new high school very soon, and revenues from the casino would likely be used for such a purpose.
“The real point is we send the kids to beautiful elementary schools and we have new middle schools for them to attend and then we send them to a high school that is not conducive to the delivery of a 21st Century education,” he said. “I told Paul Dakin that if Mohegan Sun gets their license and money starts to come into the City coffers, the day after I will be in his office ready to sign a Statement of Interest for a new high school. I really want to do everything I can on a lot of fronts with this, but certainly that children find this to be a place that when they go off to college , they find it worthwhile to come back to Revere and raise their children here.”
The need for a new high school surfaced two years ago when the state School Building Authority denied the City funding to build new science labs at the existing high school. Those labs were crucial for upping the status of the science program for students, but more importantly, they were needed for accreditation of the school.
The state of the current science labs was one major deficiency on the most recent accreditation report done last year, as well as the previous report 10 years ago.
The state denied funding for the project to upgrade those labs because they felt the City needed to concentrate on building a new high school.
“They felt they didn’t want to spend good money on bad and that we needed a new high school,” said Rizzo. “After my jaw had dropped to the ground, we talked over some options.”
He said a new source of revenue was necessary, and if Mohegan gets their casino license, he said he believes that could be that new source.
“As a practical matter, it was hard to imagine a set of circumstances where we could absorb that kind of cost,” he said. “The question became how long can we hold off…If this happens, we may not have to.”