For Immediate Release - June 29, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK SIGNS ESSEX NORTH SHORE AGRICULTURAL AND TECHNICAL SCHOOL BILL

Sponsored by local legislators, new law offers enhanced governance and employee protection

View pictures from Tuesday's event here.

BOSTON - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today signed into law an Act Relative to the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School at a State House Ceremony attended by bill sponsor Senate Majority Leader Frederick Berry, legislative co-sponsors of the measure, local mayors, and a representative of the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

The law will permit the continuation of temporary oversight until the new school committee convenes, provides a deadline for the City of Peabody to make a decision whether to join the new district, and protects the employment rights of Peabody School District employees transitioning to the new district.

"I am committed to the success of the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Vocational Technical School and its students," said Governor Patrick. "This new law builds on the Commonwealth's commitment to provide students with a state-of-the-art campus and programs by enhancing the school's governance plan and ensuring that its employees are properly protected. I commend Senator Berry and the school's legislative delegation for successfully championing this measure as well as the school and its students."

Sponsored by Senator Frederick Berry and co-sponsored by Representatives Theodore Speliotis, Mary Grant, John Keenan, and Joyce Spiliotis, the law makes a number of technical changes to earlier legislation relating to the merger of the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School and the North Shore Vocational Regional School to create a new Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School District.

"Today marks the final piece of a puzzle that will allow the merger to finally become a reality for the North Shore," said Senator Frederick Berry. "This was a true group effort, and I am thrilled that the Patrick Administration prioritized the school so that construction can begin in the near future."

This new law will:

• Maintain the temporary oversight board until the school committee for the new school convenes for the first time;

• Establish a July 1, 2010, deadline and terms for the North Shore Vocational Regional School District and the City of Peabody to vote whether to join the new school; and,

• Ensure that all displaced employees of the Peabody School District's trade program who become employees of the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School maintain their previously held employment rights.

"I am pleased that this legislation will allow for the three schools to transition smoothly into one," said Representative Theodore Speliotis.

The Essex North Shore Agricultural and Vocational Technical School project will result in a new School Building Assistance-eligible $125 million facility on the site of the existing Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute in Danvers/Middleton. This facility will serve a new merged school district comprised of the state-owned Essex Agricultural and Technical School, the North Shore Regional Vocational Technical School and the vocational component of Peabody High School.

The construction of this merged agricultural and vocational school will maximize educational and workforce development opportunities for high school students and adult learners of the entire North Shore region.

The project will be jointly funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the School Building Authority and member communities. The Commonwealth is committed to investing $21.1 million over the course of the project.

"Today marks the culmination of a 10-year process for the approval of a state of the art and highly cost effective high school in order to meet the needs of vocational and agricultural students in this area for the next fifty years," said Wayne Marquis, Danvers Town Manager and Chairman of the Temporary Oversight Board. "It's been a complicated and unique process which required an unprecedented partnership between the Governor, the State Legislature, the Mass School Building Authority, city and town leaders and the business community. There are so many people who deserve to be thanked for their role in making today happen, that we simply can't list them all at this time. One person though who we can't fail to recognize is Senator Fred Berry, whose leadership has been instrumental from day one. Without his vision and tenacity we would not have made it. Kudos also to the Essex Aggie and North Shore Vocational High School Superintendents, Roger Bourgeois, Dan O'Connell and Amy O'Malley for their professionalism and commitment throughout. We've had a great team that has brought us to where we are today, and we're looking forward to the construction and finally the opening of the new school in September 2013."

"This new school will provide educational opportunities never before offered on the North Shore," said Amelia O'Malley of North Shore Technical High School. "Were it not for the foresight and tenacity of Senator Berry and the support of the Governor and the North Shore legislative delegation, we would not be standing here today officially beginning the process of the schools' design and construction. A school that will not only enhance education, but the North Shore's economic future as well. As an educator and North Shore resident, I am exceedingly grateful and appreciative."

"This new school district will offer high school students and adult learners from across the north shore access to state-of-the-art agricultural, technical, and vocational programs for the next fifty years," said Roger Bourgeois of the Essex Agricultural and Technical High School. "I commend the Governor, the North Shore legislative delegation, the MSBA and the local elected officials who worked together collaboratively to make this important project a reality."

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