Save Lowell High

Voters Deserve to be Heard

Save Lowell High is a grassroots ballot initiative campaign intended to give all Lowell voters input into where Lowell High School should be located.

We believe that a decision as expensive and contentious as this deserves to be on the ballot. Let Lowell voters have a say!

Officers:

Chair: Michael Gallagher
Vice Chair: Molly Sheehy
Treasurer: Lianna Kushi
Secretary: Onotse Omoyeni

Media Inquiries:

Email [email protected] with any questions.

Save Lowell High submits 10,104 Signatures on Deadline

Today was the deadline to turn in signatures to put where to build Lowell’s new, state-of-the-art high school on the November 7th ballot. We needed 6,523 signatures or 10% of all the registered voters in Lowell, and we massively exceeded that goal, turning in 10,104 signatures altogether.

Collecting more than 10,000 signatures was only possible because of the dedication dozens of Lowellians showed standing out at grocery stores, knocking on doors, and collecting signatures from friends, family and neighbors. Now that the high school is on the ballot, we need a YES vote in November, and that means keeping up our momentum and our energy for the next 43 Days!

Save Lowell High is (almost) on the Ballot!

Last evening we got the word from the Election Commission: We have the 6,523 certified signatures we need to make the ballot!

This is great news, and a testament to all the hard work our volunteers have put in these past nine weeks. In the heat and in the rain, at the Folk Festival, grocery stores, and on the doors, we’ve been out gathering signatures. Now the voters of Lowell will be able to have their voices heard!

We’re not done, though. We still have until Monday to turn in our signatures, so if you have a sheet, we need it! We’re also going out this weekend to gather more signatures and talk to voters about why renovating Lowell High and keeping it downtown is so important. JOIN US!

80% of Signatures Certfied for LHS Ballot Question

The Lowell Sun reported this morning:

With less than two weeks before the deadline, more than 80 percent of the required signatures have been certified by the city. The group has been collecting signatures to put a non-binding question about the future of Lowell High School on the November ballot.

That is 5,301 signatures that have now been certified, so we’re just over a thousand signatures short of the 6,523 we need to put this question on the ballot.

We need to exceed the required number of signatures, and that means having supporters come out and volunteer. Knocking on doors this weekend, and next weekend is the best way to collect signatures. Sign up to talk to people about why Lowell needs to build its new, state-of-the-art high school downtown, where all of our students can easily get to school, and access all of our city’s many resources.

MICHAEL GALLAGHER: High school ballot initiative is in city’s best interest

The Lowell Sun ran Michael’s response to their August 15 Editorial in today’s edition.

Over the last few weeks, literally scores of volunteers – Lowell High School students, parents, educators, retirees, and others from every neighborhood in the city – have gathered over 6,000 signatures so that Lowell citizens can vote in November on the most important issue confronting them in a generation:  whether the city’s sole public high school should remain, and be renovated and re-built, in its historic downtown location.  While The Sun has in the past complained about voter apathy and sought to encourage civic involvement, it has now twice editorialized against this signature drive, contending that it is “spreading a false impression that Lowell residents are deeply divided” and, disturbingly, that this grass roots effort is “treading on dangerous ground” which “amounts to treason against the people.”

“False” impression that we are “deeply divided”?  Taking out duplicate votes, the tally of City Council, School Committee, and School Building Committee votes on this issue to date is 14 to 14.  Our elected and appointed officials could not be more deeply divided.

Treason?  Really?  These volunteers, who have donated their time to knock on doors and stand outside grocery stores, have engaged in the most un-treasonous action we as American citizens can take when we disagree with our government – collecting signatures on a petition.  And, notably, when the necessary 6,500 signatures are certified, they will have collected more signatures than any City Councilor got votes in the 2011, 2013, or 2015 elections.

These volunteers have done so as they firmly believe that this decision is one that will affect generations to come and that it is in the best interests of Lowell’s students and citizens that the high school remain in the downtown.  

They strongly feel, like multiple Lowell School Superintendents and High School Headmasters, that the downtown site is much preferable because it is centrally-located and the most equitable location for all students, allowing many to walk to school and to access the numerous programs, internships, and services offered downtown through UMass Lowell, MCC, the MRT, museums and galleries, the LCHC, UTEC, CTI, Lowell Makes, etc. which distinguish LHS from suburban high schools (and which have helped to dramatically reduce dropout rates); because the downtown site is the most cost-effective for Lowell’s taxpayers, avoiding the unreimbursable roadway improvement expenses at Cawley and saving millions every year in bussing costs; because the downtown site keeps a vital piece of the downtown economy in place; and because of the disproportionate impact on one city neighborhood of about 4000 students and staff, 900 vehicles, and 50 buses passing through and into it every school day.

In one of The Sun’s intemperate editorials, the author quoted Abraham Lincoln.  When Lincoln was upset about an issue, though, he would write what he called a “hot letter” which he would put aside until his emotions calmed down and then he would note “never sent, never signed” (after his assassination, they found such notes in his bottom desk drawer).  Maybe the writer of the editorial should have followed President Lincoln’s example.

And maybe the newspaper can now take a different tack.  Fueled by its editorials, this critical debate at times has become too personal.  It is now clear that the necessary number of signatures will be timely gathered and that this issue will be on the ballot.  Rather than demeaning this effort, maybe the newspaper could fulfill its community-focused mission, as it has in the past, and work with all sides to uncover all the facts – as to cost, traffic, equity, economic and neighborhood impact, etc. – and broker a city-wide conversation so that we all can fairly and honestly debate the issue and make a truly informed choice in November.

Michael Gallagher is a local attorney and chairman of the Save Lowell High Committee.

You can read this op-ed on the Lowell Sun.

Campaign launched to put Lowell High School location on the November ballot

Lowell, MA – July 20, 2017

Supporters of keeping Lowell High School at its existing downtown location today announced a ballot initiative campaign to give voters a voice on where the new high school should be rebuilt. The campaign has launched an effort to collect the requisite number of signatures necessary to add a question to November’s ballot asking voters if they support an extensive renovation and rebuild at the existing downtown Lowell High School location.

“This grassroots effort was launched with the support of more than 100 Lowell residents who believe that preserving the high school’s downtown location is the most cost-effective, accessible and forward-looking option for current and future students,” said Michael Gallagher, the ballot committee chair. “As we collect signatures in support of this initiative, we believe that it will be clear that there is widespread support for the downtown option across the city and that there will be tremendous momentum behind this initiative going into November.”

According to the Lowell Elections Commission, in order to get onto the ballot, the committee must collect the signatures of 10% of Lowell’s registered voters, or about 6,400 signatures, by September 25th.

Save Lowell High started collecting signatures this week, and plans to kick-off their door-to-door campaign this Saturday. “This is about making the right choice for the city now, and for the generations to come, and we are encouraged that the number of people getting involved with this effort continues to grow,” Gallagher said.

To organize their efforts, supporters have formed a ballot question committee, ‘Save Lowell High’. The committee’s officers are: Chairman Michael Gallagher, a Lowell native and local attorney; Vice Chairman Molly Sheehy, a former dean of Middlesex Community College; Secretary Onoste Omoyeni, 2016/2017 Lowell High Senior Class president and recent graduate; and Treasurer Lianna Kushi, a local non-profit executive.

“We are organized and motivated, and I am confident that we will not only collect the signatures needed to see that this initiative makes it on the ballot, but that it will pass with overwhelming support in November,” said Molly Sheehy. “Having served as the liaison between Lowell High and Middlesex Community College, I’ve seen firsthand how critical the downtown location is to the future success of Lowell’s students. As we make the case for the downtown location to residents across this city, we see more and more support for this effort.”

“The downtown plan isn’t just the more equitable option, it is both more cost effective and will get students into a new building the fastest,”said Lianna Kushi. “The downtown option costs $12 million less to build AND will receive more state aid. Moving the high school to the Cawley site would further add the significant expense of replacing acres of valuable open space with parking lots and the added bussing and transportation costs that will be required, estimated at $3 million per year. Overall, taxpayers get a far better deal keeping the high school downtown.”

“Having just graduated from Lowell High, I share the perspective that past and present educational leaders across our city have taken – that an urban high school located in the heart of our city offers the best opportunity to ALL of Lowell’s students,” added Onotse Omoyeni. “The school committee, the current and former headmaster, the current and former Superintendent, and President of the UMASS system Marty Meehan have all registered their support for keeping the high school downtown. The focus here should first and foremost be to ensure that that every student is best positioned to realize his or her potential and a modern downtown high school offers our students the most promise.”

For further information, please contact: [email protected]