Haverhill Calls Off Tuesday After-School Activities Amid Winter Storm Threat

Given the threat of a Tuesday afternoon snowstorm, Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Marotta has made the decision to suspend all after-school activities for Feb. 12. Three to six inches of snow are predicted, with AccuWeather anticipating a mix of sleet and freezing rain to complicate Tuesday evening’s commute. Marotta said all afternoon school activities and events, including Discovery Club and high school athletics, are cancelled. YMCA after-school childcare programs will operate as scheduled with parent pick-up only.

Firefighters Respond to Whittier Middle School ‘Steam Boiler Issue;’ Repairs Underway

Haverhill firefighters were called Saturday night to the John Greenleaf Whittier School for what turned out to be a steam leak. Fire Chief William F. Laliberty told WHAV called the matter “a steam boiler issue in the west wing of the school.” Corroding steam pipes were one of the issues raised last month when parent Paige Caswell apprised the School Committee of the building’s deteriorating shape. Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta said maintenance staff have since stepped in. “It has been repaired…there are significant upgrades needed to the heating system at Whittier and we hope to have those upgrades approved and completed soon,” Marotta told WHAV.  She added, “there is some advance work which we are completing now prior to the repair.”

Last month, the more than 60-year-old Concord Street school was the focus of scrutiny. Caswell called the middle school “a pit,” suffering from a series of problems—mostly related to water issues on the swamp-like site.

State Rejects Proposal for New Haverhill Montessori Charter School

The state has spoken: There will not be a new charter school
coming to the City of Haverhill. In a letter issued by state Education
Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley, plans for a Wildflower Montessori charter school
were declared officially over. Haverhill’s rejection comes six months after a group of
seven organizers submitted a proposal to the Department of Elementary and
Secondary Education to open a charter school that would serve 240 students. In
his decision, Riley said Haverhill’s group was just too early in the planning
process to make the vision a reality. Applauding organizers’ “coherent vision for an
innovative and promising educational option” Haverhill, Riley expressed
concerns over the group ability to implement, govern and manage “all aspects of
the proposed school design.”

Mayor James J. Fiorentini was among several city leaders and
educators who packed a public hearing in December to oppose the initiative that
would have stripped more than $1.6 million from the district’s public schools.

Water Main Break at Bartlett School Temporarily Relocates Students to Consentino

UPDATE, 12:45 p.m.: The pipe has been repaired and students will return to Bartlett at 1 p.m.

Elementary school students from Bartlett are expected to return to their home school in time for dismissal. (File photograph)

A water main break at Haverhill’s Bartlett Elementary School forced students in kindergarten through second grade to relocate to the nearby Consentino school early Monday morning, WHAV has confirmed. Children were transported by bus to Consentino at 9 a.m., Superintendent Margaret Marotta’s office said. The water to Bartlett has been shut off and the issue is being worked on by the Haverhill Water Department. Lunch will be served to all students at Consentino and the children will return to Bartlett in time for dismissal, or earlier if the issue is resolved.

Councilors Agree to Greater Input on Major Spending; Macek Says Schools Must Step Up

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson. (WHAV News photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson last week asked for more resident input on the city’s spending priority list. Councilors agreed to keep large projects, in Michitson’s words, “front and center” with a new list of city needs prepared a month before budget talks begin. The president’s target list includes school roofs; city roads, bridges, water and sewer treatment; handicapped accessibility; and equipment such as fire trucks. “We need to allocate significantly more funding for critical capital improvements,” Michitson said.

City Plans Several Kindergarten Information Sessions in March

Information sessions are held on March 5 and 7 at the Haverhill Public Library. (File photograph)

Haverhill Public Schools are getting ready to welcome the class of 2032 to kindergarten! City parents are invited to attend one of several information sessions in early March. In addition to part-time kindergarten offered free of charge, a full-day classroom option is available for families on a tuition basis. Superintendent Margaret Marotta and staff from the school system are available to discuss options and the registration process on Tuesday, March 5 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. or Thursday, March 7 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the Haverhill Public Library auditorium, 99 Main St.

Haverhill Schools Business Manager O’Connell to Leave; Hints at Legal Action

Haverhill schools Business Manager Brian O’Connell answers questions of the School Committee during a recent meeting. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill Public Schools Business Manager Brian O’Connell has withdrawn from contract negotiations with the city and will leave by next July 1. In withdrawing, O’Connell, who had been under pressure to quit as a new school administration took charge this school year, left open the possibility he will pursue legal action. The business manager’s decision became apparent last Thursday when the School Committee abruptly canceled its planned closed-door negotiating session. “Madam superintendent, do we have a need for executive session?” asked newly elected Vice Chairman Sven A. Amirian.

Haverhill Public Library Launches Children’s Winter Reading Challenge

Young readers can win prizes through the Library's latest literacy effort. (File photograph)

Ready, set, read! Starting this week, the Haverhill Public Library kicks off a kid-friendly winter reading challenge, with youth who complete a literacy Bingo board eligible to win prizes. Challenges include reading a book with a one-word title, or paging through a comic book, for example. Once children read five different types of books to earn a BINGO, the Library will issue a raffle ticket for a prize drawing that takes place on March 1.