Superintendent James F. Scully.
The Haverhill School Committee tentatively approved a $70 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Formal approval will come at a planned May 28 public hearing.
The budget—representing a three percent increase over the current year—was reduced by approximately $1 million. Increases are attributed to negotiated salary increases, new hires necessitated by Haverhill’s population growth and $500,000 in special education deficit spending that is being carried forward.
One cut—the position of transportation supervisor, recently vacated by Haverhill City Council Robert H. Scatamacchia—was, at least temporarily, reversed. Superintendent James F. Scully proposed eliminating the position and giving some of the same responsibilities to the director of student services. The director would also receive a $17,000 salary increase. School Committee President Scott Wood, however, argued successfully against cutting the $65,890 salary. He said union approval is required before moving certain functions from a union to a non-union position.
Mayor James J. Fiorentini said making the cut improves the city’s leverage in negotiations—called “impact bargaining.” He received support from only School Committeeman Joseph J. Bevilacqua
The budget is contingent on the city’s receipt of $2.4 million in state assistance to pay the former city-owned Hale Hospital debt. State Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has again added the amount to the proposed state budget. Last year, the city failed to draw down the sum before then Gov. Deval Patrick ordered cuts to cover shortfalls in state tax receipts.