With a competitive Haverhill School Committee race shaping up, committee President Scott W. Wood Jr. said Wednesday he would run his “most aggressive” campaign.
Wood, who was first elected in 2003, formally launched his re-election effort Wednesday and named election veteran James Tarr as his campaign manager. He said he has helped turn around the school district.
“When I first took office, Haverhill’s public schools were in crisis. Schools were closing, teachers were being let go, programs were being cut and fees going up. Today, I can say with confidence that we’ve turned it around. We’ve held the line on spending and are focusing our resources on students exactly where they belong. I am proud to say we haven’t let any staff go due to budget reasons in four years, we’ve restored academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs that had been cut, our technology infrastructure has improved dramatically, and we’ve introduced many new programs at Haverhill High School,” Wood said.
Tarr’s resume includes working for candidates for school committee, city council, state representative, state senate, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in Florida. “Jim helped run my last campaign. He is one of the most innovative young minds I know in the campaign world. I’m looking forward to working closely with him over the next 6 months,” Wood said.
“We have also cut user fees, our high school is fully accredited, four of our schools have improved to Level 1 the highest in the state, graduation rates are up and dropout rates are down, and I’m deeply gratified by supporting and helping pass a new Hunking School without increasing the tax burden on the people of Haverhill.” Said Wood.
Despite the progress, Wood said there are challenges ahead. “To continue this progress we must keep holding all staff accountable, we must be prudent with how every dollar is spent and we must negotiate contracts with unions that are fair and fiscally sound. For these things to be done we need strong, experienced leadership.”
The school committee race became competitive with two-term Committeewoman Susan D. Danehy announcing Friday she is not running for re-election and the entrance of 2103 close contender Gail M. Sullivan, former City Councilor Sven A. Amirian and newcomer Michael Shurman. Committeeman Shaun P. Toohey is also seeking re-election.
Half of the school committee’s six seats are up for election every two years.