Haverhill School Committee Pays Controversial Legal Bill

School Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti.

A legal bill of nearly $2,000 will be paid by the Haverhill public school district, but not without some criticism from a school committee member.

The committee Thursday night voted 5-1 to approve payment of $1,920.50 to the firm Lyons and Rogers, LLC, Rockland for an outside legal opinion last March regarding “school committee authority as to standards for college preparatory classes and class weighting.” After a motion for vote was seconded, an attempted discussion by Committeeman Joseph Bevilacqua was denied, but not without comment.

“I vote ‘yes’ only because we have an obligation to pay the bill. Although I‘m disappointed that we had to challenge our own city solicitor for a legal opinion which now takes $2,000 out of your educational fund,” Bevilacqua said.

Committeeman Paul A. Magliocchetti was the lone dissenting vote. In April, Magliocchetti challenged the ranking system at the high school during debate on Advanced Placement (AP) and Early College (EC) course weighting and class ranking between the committee and parents who complained honors and AP students—representing the top 20 percent of learners—were losing class rankings to “middle of the class academically” EC participants.

“The role and function of school committees are statutorily limited to specific duties and responsibilities which would not encompass the management of academic courses in the sense of determining the amount of weight certain courses are assigned. Such determinations are legally and customarily within the purview of school administrators, namely the superintendent and principals,” said Attorney Catherine L. Lyons.

Lyons made the ruling in place of City Solicitor William D. Cox, Jr.

In other school committee business, the panel approved a total $883,076.16 in district expenses for transportation, energy, food services, reimbursements, vehicle maintenance and supplies, among other items. Without discussion, four members voted in favor while members Magliocchetti and Bevilacqua abstained. The action taken before the district closes the books on the current fiscal year ending June 30.

2 thoughts on “Haverhill School Committee Pays Controversial Legal Bill

  1. As someone Who has dealings with Cox personally, he needs to be fired as city solicitor. He doesn’t know how to do his job correctly, he’s costing us money and I agree the 2,000 should be pulled right out of his salary. Jim scully won’t allow that to happen though. And Lyons and Rogers is one of the most crooked law firms around. I have a current complaint sitting at the bar association regarding Catherine Lyons conduct to me. Part of the problem is that HPS hired a crooked law firm.

  2. Shouldn’t this $2,000.00 be deducted from Solicitor Cox’s salary?
    If he the city is paying him to do a job which apparently he does not have the expertise to do why is the city paying him?