Nine Meet Deadline for School Committee Seat Consideration

A total of nine candidates, seeking to fill a vacancy on the Haverhill School Committee, met yesterday’s deadline for submitting optional resumes.

The newest contenders are Emily Lawrence-Boulger, 155 Washington St., founder of Shoe Town Art Center; and Dr. Kimberly A Waligora, 93 Powder House Ave., a science professor at Northern Essex Community College. A special meeting of Mayor James J. Fiorentini, all nine city councilors and the five remaining school committee members will meet at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, to decide who shall fill the remaining two years of the seat held by now-City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua.

Despite the interest, sources say, all eyes are focused on former School Committeemen Shaun P. Toohey, 696 Crystal St., and Raymond J. Sierpina, 484 Kingsbury Ave. Toohey’s proponents argue tradition suggests any vacancies should go to the next highest vote-getter in the most recent election. Sierpina supporters say he was the next eligible finisher in the same election year that saw Bevilacqua elected in 2013.

Three out of four times since the city adopted its current charter in 1967, school committee vacancies were filled by the next runner-up in the most recent election. In 1973, the vacancy occurred before that year’s general election and a special election was added to the ballot. The state said it will not allow a special election in this instance, City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas told officials last week.

Resumes were not required, but all candidates must be nominated by an elected official at Tuesday’s meeting to receive any consideration. Under rules adopted last week, candidates will not have an opportunity to address the special committee, but those who make nominations may speak.

Other previously announced candidates include Katrina Hobbs-Everett, 31 Ledge Road; former school committee member Susan D. Danehy, 9 Massasoit Lane; recently retired Haverhill High Classical Academy Dean Deborah A Sasso-Flanagan, 15 Edwards St.; Greater Lawrence Technical School instructor Mikaela Lalumiere, 88 Gary Ave.; and city Community Affairs Advisory Board member Angelica “Toni” Acevedo, 14 Granite St.

Toohey served the school committee for 12 years until losing in November by 110 votes, while Sierpina, a retired principal, served on the school committee until losing in 2013 by 683 votes. Danehy chose not seek re-election last fall.

One thought on “Nine Meet Deadline for School Committee Seat Consideration

  1. Ray Sierpina: Didn’t you do enough damage to taxpayers of Haverhill last time you were on the school board?
    In case voters have forgotten….it was Sierpina who sided with the city janitors union when there was a proposal to privatize school janitorial services. The privatization would have saved the City of Haverhill $650,000.00 PER YEAR without one custodian losing their job. But Ray thought it was more important that these people stay on the city payroll to preserve their pensions, at the expense of taxpayers. He fought hard to defeat that proposal. The decision has cost Haverhill taxpayers over $5MILLION since Ray left office. And now he’s back. Make no mistake, Ray has said it publicly himself…he’s out to protect the interests of any city union and could care less what the cost of that is to taxpayers.