Haverhill Schools Plan New Search for SPED Director

Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent James F. Scully.

Interim Director of Special Education Kyle Riley.

Interim Director of Special Education Kyle Riley.

The Haverhill Public Schools’ “intent” is to post, as early as today, a renewed search for a permanent special education director.

The latest effort was delayed from last November with the hiring of Interim Director of Special Education Kyle Riley. A school committee discussion last Thursday with Superintendent James F. Scully was prompted by a status update request from Committeewoman Gail M. Sullivan.

“This is one of the responsibilities of the school committee, advise and consent on the job of special ed director. And because it’s such an important job and as you see...original budget and the first item is ‘special ed, $9,454,000.’ It’s a big budget item, it’s extremely important,” Sullivan said.

Scully said the latest search process would come since a previous search produced an insufficient field of candidates. He explained the process to Sullivan.

“We would give you five or six names that we think have been screened, that would be good to be a SPED director. And then as we have done in the past, every time we’ve done it, I’ve brought the SPED director in and have the school committee interview (him). You make a decision; and that’s what we did last time (when) we did the acting director,” Scully said.

Meanwhile, Committeman Sven A. Amirian raised concern about the ability to retain the best candidate with a salary range comparable to neighboring states while maintaining “a balancing act” with the school budget. He noted a draft job description indicated a salary “to be negotiated.”

“We can’t be pennywise and pound foolish. If we don’t get the most qualified candidate because we can’t spend what we need to retain these people, we’re setting ourselves up for failure down the road. And I realize it’s a balancing act with the budget. But there’s a larger conversation that needs to be had here in regards to spending money at the appropriate time and ensuring ourselves, once we have this talent, that we keep them,” Amirian said.

Scully said he is exploring the latest salary range, which he called “very fluid.” He also noted some department employees are leaving for districts offering higher salaries.

“It’s tough. This past week, all because of salary, we lost three people to other districts. And they were told if they take the job within ‘x’ amount of days, they’ll get ‘x” amount of money. You can’t compete with that,” Scully added.

Scully also told the committee it was unknown if Riley would apply for the permanent position. WHAV has placed a call to Riley, however he was not immediately available to comment.

3 thoughts on “Haverhill Schools Plan New Search for SPED Director

  1. Why can’t we offer salaries that are competitive? Or, have we chosen in the past not to be competitive, because we don’t really believe in educating every child?

    • The Haverhill Special Education Department has been mismanaged for years, and the school committee is responsible for going along with the superintendent’s previous SPED director. The amount of talented special education teachers that have left the district over the pas few years is unbelievable. Students throughout the district are simply being denied services, and the district uses the excuse that it can’t hire enough people. The truth is that the district hopes some parents won’t demand services missed be made up. In other words, the district can save money by failing to provide needed services to the most vulnerable among us. It’s disgraceful.

  2. “You can’t compete with that,” Scully added.” – That’s because debtors are not, and will never be, in control of their own destiny, yet this city and this state continues to pile it on. In Haverhill’s case in particular, deficit spending only compounds the problem, pulling forward demand so far that there’s simply no mathematical way to make it up by way of future production, further enslaving the most vulnerable of its citizens.

    Crony capitalism works! Now go eat your cake!