Haverhill Schools See Path to Financial Surplus by June

Haverhill School Superintendent James F. Scully.

The latest budget projection for the Haverhill Public Schools finds “absent any adverse developments,” the department could either finish the school year at “break even” or, at best, a “very modest positive balance.”

Haverhill School Committee members Thursday night heard a finance update from Schools Business Manager Brian O’Connell. He projected if the schools, at this point, “incur no expense that we do not absolutely have to incur,” there could be as much as a $238,814.39 budget surplus “cushion.”

“Any new developments that take place, any repairs that need to be made that we aren’t expecting, any curricular expenditures need to be made and emergencies take place, that will eat away the $238,000. We expect most of that money to be absorbed by the expenditures of the months between now and the end of June, but our current estimate is, based on trends, we will finish the year at break-even,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell said the projection was based on a “very conservative and rather prudent overview.”

“It’s been assisted by a recent change in terms of special (education) placements, those seem to have stabilized in certain key ways. We’ve had additional revenue that has come to us, more than would have been budgeted, perhaps by the attractiveness of our HALT and TEACH programs and students enrolling in those particular programs. And those have helped us really, gives a bit of a cushion to conclude the year,” O’Connell said.

Superintendent James F. Scully noted the projection does not include a $113,000 retroactive charge for out-of-district placements that, he said, is undergoing a legal challenge.

“Right now we’re financially okay,” Scully said. “There’s a legal issue that we’re challenging so we may not get hit with that. It’s not our obligation, it’s alleged that it is and we disagree. There’s always that type of thing we’re always hit with.”

At the request of committee members Paul A. Magliocchetti, Gail M. Sullivan and Sven A. Amirian, O’Connell and Scully will also provide further details and analyses, including special education and out-of-district trends and spending the past two years and plans to hire a third health teacher for the schools.

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