Economist Thomas Granneman addresses the audience at Hunking School. (Cindy Driver photograph for WHAV News.)
As Haverhill readies its school budget for the year beginning July 1, 97.9 WHAV will rebroadcast the April forum, “Reach Higher: Haverhill Community Discussion on School Success,” late Monday afternoon during drive-time commuting hours.
A common theme emerged during the forum that the city must pay more to achieve better education results. During the forum, economist Thomas Granneman referred to the city’s “culture of scarcity” that has held back spending.
Granneman pointed to a variety of statistics showing Haverhill’s student dropout rate is higher than other Gateway Cities—former industrial communities—and other similar-income cities. The city also spends less. While the city does spend more every year, he said, the hikes have not kept up with increasing student enrollment and inflation. He estimated Haverhill needs to spend 7.4 percent every year for the next five years to match other Gateway Cities, or 8.5 percent more to match similar income Gateway Cities. Haverhill currently spends 18 percent less per student than the state average.
Two weeks ago, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini unveiled a $185.7 million city budget, giving the schools $5.3 million more in the year ahead.
The forum, sponsored by the Haverhill Education Coalition and Northern Essex Community College, airs at 4:30 p.m., Monday, over 97.9 WHAV.