Haverhill Council Backs 4 School Roof Replacements—One Over Mayor’s Objection

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta with Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (WHAV News file photograph.)

School Superintendent Margaret Marotta confirmed Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s contention that Silver Hill School does not yet have a roof problem despite its nearly 30-year age. (WHAV News photograph.)

Despite a City Council vote favoring roof replacements at four city schools, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, said he won’t seek state help for Silver Hill School.

He argued Tuesday night Silver Hill’s roof simply isn’t leaking

“Not a single person watching tonight or in the audience would replace a roof that isn’t defective, hasn’t leaked in the past and isn’t leaking today. I know it might leak in the future, but there’s not a single roof in this country that you couldn’t say that about,” the mayor said.

School Superintendent Margaret Marotta confirmed, that while the Silver Hill roof is nearly 30 years old, it has not leaked and has not been patched. Fiorentini won backing only from City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. All other councilors in attendance supported sending the request for emergency money to the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s “Accelerated Repair Program.”

The mayor also expressed reservations last Thursday about the plan to submit so-called Statements of Interest to the state for Haverhill High, Golden Hill, Silver Hill and Moody Schools.

Leak or not, Councilor Timothy J. Jordan argued that none of the schools are in great shape. He said there was no harm in submitting the request to the state. Councilor Colin F. LePage, who sits with Jordan on the city’s Joint Facilities Committee, said it wouldn’t be prudent not to support the plan.

“You need to ask to receive. So, we talk about these things. If we don’t ask, we won’t have any opportunity to receive it,” LePage said.