Fiorentini to Petition for Increased School Funding Friday at Statehouse

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini delivers annual State Of The City address (Dave Morrison file photograph for WHAV News.)

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini is taking his plea for increased school funding to Beacon Hill Friday, testifying at the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education hearing, his office tells WHAV.

He plans to address the committee in an 11:30 a.m. panel discussion alongside Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other urban city leaders to push for money for public schools.

“Gateway cities like Haverhill don’t have the tax base and have more needs than more affluent communities,” Fiorentini told WHAV in a statement Thursday. “The only way to close the achievement gap between the rich and the poor is to give more resources to cities. Right now, that achievement gap is increasing, not decreasing, and it is critical that we start addressing these inequities.”

Friday’s legislative hearing considers a reform to the 25-year-old education funding formula that would earmark additional money for school districts like Haverhill with large enrollments of low-income and special education students.

If approved, the revamp would offer a $1.1 billion state aid increase over seven years.

Though Haverhill has increased its school budget by $14 million over the last three years, Fiorentini worries the city will not be able to sustain such spending.

“The final school funding reform bill must live up to the basic partnership between the state and its cities and towns to fund the education of our children,” Fiorentini said.

Haverhill’s state Rep. Andy Vargas is among those policymakers to sit on the committee.

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