Many New Haverhill Teachers This Year; Debate Rages Over Pay or Ordinary Turnover

Educators, parents and supporters from across the region joined the Haverhill Education Association for a rally at City Hall on June 11, 2019. (Courtesy photograph)

There are many new faces within Haverhill schools this year. Depending on who you ask it is because of poor working conditions and inadequate pay or ordinary turnover.

Haverhill Public Schools report 81 out of 703 certified teachers and seven administrators have left since the beginning of the calendar year. It was not reported how many of those retired, but some estimate about half of that total. Haverhill Education Association President Anthony J. Parolisi says he was surprised to find 72 new faces at new teacher orientation last week, and more teachers are still being hired.

“A lot of people are observing more people have left the district than ever before. At least two AP teachers. We’re losing all stars over working conditions and inadequate pay.” Using baseball terms, Parolisi says, “Haverhill is becoming a farm system, becoming the Tampa Bay Rays.” He explains, “We help develop them into highly qualified, professional educators.”

The union president says retirement figures are also misleading since some teachers sacrifice maximum pensions just to leave the system. “Veteran teachers have reached their breaking point and they’ve had enough,” he says.

According to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the statewide teacher retention rate in 2018 was 86.9%, while Haverhill’s was 86.8%.

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