ESP Union to Present Gifts to Haverhill School Committee; Group Wants Say in Added Ed Money

Haverhill School Committee. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill School Committee members are expected to receive gifts at their meeting tonight as the schools’ educational support professionals gear up for negotiations next year.

Haverhill Education Association President Anthony J. Parolisi is reminding the School Committee the recently approved state Student Opportunity Act requires them to consider input from parents, educators and community members on how to spend extra education money. For her part, Maureen Zuber, wants to begin the talks in a friendly manner.

“In the spirit of everything that is Oprah and Ellen with the days of giving, we wanted to join in,” she tells WHAV. While the gifts are a surprise, Zuber hinted they have to do with “uncompensated time.” She explains, “Unless you’re in the school and you experience what any educator does in the course of each day, you can’t appreciate all that is expected of them and all that they do.”

While teachers completed three-year contract talks with the School Committee this fall, educational support professionals expect to begin negotiations next month. The group’s contract expires at the end of next June.

Parolisi said one goal of talks is to ensure these professionals—who currently earn between $19,0000 and $27,000 a year—earn a living wage. He notes MIT’s living wage calculator for Essex County suggests an income of at least $38 an hour.

The union is participating in Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance’s “Boston Fund Our Future” bootcamp this weekend to learn more about the Student Opportunity Act. He explains Haverhill received an additional $3 million this year in state education money and the number will grow over the next seven years to $21 or $22 million per year. The union will use its right to provide input to shape how the money is spent improving student education.

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