In Reversal, Full School Committee Ratifies Pact with Educators Related to Remote Learning

Haverhill Education Association President Anthony J. Parolisi at a previous Haverhill School Committee meeting. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Update: Educators approved the agreement during Friday voting.

The Haverhill School Committee changed its mind last night and approved an agreement with educators that governs next week’s rollout of remote learning.

Committee members voted unanimously to approve the understanding that was hammered out earlier this week between the Haverhill Education Association and school negotiators. The breakthrough came after three members withdrew objections to paying a full-year of activity stipends for a reduced school year. Unable to approve the original pact, the full committee instead voted Wednesday to send back an amendment. Union President Anthony J. Parolisi told members he is “both excited and relieved” at the turn of events.

The accord requires all union members to work remotely, but with greater flexibility than originally proposed by Superintendent Margaret Marotta; continue receiving the same pay and benefits, check emails at least twice a day; try to meet a goal of having visual contact with each student a minimum of twice per week; and other measures. Those who are considered “essential staff” by the superintendent agree to report to work if the business of the district requires it. The school department also agreed take whatever “precautionary measures” it can to prevent teachers’ from being “videotaped or otherwise hacked… for ill purposes.” Both sides also agreed to continue bargaining to decide how teachers will receive their evaluations.

In an email to his members, Parolisi said School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. reversed his initial concern after the two spoke and then won buy-in from fellow members Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello and Toni Sapienza-Donais. The original agreement was negotiated by member Richard J. Rosa and Paul A. Magliocchetti and also received support from member Gail M. Sullivan.

While the union was successful in having certain stipends paid, it could not do the same for athletics. Parolisi explained, “We have unit members who coach baseball, softball, things like that, and those stipends aren’t in our contract so we weren’t able to protect that income.”

Educators are expected to ratify the agreement during an online vote today.

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