Haverhill School Committee Agrees to Interview for Planning Job, But Doesn’t Commit to Filling It

Executive Assistant Beverly Cassano, School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan, Superintendent Margaret Marotta and Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling at a Haverhill School Committee meeting. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Despite a close vote on the issue, the Haverhill School Committee decided to go ahead with plans to interview for the position of chief of support, engagement and innovation at last Thursday’s meeting.

The position is strongly supported by Superintendent Margaret Marotta who said, while unfilled, the position has been in the budget and fills many needed functions. Committee member Toni Sapienza Donais said she didn’t necessarily disagree with the post, but with so much financial uncertainty, now is not the time hire someone new.

“Well, the reason I put this back on the table for discussion is not for the importance of the position itself, but it is just strictly from a budget standpoint. I just think it is difficult to bring in a new administration position at this time. So, I’m making a motion to freeze this position until we have more specific numbers from the state,” she said,

Committee member Scott Wood agreed, saying it would put the city in bad light to interview for a position that may never be realized.

“I don’t think it’s fair to any of the candidates that have applied for it to potentially look to leave a district for a position that there’s a very good chance that we might not fund,” he said.

Marotta noted the job’s planning function is especially needed now as the schools’ weigh fall reopening options.

With assurances from the school superintendent that no one would be offered the position until next year’s financial situation is clear, the committee voted 4-3, with Donais, Wood and Maura Ryan-Ciardiello dissenting, to conduct interviews for the position.

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