Haverhill School Committee Approves $91.6 Million Budget; Rules Out Maintenance Change

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.)

Although there were a few questions and proposals made, the Haverhill School Committee unanimously passed the $91.6 million 2020-2021 school budget at last night’s meeting.

The process began with an online public hearing and hour before the regular meeting. Interest however, was limited to just two residents, Joanna Dix and Thomas Grannemann, the president and vice-president respectively of the Haverhill Education Coalition.

In both cases they gave high marks to the school administration and the School Committee for creating a reasonable budget under difficult circumstances. During the regular meeting, Haverhill Education Association President Anthony Parolisi also praised the budget outcome considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the School Committee’s part there was considerable discussion on a couple of topics—the first proposed by Committee member Toni Sapienza Donais to eliminate the position of supervisor of facilities, currently held by Heather Forgione. While the Committee did not disagree with the motion, and Forgione would be welcome to apply for a new post shared between the schools and the city, they decided the matter should not be part of the current budget proposal. Members voted instead to send it to the Finance Subcommittee for further consideration.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini also attempted to add a proposal to the budget, eliminating one of the school resource officers and putting the police officer back on the streets.

“I would like to see one of the schools, chosen by the superintendent, that we take a school resource officer and exchange that position for an adjustment councilor,” the mayor said.

The mayor’s proposal never gained traction with the Committee and was ultimately dropped.

The budget proposal now goes before the City Council on Tuesday for final passage.

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