Haverhill School Committee Asks State to Pay COVID-19-Related Costs; Resolves to End Racism

Haverhill School Committee member Richard J. Rosa. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The Haverhill School Committee wants state leaders to know they expect the Commonwealth to pay added the added COVID-19-related costs of reopening schools. They also reminded themselves and all other school districts that racist practices must be eradicated.

Members approve the two resolutions, proposed by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, at last Thursday’s meeting. Quoting from the first resolution, Committee Vice Chairman Richard J. Rosa said “it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that each school district is able to pay for the enormous additional staffing, transportation and material expenses required” for school reopening.

“Whereas the state cannot expect mandatory COVID-19 safety guidelines to be followed without also ensuring that each school district has the funds to implement these guidelines, the state must guarantee every school district full reimbursement for whatever COVID-19 expenses are required to follow state mandates,” Rosa read.

The second resolution calls on all schools to create a “welcoming community for all students” by providing annual professional development on diversity, equity and inclusion for all staff and School Committee members; “recruiting and retaining a diverse and culturally responsive teaching workforce;” examining policies for “institutional and systemic racialized practices;” and teaching the history of racial oppression, among other steps.

The two resolutions will be sent to Gov. Charlie Baker, Education Secretary James Peyser, the local legislative delegation, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

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