State Education Aid for Haverhill Keeps Pace with Inflation; Schools Address HVAC for COVID-19 Era

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 the financial impact of the coronavirus on the state budget, Haverhill School Committee members last Thursday learned the city will receive the same amount of education aid last year plus an amount for inflation.

Assistant school Superintendent Michael Pfifferling told the committee Haverhill did pretty well with money for public schools, known as Chapter 70 local aid.

“The Haverhill numbers went from $58.3 million in FY 20, which we just finished, to $63.3 million in FY 21, a net increase of $4.99 million.”

Pfifferling also addressed the quality of the air in school buildings—a subject of concern raised by teachers, parents and School Committee members because of COVID-19.

“In late June, the School Committee reallocated $157,000 to conduct HVAC work at six of our most needy buildings in the city. That work has commenced. It is well underway, inspecting and fixing univents. That’s phase one. Phase two is rooftop units and then phase three is replacing any major parts.”

Pfifferling also reported the schools’ maintenance department has been going through every classroom in the city, repairing windows, assuring that each classroom will have fresh air circulating during the day.

In other business, the School Committee unanimously approved a policy, requiring face masks be worn by both staff and students during school hours. They also passed a residency policy, requiring students to physically reside in the city in order to attend public schools. That policy does include an exception for students legally enrolled through the state’s school choice program.

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