Haverhill Schools to Close to Students Monday as Teachers’ Strike Expected to Begin

Haverhill School Committee negotiators, from left, Paul A. Magliocchetti and Scott W. Wood Jr., chairman. (WHAV News photograph.)

(Additional photographs below.)

Haverhill schools are closed to students Monday, but the administration said staff are still required to report as teachers fulfill their promises to go on strike.

Haverhill school Superintendent Margaret Marotta said negotiations with the Haverhill Education Association concluded Sunday afternoon with some progress, but no tentative agreement. Defying a state order, teachers voted Friday afternoon to undertake a strike, illegal under Massachusetts law, if an agreement could not be reached during state-mandated mediation.

“As such, we are forced to cancel school for students tomorrow, Monday Oct. 17…The day has been converted to a professional development day for all staff. Canceling school for students will require that we make up each day of lost learning time at the end of the school year,” Marotta said in a Sunday afternoon email to families.

Athletic Director Thomas O’Brien said, however, all athletic events, including practices and competitions, will still take place as scheduled.

Meanwhile, the state Employment Relations Board alleged in a ruling released Saturday that the Haverhill Education Association and Massachusetts Teachers Association was “was inducing, encouraging and condoning the strike” in violation of state law. The Board and School Committee plan to ask a Salem Superior Court judge to issue an injunction against the union for its illegal strike, according to a School Committee statement.

The superintendent said negotiations resume Monday. Meanwhile, the school department is employing emergency plans to feed children and find places for them for parents who have to work.

During a press conference Sunday afternoon, School Committee member Paul A. Magliocchetti asked that the union and its allies not interfere with meal service and other programs for children outside of school. He explained some city workers have expressed fears over crossing the teachers’ picket line.

“These are specifically the employees that are dealing with providing meals and nutrition for these underserviced kids. That’s a real problem right now,” he said.

Free school lunch for Monday and breakfast for Tuesday is being provided for all children 18 and under from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Haverhill YMCA, 81 Winter St.; Boys and Girls Club of Greater Haverhill, 55 Emerson St.; Swasey Field Park, 59 Blaisdell St.; Haverhill Stadium, at Lincoln and Nettleton; Haverhill Public Works, 500 Primrose St., parking lot; Winnekenni Castle, tennis courts at 347 Kenoza Ave.; Bradford Common; and Cashman Field, off Hilldale Avenue.

Children currently enrolled Haverhill YMCA and Boys and Girls Club of Greater Haverhill may spend the day in those locations. Parents of children registered for before or after school programs at the YMCA will receive an email directly from the YMCA regarding childcare options, including a full-day program from 7a.m.-6 p.m. Those not registered, but are enrolled in Haverhill Public Schools grades kindergarten through grade 4 may sign up for a drop in-program from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Plaistow Community YMCA, 175 Plaistow Road, Plaistow, N.H. Pre-registration is required in advance.

Comments are closed.