Maintenance Budget Cut Last June Said to Play Role in Haverhill School Safety Concerns

An Exit sign dangling from wires at Greenleaf Academy.

Worries, expressed last spring when Haverhill cut a maintenance position from the budget, surfaced again last Thursday when School Committee members reported possible safety issues.

Committee members Paul A. Magliocchetti and Toni Sapienza Donais, both members of the School Maintenance Subcommittee, reported they toured Greenleaf Academy in Bradford last week and found a number of problems, which they photographed and presented at the meeting.

“There were some real issues of concern. That’s a hole in the wall. It looks like a low voltage wire. We don’t know if it’s live. The ends of these stair treads are all ripped off. I’m not sure why things like this are not getting done,” Magliocchetti said.

Magliocchetti said it was his understanding that the School Maintenance Director visited the schools periodically to look for problems, however, many of the issues they had found have existed for months.

As WHAV reported last June, School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan questioned how eliminating the job of assistant director of facilities would affect the maintenance in the schools. “Are we going to go back to schools being poorly maintained?” she asked. Sullivan also warned the Finance subcommittee’s 2-1 vote to cut the assistant’s job was bad timing since Facilities Director Stephen D. Dorrance is involved with planning the replacement of the Dr. Albert B. Consentino School. At the time, Magliocchetti also called the cut “counterintuitive.”

Superintendent Margaret Marotta Thursday stopped short of saying “I told you so.”

“You know, last budget time when we eliminated the assistant director of maintenance position and we discussed the impact that would have on the director of maintenance as we moved into the Consentino Building Committee project. We are at a point where he is spending 15 plus hours a week in meetings about the Consentino. So, I guess that’s a discussion that we may need to revisit.”

Marotta said although the issues raised are unacceptable and will be dealt with now that they have been pointed out, overall, she believes the school buildings are generally in good shape.

Magliocchetti questioned whether someone else could take over Dorrance’s role on the Consentino project.

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