Magliocchetti, Grannemann Tell Beacon Hill State Left Haverhill Estimated $19.2 Million Behind

At the State House, from left, Haverhill School Committee member Thomas Grannemann, Rep. Andy X. Vargas and School Committee Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti. (Courtesy photograph.)

Arguing a faulty state funding formula has left Haverhill Public Schools with a potential $11.1 million deficit for next year’s budget, School Committee Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti and member Thomas Grannemann met with Beacon Hill lawmakers to explain their proposed fix Tuesday.

Magliocchetti told WHAV he was spurred into action after people mocked his declaration he would march on Beacon Hill if the district did not receive additional money, which he made at a recent School Committee meeting, as WHAV reported. “It inspired me to do this, because, you know, I’m that passionate about this,” he said.

The two committee members were well received, meeting first with state Rep. Andy X. Vargas Tuesday morning, according to Magliocchetti. He said he is confident more discussions will follow.

From left, Haverhill School Committee member Thomas Grannemann, state Auditor Diana DiZoglio and School Committee Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti. (Courtesy photograph.)

In his proposal to the state, Grannemann, a former economist, argued Haverhill should have received around $19.2 million more since 2023. He made clear he is not asking for the entire sum, rather the 2025 budget should be adjusted to reflect the high inflation of recent years. If the state follows his recommendation, he estimates Haverhill will receive an extra $8.4 million this year, roughly the amount administrators expected.

“It is much more important that we get Chapter 70 back on track, so that aid allotments for fiscal year 2025 and future periods fully reflect the rise in cost that has occurred over the period of the Student Opportunity Act,” he wrote.

Though each school district receives a different amount of money from the state, due to factors like student population, education aid increases yearly relative to inflation, a metric estimating the rate at which costs across the economy grow. The 2019 Student Opportunity Act changed how Chapter 70 of state law, which sets the formula for education money, takes inflation into account.

From left, Haverhill School Committee Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti., rep. Ryan Hamilton and School Committee member Thomas Grannemann. (Courtesy photograph.)

In a resolution adopted by the School Committee, Grannemann pointed out Chapter 70 caps inflation used for the aid formula at 4.5%, even though inflation was 7% and 8% in fiscal years 2023 and 2024. If the state had accounted for inflation, Haverhill would have received an extra $3 million in fiscal year 2023, $7.8 million in 2024 and a projected $8.3 million for this coming year. He called on the state to get rid of the 4.5% cap going forward and calculate its 2025 budget according to how much costs have actually grown since 2020.

Responding to criticism that the school district wasted extra money from the American Rescue Plan Act, which expired this year, Magliocchetti said the federal infusion only “masked” insufficient state money. “It really was nothing extra because it was just backfilling the money we lost,” he said.

With districts across the state contemplating staff and program cuts, education advocates called on House Democrats for a boost to state public school money earlier this month, as WHAV reported. Their proposed increase is more modest than Grannemann’s.

Magliocchetti told WHAV, “We need a correction here, otherwise communities like Haverhill get disproportionately affected.” While wealthier communities like Andover can make up the difference by raising property taxes, he explained the same move would more greatly burden Haverhill’s taxpayers.

Grannemann has shared his resolution with the state’s other gateway cities, defined as communities with populations greater than 35,000 but less than 250,000. Barnstable, Holyoke, and Pittsfield adopted Grannemann’s resolution.

During today’s School Committee meeting, Grannemann and Magliocchetti are set to give an update on their proposed fixes to state education aid.

Comments are closed.