Haverhill City Council Takes Up School Committee’s Call for More State Public School Aid

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

Correction: The story has been updated to note School Committee members Thomas Grannemann, Mikaela D. Lalumiere and Yonnie Collins met with representatives of 19 gateway cities.

As the school district grapples with an anticipated $11.1 million shortfall, Haverhill city councilors last night took up the call for more state money two school committee members have been championing across the state, including at Beacon Hill.

Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti told councilors a “glitch” member Thomas Grannemann identified in the formula for state aid has left the Haverhill public schools with an estimated $19.2 million less than the 2019 Student Opportunity Act promised.

“This is one of the biggest budget problems, I think, facing the legislature at this point in time,” Grannemann said. “It’s a lot of money, and people tell us, every time we talk with them, ‘you’re asking for a lot of money. We don’t have a lot of money.’”

As WHAV reported, Magliocchetti and Grannemann went to Beacon Hill March 26 to explain to lawmakers how Chapter 70 of state law, which governs public school aid, failed to account for high inflation in recent years. Federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act also ran out this year, which Magliocchetti, countering critiques, said the committee spent wisely. He emphasized state aid should have filled the gap left behind by the end of the act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund—or ESSER.

“If we were fully funded, we could be level servicing and have no impact from the loss of ESSER. I want to make that clear,” he said.

School Committee members Mikaela D. Lalumiere and Yonnie Collins joined Grannemann in meeting March 29 with representatives from 19 gateway cities to present the resolution.

Grannemann told councilors last night seven other municipalities have signed on. He told WHAV these included the school committees of Barnstable, Pittsfield, Holyoke, Methuen, Attleboro, Everett and Lawrence, as well as the Pittsfield City Council. Mayor Melinda E. Barrett said her office has sent letters to the governor and state legislature.

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