Pentucket Regional School Chief Expects Tight Spending Plan for Next School Year

The head of the Pentucket Regional School District expects a tight spending plan this this year, citing higher operating, utility and state-mandated costs and following a year of layoffs and cuts in sports programs.

Pentucket Superintendent Justin Bartholomew, a recent guest on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” show said residents can weigh in tomorrow night during a public hearing on spending for the next school year. He noted the impact on last year’s failed Proposition 2 ½ override vote on the budget. “Last year, we had to lay off 12 teachers. We cut all freshman and JV2 sports. We also had to cut some para-educators.

Northern Essex Receives Honors at Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Northern Essex Community College Theater walked away with big honors and made its mark at this year’s Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival last week in Hyannis. The Region 1 festival brings together hundreds of college theater students, professors and professionals from New England and New York to showcase their work and expertise. The 2022 production of “Lighten Up” was selected as one of the top 10 best productions of the 2021-2022 Academic year. Cast members Gwynnethe Glickman, Olivia Barberian and Jessica Newey performed a scene during the Invited Scenes Showcase. “They tore the roof off the place,” said Northern Essex Theater Professor Brianne Beatrice.

Podcast: Job Interviews Taking Place This Week for Next Haverhill High School Principal

More interviews are scheduled this week in the search for the next Haverhill High School principal. The person chosen will replace interim principal Kevin Soraghan, who took the job when the previous search was called off when only a small number of candidates showed interest. Haverhill school Superintendent Margaret Marotta, a guest this week on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” show, said the search committee reviewed 14 resumes before beginning the current  interview process. “We have some good candidates, but I’ll tell you the pool wasn’t as big as I would have hoped or thought. It’s just a really tough time right now.

A Year After Prop 2 1/2 Override Defeat, Pentucket Regional Schools Launch Budget Website

The Pentucket Regional School District this week formally launched a new website to raise awareness of the upcoming 2023-2024 district budget; show important dates, such as next week’s School Committee budget hearing; and provide documents. Both Groveland and Merrimac voters last year defeated what was called an “operational budget override” to pay for the district’s proposed $50 million spending plan. The administration said it was the district’s first Proposition 2 ½ override request in 10 years, and mostly centered around transportation costs. The School Committee Public Hearing on the budget takes place Tuesday, Feb. 14, from 6-8 p.m., at Pentucket Middle School/High School, 24 Main St., Groveland.

Northern Essex Community College Takes Part in Digital Textbook and Materials Pilot

Northern Essex Community College is one of just seven colleges in the Commonwealth selected to participate in the Digital Textbook and Materials Pilot program. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently approved a million-dollar grant for the seven schools to access digital textbooks, courseware and materials on the Lumen Learning platform for free. “In addition to reducing student textbook costs, this national movement is empowering faculty to curate their own educational materials. In a very real way, this enhances faculty scholarship and has the potential of adding value to student learning. I am so glad that NECC is a leader in Massachusetts in this work” says College Provost Paul Beaudin.

Two Schools Shuttered Because of Burst Pipes Reopen with Call for Students to Dress Warmly

The principal of one of two Haverhill schools closed to classes Monday because of frozen pipes, says Silver Hill School will be open Tuesday, but “some rooms may have less heat than they typically do.”

Principal Donna Martin, in an email to families, recommends children “dress in warm layers and be sure they have a jacket, hat and gloves.”

“Some classes may be moved to different spaces while finishing repairs and cleaning are completed. Not all these classrooms are identified yet because repairs are ongoing,” she explained. Besides indoor comfort, the principal said, staff hopes to permit students outside for recess. Martin thanked Silver Hill custodians and maintenance crew who worked yesterday “all day and will continue to work into the evening to get the school as ready as possible to open.”

The YMCA’s before and after school programs at Silver Hill will be open today on a typical schedule, but the fifth-grade band is canceled because the school may use the cafeteria if some classrooms are chilly. Massachusetts Department of Education regulations require rooms occupied by students shall be maintained at not less than 68 degrees.

Haverhill’s State Legislators Hear City Wish List, Admit Problem With Paying for New Schools

All four members of Haverhill’s legislative delegation last week came to hear city councilors’ wish list and also acknowledged shortcomings with the state formula for helping to pay for new schools. They were the city’s new senators—now two of them as a result of redistricting, Barry R. Finegold and Pavel M. Payano and state Reps. Andy X. Vargas and Ryan Hamilton, who succeeded Rep. Linda Dean Campbell. Finegold began by touting recent accomplishments. “I’m very proud recently of securing nine million for Haverhill for economic development.

Whittier Tech Marine Technology Program Takes Center Stage at Business of Boating Conference

Two Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School faculty members talked about training students to serve the recreational boating industry during the recent Massachusetts Marine Trades Association’s 2023 Business of Boating Conference. Marine Technology Instructor Mike Murray and Director of Community Partnerships Tia Gerber attended the conference. Murray connected with industry professionals and businesses to further Whittier’s Marine Technology pathway for day and evening students. He has taught five semesters of evening education Marine Technology programs, ranging from 75 hours to 200 hours in length. “My vision for the Marine Technology program with the high school is to train a new generation of technicians that will help fill the gap in the Marine Trades labor force,” Murray said.