City Council approves Haverhill School budget of $ 106 million; Plan to achieve grade level goals
Haverhill City Council last night approved the school department’s spending plan for the upcoming school year.
School superintendent Margaret Marotta presented the $ 106 million budget at a special city council meeting. It represents an increase of $ 8 million from the current year, but also includes a one-time payment of $ 7.6 million from the federal government. Marotta told counselors that despite the pandemic, or because of it, schools made many technological improvements using computers in the past year. Now, she added, it’s time to focus on the students themselves.
“It’s good for our school system, but for our children it has been a difficult year and our children have clearly suffered and need additional supports and the budget that we have put in place is to put in place additional supports for our children, ”she explained. .
These supports include equal resources across all of Haverhill’s public schools, smaller class sizes, math and English speakers, and social and emotional support staff. The superintendent’s plan calls for the addition of an additional 70 employees to the payroll, including an assistant high school principal and an assistant facility manager.
Marotta said one of the challenges educators will face next year is to present a program to students whose education this year was less than ideal.
“One of the things we focus on is continuing to expose children to the school curriculum. Don’t sort of come back to fifth grade, but we’re going to teach you the fourth grade curriculum because you lost fourth grade last year. We really insist that we have to keep teaching the curriculum and fill in the gaps, ”she said.
Earlier, Mayor James J. Fiorentini had expressed concern about the use of one-time federal funds in the budget to create long-term positions. He asked what happened to those positions when the money was no longer coming. Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan said he understood the mayor’s position, but …
“I understand the mayor’s concern, but I still support it. I’m quite prepared to take the risk of creating all these positions and worrying about them in two years. I just think it’s too important not to invest in schools. I fully support him. The need is greater than the worry of how we’re going to pay for it in three years, ”he said.
Councilors, who are usually limited to making cuts, approved the proposal, subject to final review, by an 8-0 vote in the absence of Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien. The budget is slated for a final vote on June 10.