HAVERHILL — After six days of intense contract negotiations with teachers that culminated last Thursday night in a tentative agreement between the Haverhill Education Association and the school board, Mayor James Fiorentini said he was delighted to hear that students had returned to school on Friday after missing four days of lessons due to the teachers’ strike.
He said that while the tentative agreement reached had yet to be ratified by HEA members and the Haverhill School Board, he thanked everyone on both sides of the bargaining table who worked hard for so many years. many hours to finalize a contract.
“It has been very difficult for our residents, parents, students and school staff,” Fiorentini said. “For our residents, this has resulted in a lot of uncertainty and for many parents, this has resulted in increased child care costs. For our students, it has been a very difficult week, missing yet another week of school.
“I especially want to thank the Scott Wood School Committee Bargaining Team, Paul Magliocchetti and Rich Rosa and Superintendent Dr. Margaret Marotta for their tireless efforts to get our children back to school,” Fiorentini said.
School committee member Rich Rosa said he was added late to the school committee bargaining committee.
“Mr. Wood and attorney Magliocchetti did most of the negotiating work, and the entire school committee is grateful to them for all of their time and effort,” Rosa said. finalize the negotiations.”
He said the new contract was signed by HEA President Tim Briggs and Wood following the conclusion of negotiations and the school committee planned to formally vote on it at its meeting on Thursday, October 27. The teachers had to vote on the contract as early as Friday evening.
Wood, chairman of the negotiating committee, said the deal includes a salary increase for teachers, without placing an undue burden on taxpayers, and was for $25 million over three years.
“It also addresses union concerns about classroom safety, while maintaining management rights and protecting students’ right to privacy,” he said in a statement. “It is important to note that the union has agreed to reimburse the school service for the costs incurred during this strike. In addition, the union has agreed to fund a scholarship program for disadvantaged students.
Wood added, “Now we look forward to putting this strike behind us and getting back to work serving the children of our city.”
Wood said contract details will be made public after HEA members ratify the contract.
Less than half of the district’s nearly 8,000 students showed up for class on Friday after parents received first notice early Thursday night that the school would be closed while teacher contract talks dragged on.
Later that night, at around 11 p.m., school superintendent Margaret Marotta informed parents that contract talks were successful and students could report on Friday after being deprived of school for four consecutive days, however, she noted that there would be no bus service and that any student who did not show up to school or those who arrived late would be excused.
On Friday, she said about 3,000 of the district’s 8,000 students showed up for classes.
Many eyes were on the contract talks, including those of U.S. Representative Lori Trahan, who responded to the tentative agreement saying “thousands of families across Haverhill rejoice.”
“I couldn’t be more grateful to the students, parents and teachers who have come together to advocate for a deal that honors the hard work of Haverhill educators,” Trahan said.