School Committee approves contract for new school superintendent

Margaret Marotta met residents and city officials before being interviewed by School Committee members on March 6. CARL RUSSO/Staff photo

HAVERHILL — In a 4 to 2 vote, the School Committee on Thursday night approved a three-year contract for its newly appointed School Superintendent Margaret Marotta that will provide her with an annual base pay of $190,000 for the period July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, plus automatic $4,000 increases for each of the following two years.

She is eligible for an annual bonus between $1,900 and $7,600, if she meets goals set by the School Committee. 

Conceivably, Marotta, who has no experience as a superintendent, has never taught in a traditional classroom setting and has never been a school principal, according to her resume, could soon be paid the same as Superintendent James Scully, who has nearly 20 years experience as a superintendent and extensive principal and teaching experience.

Scully is in his eighth year leading Haverhill's schools and is paid a base salary of $205,000.

Voting against the contract were School Committee members Scott Wood and Maura Ryan-Ciardiello. Both of them also voted against hiring Marotta as superintendent.

Voting in favor of the contract were committee Vice Chairman Paul Magliocchetti and members Rich Rosa, Gail Sullivan and Sven Amirian.

Mayor James Fiorentini, chairman of the committee, did not attend the meeting but authorized Magliocchetti to sign the contract in Fiorentini's place, according to Magliocchetti.

Wood expressed concerns for a contract he called "a little lavish" for a first-year superintendent, and noted that Marotta will be ranked as the 21st highest paid superintendent out of 241 superintendents in Massachusetts.

Wood questioned the automatic raises in Marotta's contract, noting prior superintendent contracts were not as generous and "merit-based." He also questioned an annual $2,500 annuity stipend Marotta will receive, indicating the district had moved away from providing such stipends to administrative level personnel. 

"To me, it's more of the point are we going back to the annuities with our administrators and top level groups or are we staying the same," Wood said.

Magliocchetti reacted to Wood's comments, saying the salary requirements for school districts such as Haverhill "are on the higher end" and noted the salary was advertised as between $190,000 and $215,000. 

"We could have taken the position that we'll meet you in the middle and we'll give you $194,000 or $195,000 for three years, but instead of doing that, we stepped her up and it averages out to be $194,000 for three years," Magliocchetti said. "This way we start her at the lower level and she incrementally goes up."

Marotta will receive an annual stipend of $2,500 towards the purchase of an annuity, a $5,000 per year car allowance, a $100 a month cell phone allowance, a one-time payment of $5,000 to attend an Induction and Executive Mentoring program through the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and membership in that organization.

Marotta will also have 25 vacation days per year, 15 paid sick days per year, and will be allowed to accumulate up to 125 sick days. There will be no "sick leave buyback" according to the proposed contract.

She will be eligible to participate in the same health and other insurance benefits provided other employees of the district.

Since 2012, Marotta has served as an assistant superintendent in the Salem, Massachusetts public schools, where she previously served as director of pupil services. She also served as an assistant director of special education for Boston's public schools, and as an assistant program director. Prior to that she was a special education team chairperson for Peabody's public schools.

According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Marotta is licensed as a superintendent/assistant superintendent, special education administrator and pre-K to grade 6 principal/assistant principal.

Scully noted that he became the youngest superintendent in the state in 1987 when he was appointed to lead Lawrence's public schools, a job he held for about 10 years. Prior to that he served as director of educational programs (K-8), as a principal and assistant principal in Lawrence, and also served as a teacher at all levels and taught college seminars and workshops. 

Prior to being named superintendent in Haverhill, Scully was principal of the Consentino School for five years.

  

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