FOR RELEASE: June 5, 2017
CONTACT: Rich Rosa, firstname.lastname@example.org, 978-835-5906
Haverhill, Mass. – Rich Rosa, a parent, attorney, and local business owner announced his candidacy for the Haverhill School Committee today, stating his focus will be on long-term solutions to persistent problems and the efficient use of the school department's $79 million budget.
Rosa lives on Kenoza Street with his wife, Anne, and his twin boys. He has been a local business owner for more than 20 years. Rosa has been a licensed attorney since 1995, and he co-founded in 2005 Haverhill-based Buyers Brokers Only, LLC, an exclusive buyer agent real estate firm.
Rich has been active at his children's schools, volunteering, helping out, and donating to various school causes. He also has been a coach at the Haverhill YMCA. Early in his legal career, Rich coached the Haverhill High School mock trial team, helping students prepare for competitions against other high schools.
Rosa wants to focus on several issues facing the Haverhill Public Schools, including the need for more transparency and accountability, the persistently high dropout rate, and management of the special education budget. He also believes politics have taken priority over sound policy, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in recent years.
"There are many positive things happening in the Haverhill Public Schools. Students, teachers and staff work hard, and we should commend them for their efforts and successes," Rosa said; "however, we must face persistent problems head on, set goals, craft solutions, and consistently track our successes and failures in reaching those goals."
– Transparency and Accountability
"The budget for the Haverhill Public Schools for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year is more than $79 million. Whether you think $79 million is too little, too much, or just right, we all can agree that we can never have enough transparency and accountability," Rosa said. "I will ask the tough questions, pursue thorough answers and work tirelessly to improve the schools for our students while protecting taxpayers."
The budget for the 2017-2018 school year increases spending 7.1 percent and by more than $5 million. Rosa believes technology is one way to increase transparency and accountability, such as software that allows school administrators, the School Committee, and the public to quickly compare district performance against similar school districts to identify opportunities for efficiency and make sound, data-driven budgetary and policy decisions.
– Dropout Rate
"The Haverhill High School dropout rate affects us all, not just the student who decides to leave school. Studies indicate that more than 80 percent of the incarcerated population in the United States are high school dropouts," Rosa said. "Haverhill's dropout rate is twice the state average and among the worst statewide, according to research compiled from a local economist. There are not any simple solutions, but the city needs a multi-faceted, long-term plan."
– Special Education
"The Haverhill special education budget for out-of-district tuition has exploded over the past three years, increasing about 70 percent to more than $3 million for the next school year, according to budget numbers released by the school department," Rosa said. "It's not a secret that better management of the special education department will reduce the number of special education students needing placement outside the district. That line item in the budget should have everyone's attention. The schools may not be able to provide the necessary services for every special needs student in the district but just reducing the cost to 2014-2015 levels would save more than $1 million."
– Policy, Not Politics
"Unfortunately, we have seen politics get in the way of sound policy over the past 18 months or so," Rosa said. "Political payback resulted in the school committee rejecting two solar panel projects that by some estimates would have saved taxpayers $10 million over the life of the agreement and provided a new roof on the high school."