Haverhill schools accept rent increase in former city building now used for maintenance staff

Haverhill Schools will continue to lease public property for use by its facilities department, albeit with a slight increase in monthly rent.

The building at 60 Brown St. is owned by the Haverhill Housing Authority, which gave the school system a five-year lease on the property for a $1 a year. The lease expired last month, and Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling said the authority agreed to let them stay until another arrangement can be made.

“The Housing Authority has given us an opportunity to continue to rent the building as a tenant-at-will. They have requested a payment of $1,500 per month. For those square metres, we haven’t been able to find anything in that price range,” he told the School Committee on Thursday evening.

A little surprised by the size of the increase, committee member Richard J. Rosa asked if a longer-term agreement at a lower rate is a possibility. Superintendent of Schools Margaret Marotta said the problem is that the Housing Authority wants the property for its own purposes.

“The Haverhill Housing Authority expects to take the property back at some point in the future. They’re giving us some time to find another location. They expect us to leave,” she said.

The property, which houses specialty maintenance staff and equipment, is adjacent to the housing authority’s Kennedy Circle housing development and was previously owned by the city. Committee members approved the new lease by a 6-0 vote with Mayor James J. Fiorentini absent.

In a separate matter, the school committee approved a donation from the estate of Sheila Anne Jameson, a former art teacher at Silver Hill School.

Jameson’s family made three donations in memory of the much-loved teacher who died last February. The assistant superintendent said Jameson left specific instructions for the distribution of these gifts.

“The first is a $2,800 donation to Silver Hill School to be used by the teachers to add to their classroom experience as they see the best way to do it,” he said.

The estate also awarded a $3,000 donation to the parent teacher organization and a separate $2,000 donation, also to the PTO, to be used for its Winter Fundraiser.

Pfifferling said as everyone approaches Thanksgiving, they should include “thanks to our educators” who give even after they are no longer with us.

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