Success in the preliminary election

I want to thank the voters of Ward 7 who turned out for me in the September 12 preliminary election. I made a serious effort to reach out to the voters and I appreciate your support.

Nearly all the voters I met support strong public schools in Haverhill. They recognize that strong schools are needed to make a strong community. I am known in Haverhill as an advocate for strong well-managed school budgets. I  found many voter who see the need for the kind of professional experience with large public budgets that I would bring to the School Committee.

I am looking forward to the November election. I hope Haverhill voters will support me and other candidates who will move our city forward. Thank you.

Tom Grannemann



Strong Haverhill Schools

I have been using the phrase “Strong Haverhill Schools” as a tagline for my vision of Haverhill Public Schools.  Here’s what that phrase means to me.

Haverhill students will step into a positive learning environment with capable teachers, manageable class-sizes, and well-maintained buildings.  With this support, they will become proficient in reading and basic math skills in elementary school. They will broaden their knowledge of the world in middle school with science, history, and civics. In high school they will learn critical thinking skills needed for life, career, and citizenship.

Teachers and staff will experience Haverhill schools as a good place to work. Their pay will be competitive with levels in nearby communities, and they will be confident they can build a good career in Haverhill Public Schools. Teachers will be well-supported in the classroom and have time for professional development.

Our Haverhill community will be strengthened as a good place to live, work, and do business. Haverhill Public Schools will help young people to become productive citizens, providing a good life for their own families and enhancing the life of our wider community.

Haverhill School Committee has a special role in ensuring that we have “Strong Haverhill Schools”—namely, to establish a coherent framework of policies and priorities, well-rooted in evidence of what works best for students, and to articulate the budget implications of those priorities.

Responsibility for school budgets is shared with Mayor and Council.  The job of School Committee is to advocate with the Mayor and Council for a budget that can get the job done, then to oversee implementation, monitor progress, and work with the superintendent to make adjustments as needed.  The School Committee must also work effectively with the Superintendent, supporting good management and collaborating to solve problems.

Like other Massachusetts Gateway Cities, Haverhill faces many challenges.  We need to build on our strengths. We have a capable school administration; we employ many dedicated teachers and staff; and Haverhill receives significant state funding. If we use our resources wisely, we can strengthen our schools and see real improvements. We can realistically aspire to have schools that exceed state benchmarks for student growth in many areas and that are perceived as among the best in the Gateway Cities. However, achieving this goal will require Haverhill voters and City leaders to make “Strong Haverhill Schools” a top priority.

Voting in Ward 7 – 2023 Preliminary Election

September 12, 2023 is the date for Haverhill’s preliminary election. The polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM. We will see five candidates for Mayor and in Ward 7 three candidates for School Committee. The last day to register for the preliminary election is Friday September 1st.

Ward 7 polling locations are:

  • Ward 7 Precinct 1: Presidential Gardens Community Room (140 Evergreen Dr.)
  • Ward 7 Precinct 2 Hunking School (480 South Main St.)
  • Ward 7 Precinct 2A Julian Steele Community Room (772 Washington St.)
  • Ward 7 Precinct 3 Bradford Elementary (118 Montvale St)
  • Ward 7 Precinct 3A Bradford Elementary (118 Montvale St)

You can find your voting location on the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website Where Do I Vote page.

Early voting is available Tuesday September 5 to Friday September 8th at the old RMV space in the basement level of City Hall (8 AM to 4 PM on Tuesday and Friday and 8 AM to 8 PM on Wednesday and Thursday).

The last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot is Tuesday September 5.

The City Clerk has posted sample ballots for the preliminary election.

This is a particularly important election for Haverhill, and for Ward 7 representation on School Committee. Thank you for voting and for encouraging your family and friends to vote.

Progress on Chronic Absenteeism

This blog post was written in 2019, prior to the pandemic disruptions that led to a new round of increased absenteeism. However, it does show how Haverhill can make progress in addressing school issues with strong school leadership and community support.

From 2019:

Chronic absenteeism is falling in Haverhill Public Schools, and it is falling faster than in other districts. The evidence is just in for the 2018-19 school year. On September 12, 2019 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) posted attendance data for Massachusetts school districts. Twelve of seventeen Haverhill schools showed reductions in the percent of students absent 10% or more of school days in 2018-19 compared to the previous school year. Haverhill showed improvement on all five DESE attendance measures, even after adjusting for the inclusion of Silver Hill school in the district for 2018-19. Haverhill showed a larger reduction in chronic absences than the average of benchmark districts and than the state average. Moreover the reductions appeared across all types of students (all, economically disadvantaged, English learner, high needs, students with disabilities), and across all racial ethnic groups (except Asian when had the lowest chronic absence rate).

Overall, the results show improvement toward but not yet to benchmark levels. This progress is no accident. In the past year the district made a concerted effort to reduce chronic absences. Work included broad efforts, such as the Attendance Matters “School Every Day” campaign, as well as more targeted efforts at the school level. Community groups such as the Haverhill Education Coalition and Haverhill Promise are continuing to focus attention on attendance as a key to reading at grade level and academic success. This is an area where Haverhill can continue to make progress to meet and even beat benchmark levels for attendance.  Such progress will require continued efforts by the school district, engagement of student families, and community support.