Some Andover Public Schools’ families will take less of a hit in the wallet during the 2023-24 school year after the school committee approved cutting several fees Thursday.

The school committee unanimously

  • A 50 percent cut in transportation fees for student in grades 7-12 to $200 from $300. It’s the second straight year the school committee cut transportation fees.
  • Elimination of the middle and high school transcript fees.
  • Elimination of the class materials fee for high school students who take ceramics and photography classes.

Next year could see an even bigger cut: new School Committee Chair Tracey Spruce said the district hopes to completely eliminate bus fees for the 2024-25 school year.

“It’s worth noting other communities still charge bus fees, so we are not an outlier here,” Spruce said. “So I’m really pleased to see Andover taking the lead to eliminate bus fees.”

The fee cuts for 2023-24 were made possible when Gov. Maura Healey released her draft budget, which included more state aid for Andover Public Schools than originally anticipated, Spruce said.

The reductions are part of a multi-year effort by the district to recalibrate its budget to eliminate or reduce certain fees. The process started in 2017, when the school committee reduced tuition for full-day kindergarten, a precursor to the elimination of kindergarten tuition in 2020-21.

This year’s cuts were not as deep as fee reductions in previous years. Last year, the district built $43,000 into its budget to removed middle school activity fees and approved a 50 percent reduction, from $300 to $200, for students in grades 7-12 who take the bus. The district also moved $200,000 for sports and the arts to cut costs for a range of extracurricular activities at Andover High School.

“The goal of that was reduce the burden families voluntarily took on by participating in booster organizations,” Spruce said Thursday. The district’s current activity fee for student athletes is $450 per academic year, with a cap of $900 per family.

Photo: Screenshot/Andover TV

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