A 15 percent increase in busing services is one of the main drivers in a $2.7 million budget gap that is forcing Andover Public Schools to consider eliminating up to 34 full-time positions.

Earlier this week, the Andover Education Association, the union representing teachers and instructional assistants, drew attention in a Facebook post to a $20.1 million line item in the proposed budget for “unclassified expenses.”

Those expenses, according to APS, include a 15%, or $942,927, increase in transportation expenses, according to page 5 of a recent budget presentation to the school committee. The district expects to spend more than $6 million for busing the current year, according to the school committee’s fiscal year 2024 budget book.

The transportation increases are not unique to Andover. Massachusetts school districts have seen costs escalate rapidly as transportation companies wrestle with staffing shortages since students returned to school full-time in 2021-22 after the pandemic.

In addition to the potential staffing cuts, the school committee is considering non-salary spending cuts of about two percent.

“Our goal as an administration is to really try to maintain reasonable class sizes and to be more in the middle range for the intermediate grades in the middle range of the school committee policy,” Superintendent Magda Parvey told the school committee at a packed meeting last month. “And when we look at our younger grades…[we’re] really looking to stay at the lower end as much as possible if it is feasible based on the work that we need to do.”

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