The Andover School Committee’s contract with the union representing teachers and instructional assistants will allow the district to stay in line with principles in the Town’s long range financial plan, which caps annual increases to the school budget at 3.75 percent.
“We are happy that the school committee and the Andover Educator’s Association reached an agreement that ended the strike. We are thankful that the School Committee held steadfast in their commitment to the agreed upon parameters and principles of Andover’s Long Range Financial Plan,” the Andover Finance Committee said in a statement Thursday. “As the school committee works through their budget process for FY25 we know there will be difficult decisions that need to be made.”
The statement also explained why Andover could not simply move free cash from the Town’s side of the ledger to supplement the school system’s budget. Doing so, FinCom said, goes against Massachusetts Department of Revenue guidelines and the local long-range financial plan. “The reason is that using one-time money for operations is fiscally irresponsible and could impact Andover’s financial health,” the statement said.
That means the school committee will have to trim fat from the Andover Public Schools budget over the course of the next several months leading up to annual town meeting in May. Some of those difficult decisions, as the school committee has already said, will include layoffs, program cuts, and the re-implementation of user fees the district has been systematically eliminating in recent years.