There’s a little bit more than $14 million in school aid and $2.1 million in unrestricted government aid for Andover in the state budget awaiting Gov. Maura Healey’s signature.
The Commonwealth’s $56.2 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1 includes an economic bill that gives Andover $100,000 for sidewalk and pedestrian improvements, $25,000 for upgrades to the high school gym and weight room, $50,000 for improvements at the park next to Town Offices, and $25,000 for structural repairs and HVAC work at the Andover Baptist Church.
Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said the money for pedestrian safety improvements will be used for the Town’s Sidewalk Master Plan and to offset implementing improvements recommended in the MassDOT safety audit of Elm Square. Officials will present a draft of the audit at the next Elm Square Safety Forum on Monday. The select board will review the sidewalk plan on Aug. 15.
Last year, Andover received $175,000 in earmarks, including $50,000 for structural repairs and mold abatement at the Baptist Church and $35,000 for improvements at Old Town Hall. The $175,000 included $50,000 to expand Groundwork Lawrence, which fights food insecurity in Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill, North Andover and Andover.
Chapter 70 funding for Andover Public Schools jumped 7.5 percent from the $12.2 million the district received last year. The $2.1 in unrestricted government aid was up 3 percent from last year, according to Flanagan.
This year’s budget also includes an amendment allowing Andover and other communities to exempt borrowing for school construction projects from a state-mandated debt cap. The amendment comes as the Andover High School Building Committee looks for ways to trim the costs of and find ways to pay for a proposed new school that had a preliminary price tag of $480.9 million.
Healey has 8 more days to review the budget passed Monday. She can veto specific items or sections, or return certain sections with amendments.
Photo: Dave Copeland/Andover News