The following letter to the editor was submitted by a group of Andover residents in anticipation of Thursday’s sc hool committee budget hearing. The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Andover News. You can learn more about our policy on opinion and commentary on our Mission and Policies page.

Andover Public Schools (APS) is facing a budget deficit beginning in FY25 and extending at least through FY29. We submit the following proposal to move forward in a fiscally responsible way that voters and the APS community will support.

We do not require additional tax increases to solve APS’s multi-year budget deficit.
By almost any measure, APS has enough funding to offer an excellent and competitive education.

We can solve our deficits and put APS on a more sustainable path without impacting academic performance IF AND ONLY IF:

  1. We use intelligent and innovative methods to achieve our desired outcomes.
  2. Full details on proposed changes and their impacts are provided to the School Committee and community prior to the budget being finalized (eg ref: Amesbury, Needham, Newton, Westford).
  3. Open dialogue exists between all key stakeholder constituencies.

So, let’s undo the staffing changes contemplated for FY25 and use the time we have until the FY26 Town Meeting to develop and gain support for a plan that is sustainable over the long term.  Our vision: 

  1. FY25:
    1. Establish an APS Stabilization Fund and fund it with a one-time appropriation of $1.875M from free cash. This is in line with how other local districts are addressing their deficits (see Newton, for example).
    2. Immediately thereafter, use the APS Stabilization Fund to fund the recall of all laid off educators and undo the involuntary transfers and grade assignment changes. This is expected to cost less than $1.875M and remaining funds will be retained for use in future years.
  2. FY26+:
    1. Convene a special advisory committee, composed of key stakeholder constituencies and charged with developing and presenting to the School Committee at least two long-term resource/budget roadmap guidelines (FY26-FY30). The roadmap should articulate the shared priorities, values and goals for APS, as represented by the committee members and community input, and be presented in time for the FY26 budget deliberations.
      As part of its work, this committee should conduct studies including::
      1. Optimal class sizes of high performing schools.
      2. How other school districts facing similar challenges are handling them.
    2. Advise the School Committee on APS’s FY26 budget proposal as it relates to the roadmap in preparation for the Town Meeting, as well as in future years.
  3. Other Considerations:
    1. Over the next several years, to the extent staffing reductions are necessary, prioritize less impactful reduction through natural attrition.
      1. The APS Stabilization Fund may be used to finance deficits and incentives as required to address shortfalls in attrition if one arises in a given year.
      2. This approach reduces involuntary reductions but may require some involuntary transfers of educators.
    2. Ideally, the School Committee will engage the community regularly in a review of the roadmap and Stabilization Fund, modify as needed to address new developments and incorporate it into that year’s budget article at Town Meeting.


Amy Blanchette, Elm St

Mike Blanchette, Elm St

Lisa Pizzi, Ruggiero Way

Elyse Salberg, Chandler Rd

Chris Shepley, High St

Amy Hafensteiner, Kirkland Dr

Shawna Fox, Ferndale Ave

Jake Tamarkin, Forbes Ln

Krystal Solimine, Surrey Ln 

Robert Farese, Cassimere St

Sarah Sundman-Farese, Cassimere St

Geneva Crowley, Cormiers Way

Heidi Knepper, Yardley Road

David Matson, Rattlesnake Hill Rd

Laura Putnam, Newport Circle

Mike Putnam, Newport Circle

Kelly Durant, Alonesos Way

Hillary Monroe Mamis, Blackberry Lane

Don Mamis, Blackberry Lane

Ann Johnson, Salem Street

Tara Bodine, Beacon Street

Warren Bodine, Beacon Street

Melissa Hyde, Argilla Rd. 

Andover News accepts and encourage reader submissions, including letters to the editor and opinion columns. Submissions should be 750 words long or fewer and Andover-focused. Please include your name, title if applicable to your topic and connection or interest in Andover. We also need a phone number so we can confirm authorship. Send us your prose! 

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