The state budget passed by the legislature Monday includes $2.07 million in local funding for Andover, up 5.6 percent from $1.96 million in the fiscal year ended June 30. The new budget increases the pool of unrestricted state aid for municipalities to $1.23 billion, up 5.4 percent from $1.17 billion last year.
The budget for the year ending June 30, 2023 also includes $12.17 million in Chapter 70 funding for Andover Public Schools, up 2.8 percent from $11.84 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget. Statewide, the budget raises school funding 9 percent.
The new budget also includes about $115 million to preserve universal free school meals for school children across the state. “A huge win that provides economic relief for public school parents, removal of social stigma, and most importantly, less hungry kids and better academic outcomes! So hyped and grateful,” Rep. Andy Vargas (D-Haverhill), who had championed extending the free school meals program, said in a Twitter post.
The budget also includes the following earmarks for Andover:
- $10,000 to restore the wheels on a World War I cannon.
- $30,000 for memorial placards honoring Andover residents who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.
- $50,000 for structural repairs and mold abatement at the Andover Baptist Church.
- $50,000 to expand Groundwork Lawrence, which fights food insecurity in Lawrence, Methuen, Haverhill, North Andover and Andover.
- $35,000 for the design, construction and other costs of updating the Andover Old Town Hall area and vicinity into a market space for small businesses or a similar community space.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has 10 days to sign the $52.7 billion state spending plan, which unanimously passed in both the state Senate and House of Representatives. The new budget represents a 10.5 percent increase from last year’s $47.6 billion budget.