November 12, 2023 – 6:00 PM
Statement of the Andover School Committee
The Andover School Committee wishes to provide the following update to the community related to negotiations with the Andover Education Association (AEA).
We recognize the current situation creates uncertainty and stress for our community and we are deeply concerned about the impact the AEA’s strike is having on students and families. Throughout these negotiations, we have been focused on ensuring Andover Public Schools can preserve the high-quality education and services our students expect and deserve.
As we shared with the community earlier today, after a 14-hour negotiation session yesterday the School Committee offered the following:
- For teachers and other Unit A members, a cost-of-living adjustment for all teachers of 14% over four years or 3.5% per year.
- For all instructional assistants (IAs), a cost-of-living adjustment of 23.4% over four years, equating to cost of living adjustments of 5% per year, market adjustments, step eliminations, and a 2% differential for hard-to-fill IA positions.
When we resumed bargaining with the state-appointed mediator today, the AEA presented the following counter-proposal on wages:
- For teachers and other Unit A members, 18% over four years or 4.5% per year.
- For IAs, 34% over four years or 8.5% per year.
If the School Committee accepted these wage proposals, our budget would be unsustainable and would result in layoffs. Accepting the AEA’s latest offer will have a meaningful negative impact on other parts of the school budget. For example, the School Committee would need to consider:
- Reinstating fees the School Committee has decreased or eliminated, such as bus fees for grades 7-12 and fees for after-school activities.
- Reductions in athletics, fine arts, and other extracurricular programs.
- Changes to elementary and/or middle school music programming.
- Changes in staffing levels that could increase class sizes.
This evening, the School Committee presented modest increases to its last offers. Although we would prefer to be in a position to offer more, we cannot ignore the reality of the severe budget implications of any additional increases.
We remain committed to reaching an agreement that returns students to classrooms on Monday morning but, at this point we are concerned that will not happen. We will make the final call at 8:00 p.m. The School Committee remains steadfast in its efforts to reach a fair and equitable contract that enables us to maintain services to students and families as close to their current level as possible.