November 17, 2023
Dear APS families,
Today ends one of the more challenging weeks in the history of Andover Public Schools. We want to close it with a note of appreciation and optimism as we move forward together, as a school community and as a town.
First, thank you, to our students, families, and community members, for your patience as we worked to reach an agreement with our educators and assistants. No one wanted to face a strike by our educators, and we recognize the challenges it brought to our community.
Now that negotiations with these two unions are behind us, we are committed to moving forward together. We know that no matter what we face as a community, we can address it if we work together in the best interests of our students and their education. Each Committee member, as with all our families and students, respects and supports the work our teachers do in the classroom every day and know the primary value they bring to our shared commitment to an excellent education for every learner.
Now is the time for healing and looking forward. We, as a Committee, have our sights set ahead. We know this has been a challenge; we know there is also much to celebrate already this school year, we saw it clearly in the happy faces of students as they returned to school on Wednesday.
Last night, the School Committee met to approve several Memorandums of Agreement, which provide the details about the agreements reached with the AEA. Some key points of the agreements include:
- Contractual increases for teachers by 15.5% and 34% for instructional assistants over four years.
- Eight weeks of fully paid parental leave and the option to use an additional four weeks of accrued sick time, bringing the total amount of fully paid parental leave to 12 weeks.
- The ability to use up to 60 days of accrued, paid sick leave when taking FMLA leave to care for a seriously ill family member.
- Increases to elementary teacher planning time, continuing to make Andover well ahead of other districts for planning time and brings the added benefit of extended recess time for students.
We encourage all of you to remain engaged in the issues that are important to our district and ask that you attend our monthly informal forums, where you can learn more about the agreement and the work of the School Committee.
As many of us said last night in our meeting, we want to thank all of those who supported our work on behalf of the town and district during the negotiations and, in particular, during the teacher strike. We particularly want to thank Dr. Magda Parvey and the school administration; their knowledge and support was vital throughout our negotiations. Any employee in our district, whether they are in the classroom, supporting services or serving in an administrative role, plays a crucial part in educating our students.
We also want to thank Town Manager Andrew Flanagan and his team, along with the members of the Finance Committee, which issued a letter to the community about the final contract earlier this week. The Finance Committee acknowledges the difficult work the district is now facing, given its commitment to the long-range financial planning of the town and district to ensure Andover’s fiscal health.
Last, we want to thank all those who supported our work through day, night, weekend, and holiday deliberations, including the town and school custodians, APS food service workers and members of the Andover Police Department. This resolution wouldn’t have been possible without any of your hard work, and we are grateful.
Again, thank you for your patience during this time, and we look forward to getting back to the work that is so critical to strengthening the instructional practices that we know students need to belong, strive, and thrive.
The Andover School Committee
Tracey Spruce, Chair
Lauren Conoscenti, Vice Chair
Susan K. McCready