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The school budget for FY25 is $103,335,959. The Committee and Superintendent work with the Town Manager and Select Board to develop district budgets within the long-range financial planning models for the town and school department. The long-range annual planning model provides for an annual increase of 3.75% to the APS budget. The school department budget represents the largest portion of the overall town budget, other town departments receive 2.75% increase.
The district’s FY25 budget is more challenging than recent years. Overall inflation has created increased costs for services, including student transportation, utilities, and tuition for out-of-district students. The cost of collective bargaining agreements settled in recent months beyond what the district budgeted is also a significant factor. These factors combined create a $2.7 million deficit in the school department budget. The school budget for FY25 is $103,335,959.
Since the superintendent’s arrival in the district, we have worked hard to reduce or eliminate fees that impact our families. In the FY23 budget, the district was able to reduce the transportation fees for students grade 7-12 and eliminate the middle school extracurricular fees.
The town and district’s long-range financial planning model is a set of guiding principles and assumptions that provides for predictability and sustainability of municipal and school department operations. Under the planning model, town budgets are forecasted to grow by 2.75% annually, while the school budget is forecasted to increase at 3.75%. In addition to these revenue assumptions, future expenses are modeled and forecasted. Over the course of the last 8 years, all boards and committees have had a commitment to this long-range financial modeling to lead to consistency of operations town wide.
Yes. During negotiations, the Andover School Committee was transparent with the Andover Education Association (AEA) and the community about the reductions that would be needed if we agreed to the union’s demands. The AEA is aware, and has been all along, of the impact of the agreements and the need to reduce staffing. When the School Committee and the Town Manager explained the financial realities, the AEA acknowledged and confirmed their understanding.
Some of the findings and recommendations in this review include:
“Between 2016 and 2021, overall student enrollment decreased by 10 percent (from 6,075 to 5,456)...teacher retention has been similar to the state rate (91.8 percent in 2021, which is greater than the state rate of 88.4 percent). The number of instructional staff has increased in the past five years (from 470 total teachers in 2017-2018 to 484 teachers in 2020-2021), even though student enrollment has decreased.” 1
“Interviewees said that coherence and consistency in taught curricula were a challenge. Specifically, the absence of documented curricula and staff to fill vacant curriculum director roles at the district level are hindering the district’s ability to improve. For example, one teacher stated, “No one is driving the curriculum” and “I feel there is no unity” in subject area teaching across the district.” 2
“One area that was clearly identified for improvement was the use of data to drive decisions about the budget. Resource allocation is an area of growth for the district because of limited evidence—based on a review of documents, interviews, and focus groups—that the district’s approach to resource allocation purposefully addresses equity or effectiveness in closing achievement, access, and opportunity gaps among student groups.” 3
“ The district plans to review some key components of the curriculum to address a need cited by school and district staff: ensuring that a standards- aligned, grade-level curriculum and instruction are consistently available districtwide.” 4