By Peyton Benbow
Classes have been canceled in Andover Public Schools for three days since the Andover Education Association voted to strike on Thursday night.
In Massachusetts, it is illegal for employees of the public sector to go on strike. On Monday, an Essex Superior Court judge ruled that the teachers’ union must end the strike or face additive fines. They were fined $50,000 on Monday after not ending the strike by 6 p.m., and if it did not end by 3 p.m. Tuesday, they would be fined an additional $60,000. Then, they would be fined $10,000 for any continuing days of the strike.
The Andover Education Association held a press conference in front of the State House Tuesday afternoon to rally support for their union from elected officials. They are seeking raised pay for instructional assistants. The AEA wrote on Facebook that they are asking for “fair raises for teachers; protections for educator prep time; longer lunch and recess periods for the youngest learners; access to paid family and medical leave; and greater educator voice in curriculum decisions”.
The school committee has released a statement indicating that they cannot fully meet the union’s demands. In their statement on Sunday, the Andover School Committee stated: “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”.
Student services and programs will be offered by the town throughout the day, and meals will be served at Bancroft Elementary School for breakfast and lunch. Extracurricular activities will resume in Andover with athletics coaches and the theater director.