published : 2023-11-13

Northern Massachusetts District's Schools Closed as Teacher Strike Enters Fourth Day

Andover, MA, Teachers Fail to Reach Collective Bargaining Agreement

An image of teachers picketing outside Northern Massachusetts district's schools during the ongoing strike, captured with a Nikon D850.

Andover Public Schools remained closed on Monday as hundreds of teachers continued their strike, now entering its fourth day. The strike follows the failure of the Andover School Committee and the Andover Education Association, which represents teachers, to agree on a new contract during bargaining sessions over the weekend.

Since the Thursday night vote by the Andover Education Association to go on strike, classes for approximately 5,500 students in prekindergarten through 12th grade have been canceled.

In an attempt to reach a resolution, the parties were scheduled to resume negotiations on Monday.

A group of students gathering together in a show of support for their striking teachers in Andover, MA, taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV.

The main point of contention revolves around the union's proposal for an 18% raise over four years for all teachers. However, the school committee states that such an agreement would require the town to override Proposition 2½ at a townwide election, allowing for increased tax revenue. Proposition 2½ currently limits the amount of property tax revenue Andover can raise through real and personal property taxes.

The school committee, while acknowledging the desire for teachers and staff to return to the classroom, believes that approving a contract that significantly ties the hands of the district and the town for years to come would be irresponsible.

Conversely, the union asserts that the school committee showed no effort in reopening schools and failed to address their crucial objectives, including raising instructional assistants' wages above poverty level and providing fair raises for teachers.

A close-up shot of a negotiation meeting between the Andover School Committee and the Andover Education Association, photographed with a Sony A7R III.

As the strike situation unfolds, the district remains at a standstill, leaving students, parents, and educators eagerly anticipating a resolution.