Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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March 21, 2013

A Better Chance Andover, Part II: Town rallies support

(Continued)

The board’s next task was to get School Committee acceptance of 10 out-of-town students to the new high school, due to open in September 1967. Headlines in the Townsman, Eagle Tribune and the Boston Herald reveal the issues and anxieties surrounding the approval. The proposal was brought to the February 1967 meeting of the School Committee.

Perhaps fearful that the Town Meeting would not accept the program, two School Committee members who were strong supporters argued that the board should exercise its legal right and approve acceptance of the program’s ten out-of-town students. Chairman Louis Galbiati advised that ABC’s ultimate success in Andover depended on acceptance by the townspeople. He was joined by two other members of the committee who together voted to not consider the motion, and to recommend that it be brought to Town Meeting for approval.

Although a disappointment to many supporters, this may have been a very wise decision. Dr. Galbiati obtained consent of the school board to present its recommendation in Town Meeting that the town accept the program. Articles appeared in the Boston papers heralding Andover’s opportunity to set an example to other Massachusetts towns in accepting a program that was an effective way to address racism. The ABC Board and Advisors pulled out all stops to promote the program townwide.

Town Meeting Vote

Town Meeting met on Saturday, March 11, 1967. Attendance during the morning session when the money articles were discussed was 530. Attendance increased significantly by the time the ABC article came to the floor in the afternoon. The town attorney explained that the article was for opinion only, that the authority to approve the added students rested with the School Committee. Galbiati told the meeting that the School Committee was unanimous in support of the program and explained the board’s belief in the importance of the town having the opportunity to express its feeling. The teachers association supported the program. The town manager spoke in support. Many prominent individuals and former town officials spoke in support

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