Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

August 16, 2012

Town leaders found way to get $600K quickly to schools

Editor, Townsman:

On July 8, Gov. Deval Patrick signed the FY13 budget, which includes an increase of $608,000 in the amount of Chapter 70 Education Aid that was originally expected for Andover. This new revenue cannot be spent by the school department unless a Special Town Meeting is first called to appropriate the funds into the FY13 school budget, a process which would not be complete until, at the earliest, late September or early October.

Waiting for that process to unfold would mean the funds would not be available for use at the beginning of this school year.

Recognizing the need to move swiftly so that these funds can have the maximum impact on the upcoming school year, the chairmen and chairwomen of the School Committee, Board of Selectmen, and Finance Committee recently supported the decision to make $608,000 in unexpended funds from FY12 available to the School Department for immediate use. These unexpended FY12 funds--which would ordinarily roll into free cash--have instead been transferred for immediate school use in FY13.

The superintendent of schools and her leadership team are currently identifying how this additional funding will be used, and will keep the School Committee and community apprised of what investments are made. Meanwhile, we thank our state legislative team for successfully advocating for this much-needed increase in education funding, and we thank the chairs for working quickly and collaboratively to ensure that the monies can be used as soon as possible.

Paula Colby-Clements

Dennis Forgue

Annie Gilbert

David Birnbach

Richard Collins

Andover School Committee

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