To the editor:

The Andover Townsman editorial of 10/7/21 was quite detached from reality, as it bemoaned the ‘raucous’ Andover Select Board meeting of 8/16/21 and compared it to a Beverly School Committee meeting where attendees shouted racist language at the committee members. Only in the Andover case, it is the Andover Select Board cutting off the Black man giving public input, and it is the Select Board and Town Manager covering up for racist town employee behavior.

What was your point?

Maybe providing a venue for real public input at Select Board meetings would help with your ‘social capital’ concerns?

Perhaps letting the residents be heard and even listened to could help?

Unfortunately anything more than an hour per month of public input is too much input for our current Andover Select Board.

I attended the Select Board meeting that the Andover Townsman editorialized on, and I came away impressed with how prepared and engaged the attendees were; they spoke from written notes and some had handouts. The Select Board appeared to ‘endure’ public input rather than listening and engaging with it. Meanwhile the Town Manager chatted with a lawyer and checked the clock. While Andover residents stood in line to provide input to the Select Board, they were cut off after 30 minutes, as the Select Board arbitrarily decided that was enough. 30 minutes per meeting means about 12 hours per year, such a heavy burden for the Select Board.

Perhaps they should run for a less public facing office next time.

Steve Walther

Andover

Enrollment doesn’t justify costs

To the editor:

The Townsman article “Local school enrollment drops” surely puts to rest any pretense that our schools can justify a need to squeeze ever more money out of our beleaguered taxpayers.

Especially this year, when we are hit with immense bond debts to remedy our government’s past mismanagement and mis-planning, we might have expected some civic responsibility within the “regular” budgeting, instead of the school establishment’s remorseless money grab for dubious staffing (remember our ridiculous former superintendent?) and salary increases that have been far in excess of inflation.

The result is that this year’s “regular” budget bloat, not counting the massive debt bonds, amounts to 3.7% — which shows that in our town Proposition 2.5 is but a pipe dream.

Surely Andoverites are fair-minded enough to want to reward a job well done, but the school establishment’s performance has been quite the opposite despite ever-burgeoning budgets, as our schools’ ranking has plunged from its position 25 years ago at or near the top ten, while our demographic peer communities with lower per-pupil expenditures, such as Acton and Westford, have maintained their rankings quite well.

Paul Lapsa,

Wild Rose Drive, Andover

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