Schools closed in Andover on Friday as teachers go on strike

Students in Andover won’t be standing at the bus stop on Friday morning as teachers are set to hit the picket line.

Teachers in Andover voted Thursday afternoon to go on strike ‘effective immediately. This decision comes after more than nine months of bargaining with the school committee for a new contract, the Andover Education Association said.

“We have reached a breaking point where we will no longer tolerate the School Committee’s disrespect for us and disregard for our proposals,” the education association said.

Andover School Committee Chair Tracey Spruce said the school committee filed a petition with the Department of Labor Relations seeking to prevent the AEA from engaging in an illegal strike.

“It is vitally important to the School Committee to avoid any disruption that negatively impacts our students,” said Spruce.

The Andover Education Association (AEA) in its statement said it is seeking to raise pay for instructional aides and teachers. The education association said it is also seeking protections for educator preparation time, longer lunch and recess periods for young students, access to paid family and medical leave, “and greater educator voice in curriculum decisions.”

“The town can easily afford the financial proposals we have put on the table,” the association added. “The dynamics of bargaining, however, have made clear that the School Committee would rather exert its perceived power over educators and our union than settle a fair contract in a timely manner.”

Andover educators are planning to rally at 12 p.m. Friday on the Town Common at Chestnut Street.

“Hopefully they’ll resolve it quick and everybody can back to business but definitely I stand with the teachers on this one,” said Rebecca Bernardin, an Andover parent.

Andover Schools will be closed through the duration of the teacher strike, according to Spruce.

“It could be a couple days it could be a couple weeks we don’t know,” said Donna Ballou, an Andover parent.

Ballou and other Andover parents got reverse robocalls and emails letting them know that although school is canceled Friday, athletics will be continuing for now.

“I know my kiddos are talking about it they’re like we don’t have school because the teachers are on strike, it’s a great opportunity for us to have that talk about what that means,” said Joda Glossner, an Andover parent.

While schools across the district will be closed on Friday officials will make boxed breakfasts and lunches available for pickup at Bancroft Elementary between 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The Andover Education Association and the school committee will be back at the bargaining table at 2 p.m.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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