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Andover: $3.6 million sought for school renovations


Saturday, March 04, 2017

Hot topic: The school board is pitching a $3.6 million renovation to the elementary/middle school building to address space, safety, and systems issues. Right now, the building doesn’t have an ADA-accessible front entrance, isn’t entirely covered by sprinklers, and doesn’t have secure doors to close off parts of the building when public events like voting are taking place. It’s also overcrowded, according to Superintendent Mark MacLean – many classrooms are undersized by state standards and specialized services take place in inappropriate settings. For example, reading support groups are occurring in hallways and occupational therapy is sometimes given in the lobby of the gymnasium.

At current interest rates, the district estimates that the project would add, on average, $1.15 per $1,000 assessed property value to the tax rate every year, which is about $230 for a $200,000 home.

Budget: The proposed operating budget is $4.98 million, up $79,218 from last year.

If approved, the tax rate will go up an estimated 30 cents per $1,000 assessed property value, which is about $60 on a $200,000 home. The collective bargaining agreement that is proposed would add another estimated 6 cents per $1,000 assessed property value to the tax rate, or $12 on the tax rate.

Noteworthy articles: A petitioned warrant article suggests holding off on the renovations and instead engaging in a feasibility study to see if it would be a good idea to tuition students in sixth through eighth grades to Merrimack Valley Middle School. The article would appropriate $5,000 to the study.

Contested races: None

When and where: The school district’s annual meeting will be held March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Andover Elementary/Middle School located at 20 School Street. Ballot voting will be March 14 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., also at the school.

Lola Duffort