EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 7, 2013

Schools exceeded town manager budget allocation



The district’s growing need for expanding its special education resources frequently came up at the meeting, with some alarmed by how fast it has increased in cost.

Over the last five years, the town has spent less money on out-of-district costs, brought on by students who must get their education outside of the school system due to special needs, according to School Committee member Dennis Forgue.

But overall, special education costs have still skyrocketed when compared to other towns in the state, according to Finance Committee Chairman Jon Stumpf.

From 2002 to 2011, such costs in Andover went up 8.1 percent, when the state-wide average rose 2.4 percent, Stumpf said. That reflects a 350 percent increase over the state average.

”One of the things we also have to remember is people choose to move to Andover,” School Committee member Annie Gilbert said. “They might choose to move to Andover, and I’m certain they do, because we have outstanding Special Ed programming.”

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