Judge slaps striking Andover teachers with $50,000 fine; Schools closed again Tuesday – US 247 News


ANDOVER – The teachers union in Andover is facing hefty ends for every day teachers stay off the job. In Massachusetts, it’s against the law for educators to strike.

Salem Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Karp slapped the Andover Education Association with a $50,000 fine Monday for violating a court order to end the strike. That fine goes up another $10,000 each additional day.

Schools in Andover will be closed again on Tuesday, November 14. It will be the third day the approximately 5,600 students in the district will miss classes.

“The law is the law,” said Karp. “The state legislature wrote a law, and if there’s an issue that the union has with the law, they should take it up with the state legislature, not just thumb their nose at a court order, right?”

Students missed classes Monday as teachers gathered downtown with signs and bullhorns. At the very same time in an empty classroom, members of the school committee they’re negotiating with said they cannot afford the amount teachers are asking for.

“Then we’re looking at larger class sizes, we’re going to be looking at restoring fees that we’ve worked really hard to cut for families, like bus fees, after-school services fees,” said board chair Tracey Spruce.

“That’s something that we just don’t accept,” said Andover High School teacher Brian Shea. “We know that they’re paying out a lot of money to law firms. We know that they’re paying out a lot of money to PR firms. We can see the financials in the town, and we do know there’s money.”

Pay for instructional aides is a sticking point. Haley Abernathy says she doesn’t earn a livable salary. “Absolutely not. I have three jobs, and I still struggle to pay my rent, make sure that I can eat, put gas in my car,” she said.