Skip To Main Content

A Message from the North Andover School Committee

A Message from the North Andover School Committee

Dear North Andover Public Schools Families,

We are writing to you today to update you on the status of the recently discovered North Andover Public Schools budget deficit for the FY’24 budget, as well as the impact of that on the planned FY’25 budget that will be voted upon at Town Meeting in a couple of weeks.   Most importantly, we want to assure you that as a School Committee, we are working diligently and directly to address these problems and that our highest priority is to ensure that the education of our children continues at the highest quality for the remainder of this school year and into the next.  Importantly, the School Committee will present the same bottom line budget at Town Meeting that we approved in February.   

The impact of this deficit, as well as the burden it has placed on our community, are serious matters that must be further explored.  Following the best practices in situations like this, it was appropriate and in full conformance with the Superintendent’s contract, to place the Superintendent on fully paid administrative leave, so that an independent review conducted by a neutral third party could be made into the matter.   The Superintendent receives full compensation and benefits during this time period, and the administrative leave is not punitive and is without prejudice.   At the April 25th meeting, many statements were made during public comment that inaccurately portrayed the situation as well as the actions of the committee.  In the coming days, we plan to clarify and address many of those statements and will communicate via the NAPS web site.  We appreciate the community having patience as we work together in the best interests of the district.

We intend for this review to be conducted as soon as practically possible and to be completed as soon as possible.  Among the goals of the review is to ensure this does not repeat in the future, to determine how such a large deficit could not be discovered and identified sooner, whether our financial systems and processes that are in place are adequate or need improvement, and whether any changes in our organizational structure are necessary.   
The School Committee was notified in the February 1st meeting that there was pressure on the budget, and about $1.5M of expenses that were anticipated to be in excess of their budgeted amounts.    The next notice of a problem was not until April 18th, and the scope is much larger, a net $3.1M deficit remains.   We worked with the Town Manager and have already sought bids from professional consulting services firms to conduct a complete review of the situation.  We intend to engage a firm as soon as possible to begin this work and act that it be completed as soon as possible. The deliverable will be a comprehensive written report of their findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

We want to assure the public that if involuntary staff reductions become necessary, we will be fully transparent as to the process used to determine those reductions.

Ms. Pamela Lathrop, presently our Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, has agreed to serve as Acting Superintendent for this interim period.  Ms. Lathrop is an accomplished educator and administrator.   We ask that you support her and the professional administrative staff during this challenging period of time.



North Andover School Committee