Andover withdrawal negotiations
Your reporter Alison Aloisio beautifully summarized the very productive information meeting in Andover on Aug. 28 on the subject of the resolution up for town vote on Sept. 18 for approval of the filing of a petition for withdrawal from SAD 44. As the article underscores, this vote is only the first of two. If the first vote is successful, that second town vote (whether to actually withdraw) will not occur until Andover and SAD 44 have concluded their negotiations. Every Andover citizen will be informed of the specific terms that have been negotiated so that everyone can decide for himself or herself whether the terms negotiated are good for the town.
Negotiations will be conducted for Andover by a committee of town residents who meet certain qualifications for appointment as established under state law. That committee constitutes the town’s negotiators. The committee is advised by one or more experts on the educational side who are experienced in school withdrawal negotiations; several possible candidates for that advisory position have already been interviewed. My role is providing legal advice to the committee and drafting those documents that reflect the results of the negotiations. As your article noted, I am doing so without charge and have had the benefit of reviewing already several very detailed agreements that have been entered into by other towns with their SAD’s or RSU’s.
Documents I draft will be reviewed by an attorney who deals with educational matters as his or her principal area of practice at the usual hourly rates. However, the fact that this town-paid lawyer will be doing review and not drafting should make the amount of time spent considerably less and thereby help to reduce the costs to Andover of the negotiation process – which are capped at $24,000 total, in any event.