ANDOVER (CBS) – Members of the Andover teachers’ union have agreed to enter school buildings but issued a no confidence vote for Superintendent Sheldon Berman amid a dispute between the two sides on the district’s coronavirus reopening plan.
On Monday, the Andover School Committee voted 5-0 to authorize the district’s legal counsel after many teachers refused to work inside the school building Monday, their first day of professional development. The school committee said approximately 45% of the Andover Education Association membership did not report to work in-person as directed.
A day later, members of the Andover Education Association (AEA) issued a no confidence vote in Berman.
The union called the School Committee’s vote “excessive and punitive” aimed to “stifle and obstruct our ability to prepare for the school year.” Members voted to enter buildings for professional development on Tuesday “under duress.”
“Superintendent Berman has shown persistent disregard for educators. He does not respect our professionalism and fails to take a cooperative approach in addressing the many challenges that face the district,” the union said. “His behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a point where his autocratic style of management can no longer be tolerated, as it jeopardizes the health and safety of students, educators, and the community at large.”
Andover schools are scheduled to begin the year with a hybrid learning model. The union alleges that Berman “repeatedly ignored” health concerns. AEA president Matthew Bach said the staff is worried about the air quality inside the district’s schools.
Superintendent Sheldon Berman said Monday was a “missed opportunity” on the part of the union to see what precautions and care have been implemented for teachers and students.