Much has been written lately about citizens’ rights to question city and school officials about the details of the budget. Indeed, questions should focus on gathering facts to make informed choices. Recent questioning by United Citizens of Auburn, however, seems to be an attempt to justify an established position – that Auburn spends too much on education, and “significant waste” must be cut to control taxes.
The Auburn budget process is always difficult, and often emotional. There has never been a year when taxes were not too high. Walter Reed says his group supports teachers, and is even willing to increase teacher salaries, but he can’t have it both ways.
When a school budget is cut, teaching positions are sacrificed. That’s the only place to make significant cuts. Education is staff-intensive. Fuel and energy costs, insurance increases and building maintenance are necessities none of us can control.
I have never met an Auburn School Committee member who wasn’t concerned about the tax rate. Asking questions with an open mind will demonstrate that our school committee and superintendent do a good job balancing the tax rate, state mandates and the needs of our children in these challenging, changing times.
David D. Griswold, Auburn