Auburn school budget add-back saves two teachers, techs, a librarian and sports

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AUBURN — Teachers, education technicians, librarians and all school sports will survive budget cuts — at least until voters have their say next week.

Auburn councilors approved a $34.7 million spending plan for the School Department on Tuesday morning. It was the continuation of a meeting that had begun Monday night but was interrupted as school officials worked to get the budget numbers correct.

Now the matter is up to voters. City Clerk Roberta Fogg said absentee balloting for the Auburn school budget referendum would begin Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 17, in Auburn Hall’s second-floor Community Room. It will be the only polling place for the referendum.

The budget adopted Tuesday puts back an elementary school librarian and two teachers that had been cut — an alternative teacher at Merrill Hill Alternative School and a new teacher/administrative consultant. It adds back two education technicians — one for English language instruction and one for the library — and a central office secretary.

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It also reinstates full funding for several athletic programs at Edward Little High School — golf, skiing, freshman baseball and girls’ and boys’ freshman basketball.

The budget also reinstates $5,000 toward the 2012 graduation and a summer school program designed to boost graduation.

The budget reinstates $93,000 for a new school bus, money that will be reimbursed by the state in 2012. School officials initially had planned to buy two buses. They cut both last week, in an effort to meet City Council spending guidelines.

Councilors suggested the schools buy both buses through a bond issue, but School Superintendent Tom Morrill said that would not be allowed under state guidelines.

The buses have to be purchased under the state’s transportation article to be eligible for a subsidy, Morrill said.

It took councilors 20 minutes  — once they had the numbers in front of them — to settle the budget Tuesday.

Councilors were ready to approve the budget Monday night at a special City Council meeting to review a $34.3 million spending plan they had approved May 2. Councilor Eric Samson moved to change that budget and let the School Department spend $370,251 from its rainy-day fund balance.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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