Founder and CEO of McCormick Facility Management Consultants
As I review the comments, I think it is fantastic that some are getting involved and expressing their opinions. As the Auburn School Department and indeed the community moves forward to provide education for its citizens, it is imperative that facts be used not innuendo or street conversations. Big decisions like this require a good grasp of real data. Armed with real data, the picture sometimes becomes more clear.
As such, I am not sure where Mr. LaChance gets his census data but I would like his reference(s). It is always important to list sources. In our analysis of resident population, we used US Census, Maine State Planning Office, and City of Auburn resident information. If one digs into SPO and City resident data, one will discover that they too use US Census data.
When we stated that Auburn resident population is stable, we are still statically accurate. The following is from SPO:
“In the three decades between 1860 and 1900, Auburn’s population nearly tripled, from 4,022 to 12,951 residents. From 1900 to 1960 it doubled again, peaking at 24,449 residents. Since 1960, the population has decreased slightly overall and stabilized. In 2000, Auburn had about 23,000 residents.”
Excerpt from Table P-1 of the comprehensive plan:
As stated, there have been some minor swings. The average over the last 50 years is 23,671, the mean is 23,621, and the average deviation is 465. The 50 year average change is .11% (point one one percent)
In any analysis, these numbers represent “steadiness”.
The child population decline mentioned is not accurate. There are more students enrolled today than anytime since 2005, 214 more. There are 78 more this year than last year. (From the school department and the Maine Department of Education). Regarding births, Auburn has averaged 279 annually since 1990 and in the last six years that has increased by 6 to 285. (From Auburn City Hall and Maine Department of Human Services, Office of Vital Statistics). 280 annual births equals 3,920 students enrolled in school. Currently, Auburn only offers pre-Kindergarten to 150 of the potential 285 that could attend and not all residents attend Auburn Schools as they may be home schooled or attend private school which is why of the 3,920 potential, todays enrollment is 3,668.
The numbers Mr. LaChance shows in his editorials do not appear in any data source we have seen. If he would be so kind to direct us to the source of data he used, we would appreciate reviewing it.
Perhaps the readers should review the Auburn Comprehensive plan that was most recently adopted April 9, 2011. The following are excerpts from it:
Page 7: High School vision
“Edward Little High School (ELHS) has a new, updated campus with additional sports fields/facilities; arts opportunities/forums; and an improved cafeteria; with better, healthier and more affordable food options. The curriculum has been improved and expanded, and includes job-shadowing opportunities and more technology courses.”
Page 50: Objective F.1.1
“Improve the quality of the City’s school system so that Auburn is an attractive place for families with children to live.”
The Auburn planners are correct in understanding that good school systems are critical to the continued existence of community and its economic and cultural diversity. Good school system ARE and economic development tool in of itself.
Regarding community schools and single campuses. Neighborhood schools were created 120 years ago when there was no other means of getting to school except for walking (no buses). Today, very few students actually walk. They are bussed or transported by parents or siblings. As a fact gathering opportunity, go to any of the elementary schools and count how many walkers there are. Not many. Riding buses is much safer for young students than walking.
There are many instances of single campuses in Maine. Falmouth, Yarmouth, Hampden, Mt. View, Old Town, Dexter, and others have single campuses or very large student counts in a single building. The kids love it! And the parents do to once they move in.
Please continue the much needed discussion, it is great for the process. But please, use only the facts, and reference the source of those facts.