AUBURN – The Auburn School Committee is expected to vote on its recommended school spending for next year when it meets Wednesday.

The state is giving Maine schools $79 million more for education and property tax relief. Gov. John Baldacci and legislators have urged communities to return some of that money to taxpayers. Auburn is receiving $1.62 million more than last year.

So far, Auburn school officials are not recommending money be returned to taxpayers.

School Superintendent Barbara Eretzian has recommended a school budget of $33.67 million, a 6.8 percent increase.

Part of that increase would pay for debt service for the school being built to replace the K-6 Lake Street School. The new school is being built on Park Avenue.

Another portion of the larger budget would cover new positions, including a special education assistant director, five foreign language and tech teachers, an additional nurse, raises and higher cost for benefits, and other new initiatives.

Members of United Citizens of Auburn, a group concerned that taxes are too high, have attended meetings to raise questions about spending. Members of that group expressed anger last week over comments made by teacher Tina Vanasse, who criticized questions being raised by the group.

School Committee chair Kathy Constantine said she will insist that anyone speaking during the public comment of the meeting be respectful of everyone.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the City Council Chambers in the Auburn Hall.

– Bonnie Washuk