AUBURN – The Auburn School Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed a $34.1 million budget for 2009-10 that is lower than this year’s spending plan and will require fewer local taxes.

“This is what we needed to do in order for our students to have what they need,” Superintendent Tom Morrill said.

They won’t have more than needed, he said.

In all, the city’s schools will get $9,304 less than they had this year, will receive $107,774 less in revenue and $39,317 less in taxes.

The drop in spending puts the school system almost a half million dollars below the state’s minimum budget standard for meeting its requirements.

“It is not a Cadillac,” Committee member Tom Kendall said. “To be under Essential Programs and Services is not desirable. It endangers education.”

The committee’s approval sent the budget to the City Council, which is expected to make its own pass at the numbers.

Those numbers include school plans to use $631,000 from the department’s savings and $461,000 in gap money from the state.

Ron Potvin, the council’s representative to the committee, said the use of savings may be targeted by the council.

On Monday, the council and the School Committee met to talk about the budget. About an hour after the school leaders were dismissed, the issue rose again.

“I think they are trying to control our funds,” committee member Bonnie Hayes said of the council move.

The two sides are scheduled to hold a workshop on April 15. The council is scheduled to vote on the school proposal on April 27.

A citywide referendum is planned for May 5.



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