AUBURN — Oh the drama of budget talks. It might challenge math and English teachers in deciding what’s a cut, what’s a reduction and what are semantics.

Take the March 26 meeting of the Auburn School Committee, where member Ron Potvin was the lone voice pushing for no more than a 3 percent increase in the school budget. To get spending down, he asked if adult education could be eliminated. Could a retiring assistant principal be replaced with a lesser-paid guidance person? Or could the Franklin alternative school be axed?

Other members said no, backing a 5 percent or larger increase.

Member Bonnie Hayes seemed puzzled at the Potvin platform. She pointed out that at a recent meeting, “you sat there. I sat there. I think I heard you say there’s nothing else to cut. We’re bare bones.”

“I did say that,” Potvin said.

“Then why are you cutting?” she asked.

“I’m not. I’m reducing your increase,” Potvin answered to what sounded like moans and groans.

Taxpayers “are not interested in cutting the School Department,” Potvin said. “We’re interested in keeping the increases to a reasonable minimum.”

– Bonnie Washuk

‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ to a longer Christmas break

LEWISTON — It could be considered an early Christmas present. Lewiston students are getting a longer break next Christmas — two full weeks.

In proposing the 2014-15 school calendar, Superintendent Bill Webster said he doesn’t usually recommend two weeks off during the holidays, but Christmas and New Year’s fall on Thursdays this year. Trying to resume classes on a Friday may not be that effective, so he proposed the two full weeks off.

The School Committee agreed, voting to approve the schedule. It may save a snow day or two, Webster said.

According to the schedule, school begins Wednesday, Aug. 27, and graduation will be June 5, 2015. The last day of school will be June 10, 2015, if there are no snow days.

— Bonnie Washuk

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