In his letter to the editor (June 28), Robert Reed expressed three valid concerns about the proposed merger of Lewiston and Auburn. I will address his first assertion about the cost of leveling up wages, estimated to be between $1 million and $1.6 million, annually.

That wasn’t included in projected savings because, as the report points out, they are too indeterminate due to eventual post-merger collective bargaining. However, here are three points to consider:

First, the report pointed out that the estimates are based on existing staff levels and should be reduced commensurately as staffing levels are reduced. Even the conservative projections contemplate staff reductions and, therefore, the estimated leveling-up costs should be reduced to be more realistic.

Second, the leveling-up costs were not included in the final calculations, but neither were additional benefits that were deemed to be just as indeterminate. For example, reductions in out-of-district tuition for special education due to a more comprehensive in-district program, bulk purchasing of supplies, and staggering of operating capital expenditures could all result in additional annual savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But these and others were considered too imprecise to include and would likely offset any excluded costs.

Finally, even if only additional costs were included, the net result would still be an estimated savings of $1 million to $3 million annually — still a significant potential savings.

Marc Roy, Lewiston, treasurer, One LA

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