AUBURN — For the first time in years, the proposed Auburn school budget would put five more teachers in classrooms and reduce some class sizes at four schools.

Superintendent Katy Grondin’s spending plan is $44.1 million, up 5.6 percent from this year’s $41.7 million.

Taxpayers would be assessed 2.6 percent more than this fiscal year, which ends June 30. A property valued at $150,000 would see a $34.50 tax increase.

Most of the budget increase will be covered by the state, which is giving Auburn $2.1 million more than last year.

The budget includes more for supplies at all Auburn schools, four new buses, staff raises and higher health care costs. Higher salary and benefit costs, projected to rise $1.3 million, is the biggest increase in the budget.

If the public supports the budget, “we’d be able to address class size issues, improve the math department at Edward Little, maintain programs and help our bus fleet while having a reasonable impact on taxpayers,” Grondin said.

The budget would allow “us to address things we know have been there. It’s not meeting all the needs, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Grondin said. “I’m pleased that we’re only up 2.6 percent locally and able to address some high needs,” she said. Hiring teachers “is exciting,” she said. “Addressing class sizes comes up every year.”

Auburn’s student population has increased by 22 in the past year.

The five new teachers would be at Sherwood, Park Avenue and Fairview elementary schools, Auburn Middle School and Edward Little High School.

At the three elementary schools the teachers would reduce the class sizes of students in grades five or six from 21 to 20, Grondin said.

At the middle school, seventh- and eighth-grade students and teachers are divided into six teams. Five of the six teams have four teachers, one team has three. The new teacher would join the team with three, Grondin said.

At Edward Little High School, a new math teacher would improve math programs “as we raise the bar having our kids have higher math opportunities and different pathways,” Grondin said. “This will help address that.”

Also in the budget is money for four positions paid with federal money or grants that have run out or aren’t keeping pace. Those are two Title I teachers, a Washburn pre-kindergarten teacher and educational technician.

Jennifer Corey, who is head of the local teachers union, said she supports the budget because it will help teachers help students.

“Adding more teachers is excellent for students,” Corey said. “Reduced class sizes and more individualized attention are significant components for student progress.”

The budget would also add four new buses, Grondin said, making up for years when no buses were purchased or when only one new bus was added. Ideally two buses should be replaced each year, Grondin said.

When Auburn’s bus service was contracted to private companies the past few years, maintenance wasn’t provided the same way as the School Department, Grondin said. The state recognizes that Auburn needs to improve its bus fleet and will reimburse the district for the buses next year, she said.

The budget also gives more money to schools for books and supplies, including $15,319 more at East Auburn, $27,141 more at Edward Little, $6,490 more at Park Avenue and $6,555 more at Franklin.

The public hearing on the budget will be March 28 at Auburn Hall.

The public will vote on it June 12.

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Auburn Superintendent Katy Grondin has proposed a $44 million school budget that will decrease class sizes in several schools. The budget would require a 2.64 percent increase in property taxes. (Sun Journal file photo)

Auburn School budget: $44.1 million, up 5.6 percent.

State money for Auburn schools: $24.4 million, up 9.5 percent.

Local taxes required: $18.3 million — a 2.6 percent increase. Impact on $150,000 property, $34.50 more.

 


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