AUBURN — The School Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2020-21 budget at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Superintendent Katy Grondin will give an overview of the spending plan, including some changes that have not yet been presented to the committee, she said Tuesday.

The bottom line: No local tax increase.

The budget is “pretty close to being done,” Grondin said. The hearing will be an opportunity for the community to call in with feedback or questions before the committee votes on it.

To watch the hearing live and to participate, a link to the videoconference can be found on the Auburn School Department website.

The overall budget includes an increase of $465,000 over the current spending plan. That is being covered by an increase in state subsidy of $365,400 and an additional $97,800 from the fund balance, Grondin said. The total amount being taken from the balance is $970,862.

Grondin said the coronavirus relief bill funding will be used to hire a technology instructional coach, among other things.

“CARES money really needs to support the COVID-19 crisis,” she said. “A lot of tech things are appropriate.”

The aid can be used to pay for Wi-Fi hot spots, which arrived Monday, Grondin said. They will be given to families that do not have internet connections. The district will own the hot spots for a year, she said.

The Auburn School Department expects to receive about $780,000 in coronavirus relief bill funding. That money cannot be used for regular classroom teachers’ salaries.

That means new positions requested by staff will not be in the budget, Grondin said.

The coronavirus relief bill money also cannot be used to pay for buses, nor can that expense be moved into the capital improvement plan.

That means Grondin had to find another $87,000 for a bus that was moved into the capital improvement plan at the request of the School Committee. She will reveal at Wednesday’s hearing how that could be done, she said.

The total recommended budget for 2020-21 stands at $45.8 million, a 1.01% increase over the current year. The increase will not affect property taxes.

A proposal for a retirement incentive for teachers ages 62 and older will not be offered because not enough teachers were interested to make it cost-effective, Grondin said.


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