AUBURN — To curtail rising expenses, the Auburn school district has proposed a $58.9 million budget that would cut nearly two dozen mostly vacant positions from schools.

Of the 23.5 positions, 15.5 are educators across nearly all of Auburn’s schools. Walton elementary school would lose four, the most of any school, followed by three at Edward Little High School.

The proposed cuts at the high school are an aspirations teacher, a physical education teacher and a substance misuse counselor. Instead, the school has partnered with B Street Health Clinic in Lewiston to provide substance abuse counseling to students, Superintendent Cornelia Brown said.

The cuts, which would save the district an estimated $1.5 million, were largely determined based on enrollment declines, Brown said.

While most of these positions are vacant, Brown expects two people would be laid off, not including the Regional Education Technical Center director whose position was eliminated by the School Committee earlier this year.

The proposed cuts follow a January decision to implement a hiring freeze on most vacant positions. Even with the cuts, the personnel budget is expected to rise by $437,000.


The budget would also eliminate four high school sports programs, Nordic skiing, noncompetitive fall cheerleading, and freshman teams for football and baseball. The football and baseball programs will continue to support junior varsity and varsity teams, Brown said.

The superintendent’s proposed spending plan would be a 5.8% increase from the $55.7 million budget for this fiscal year, which ends June 30. This means the owner of a home valued at $150,000 would pay an estimated $96.44 more in school taxes, a 7.2% rise in the property tax rate.

The most significant increases in the budget relate to salaries and benefits, costs related to the new Edward Little High School and school transportation, according to Brown.

Due to declining enrollment and increasing property valuations, the school district will receive $1.2 million less in state funding than it did for this fiscal year budget.

Since the fall of 2019, enrollment in the Auburn school districts has dropped from 3,540 students to 3,282, a 7.2% decrease. Declines in enrollment and state subsidy are projected to continue, Brown said. Due to this, she said the district will need to cut expenses and increase the local share now and in future years to make up the difference.

The proposed budget anticipates up to a 15% increase in health insurance premiums, representing an additional cost of $846,000. The district will receive word of the final increase in April.

Other significant increases include Auburn’s debt service, which will rise by $2.4 million, 34% more than last year’s commitment. Electricity alone is projected to rise by $403,000, two thirds of which is due to the new high school.

The School Committee will spend the next two months evaluating the proposal before sending their approved plan to the City Council in May. The budget validation referendum is planned for June 13.

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