AUBURN — Residents will decide Tuesday whether to approve a $59.1 million budget and accept an additional $4.6 million in state funds for the Auburn school district.

The School Committee and City Council approved the proposed school budget, which is a 6% increase from the current $55.7 million. It includes 16.5 position reductions, 15.5 which are teachers and one director of the Regional Educational Treatment Center. Three sports programs will also be cut: fall cheering, Nordic skiing and first team football.

The budget also includes additional funding for two capital reserve accounts created last year, one to help maintain the new Edward Little High School and a second for technology-related expenses. Both will receive an additional $125,000 if the budget is approved, resulting in a total balance of $250,000 in each account.

The proposed budget would raise the property tax rate by 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or an estimated $58 on a property valued at $200,000. Including the increase, Auburn residents would pay roughly $1,822 in school tax this upcoming year for a similarly valued property.

Mayor Jason Levesque previously proposed reducing the tax impact by using more money from the undesignated fund. The School Committee voted to allocate 25%, or up to $200,000, of whatever additional funding the City Council approved from their undesignated fund.

The City Council ultimately chose not to supplement the municipal budget with additional money from the undesignated fund however, so the School Committee also did not, Superintendent Cornelia Brown said.



In addition to the budget, residents will also decide whether to accept an extra $4.6 million to clean up hazardous materials at the high school in a special municipal referendum Tuesday.

The school district requested additional funds from the state to help dispose of polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs, from the old Edward Little High School on Harris Street.

The state has agreed to cover the extra money needed to demolish the old gym and remove the PCBs, Brown said, adding that there will be no tax impact to Auburn residents.

The school district woefully underbudgeted the funds needed to clean up the hazardous substance, which is most prevalent in the high school gym. Just $600,000 was budgeted, far less than the money needed.

School officials previously said it was not possible for them to know the total amount necessary to remediate the PCBs while creating the initial budget for the high school demolition.


The state has agreed to finance up to $4.6 million to ensure that the old high school is demolished on time this summer. The new high school, which is being built on the same property, is scheduled to open later this summer, with students starting school there in September.

The bus lane for the new high school is planned to be constructed where the old high school’s gym sits. If the gym isn’t demolished this summer, school officials will need to create alternative plans for the busses.

The question for the special municipal referendum reads: “Shall the City of Auburn approve City Council Order 33-03202023 and (a) authorize up to $4,598,331 in additional costs for environmental remediation (Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) Abatement) of the soil and existing building material at the new high school project location, and (b) authorize up to $4,598,331 of the City’s general obligation bonds (which may be callable) for that purpose (all of which additional bonds have been approved for State debt service subsidy support), the sale proceeds of which, together with investment earnings, if any, are appropriated to finance such costs (including costs of issuance and capitalized interest)?”

A “yes” vote authorizes the city to accept the additional state funding, while a “no” vote would prevent it from accepting state funding.

Wards 1 and 2 will vote at the Auburn Senior Community Center, 48 Pettengill Park Road. Wards 3 and 4 will vote at Auburn Hall, 60 Court St. Ward 5 will vote at the Boys and Girls Club, 43 Second St.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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