AUBURN — A state audit found some areas in the Auburn School Department’s special education program that are not up to standard.

The audit, which is conducted by the Maine Department of Education and required by federal law, is usually conducted every three to five years, Director of Education Laura Shaw told the School Committee on Wednesday. Auburn’s last audit was four years ago.

The Maine DOE reviewed the district’s data, visited Auburn schools and interviewed staff to determine compliance with federal indicators, she said.

There are 64 indicators the state considers. Auburn is 100% compliant with 29 indicators, 90-99% compliant with 12, 80-89% compliant with seven, 70-79% compliant with four, and 69% or below compliant with 12, she said.

The district has been provided with a corrective action plan, Shaw said, and must become complaint with all indicators by the end of April 2024.

Shaw said the number of noncompliant indicators sounds high, especially for the 69% or below indicators. However, nine of the 12 indicators the district performed poorly on relate to abbreviated days for students with disabilities, she said.


Few students in the district have abbreviated days, Shaw said, guessing there were around half a dozen students last school year.

“It’s not that you can’t (have shorter days for students with disabilities) legally,” she said. “But it’s highly discouraged. If you do do that, there are many, many policies and procedures that have to be followed.”

Shaw said there was not enough documentation for students with abbreviated days, leading to the noncompliance.

“Overall, I was pleased with the results,” Shaw said. “Nothing was surprising … These are all easy enough fixes and should be done, actually, well before April, probably.”

Shaw said she believed the amount and types of deficient areas were similar to the audit four years ago.

“I’d like to say (this audit) was better, but (it was) probably about the same,” she said. “What makes it difficult is the interpretation of how things are supposed to be.”


Superintendent Cornelia Brown also provided the School Committee with data on the number of superintendents’ agreements in the district.

A superintendents’ agreement is a decision made by two superintendents to allow a student to attend a school district they do not live within. In order for an agreement to be made, the residential superintendent must first agree to allow the student to attend a different district, then Brown must accept the student.

Whatever resources would have been provided to a school district for the student, the Auburn School District would receive.

In the most recent school year, 164 out-of-district students attended Auburn schools and 75 Auburn students attended other districts. As of July 27, there were 76 out-of-district students planning to attend Auburn schools this upcoming year and 44 Auburn students attending other districts.

Brown said she denied five requests last year. Generally, this is done if the district doesn’t have room for the student in their desired program, such as the life skills program or the gifted and talented program, or if accepting the student would be costly due to their specific needs.

In other news, Edward Little High School Principal Scott Annear told the School Committee that staff have completely moved items from the school into the new one next door on Harris Street. Currently, Auburn police are conducting active shooter training on the second floor and the Fire Department will soon begin door-breach training.


The abatement process for disposing of polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs or forever chemicals, has begun in the gym at the old high school and will continue throughout the rest of the building, he said.

PCBs are categorized as known human carcinogens, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Last week, the district received a temporary occupancy certificate to allow administration, office and guidance staff to begin working in the new high school, Annear said.

In response to concerns from Ward 1 Representative Clarisa Perez-Armendariz, Annear said abatement and demolition will occur while students are attending the new Edward Little High School.

Fencing will be used to keep the two spaces separate, he said.

“They have very, very strict guidelines on how that process works,” he said.

Due to installation delays, the high school is seeking a temporary sound system for the new high school football stadium, Annear said. The field will be available for students starting fall sports Aug. 14.

Brown said the district will announce an open house for the public to view the new school later this month. She expects it will occur in September.

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