AUBURN — The School Committee approved funds for a new HVAC system to be installed at Walton Elementary School, along with increasing the daily compensation for substitute teachers at its meeting Thursday.

Committee members approved spending $49,839 from the unallocated fund balance in the fiscal year 2022 capital improvements bond to install a rooftop HVAC unit at Walton, which is necessary for the school to properly function, City Council representative Adam Platz said.

The future operation of the school has been a sore subject among the public and school department officials this school year, especially after a facilities study discussed at a meeting last December recommended closing the school. The study found that Walton was in the worst condition compared to all other city schools.

Many staff and students at the school, along with their parents, have shown strong support in keeping it open, criticizing the idea of closing it and forcing the students to be split among other city schools. Some parents spoke at the beginning of the school year calling for better staffing at the school.

In other business, committee members increased the daily compensation for substitute teachers by $15, from $110 per day to $125 per day. There was no discussion among committee members before they unanimously approved the measure.

Earlier in the meeting, Chairwoman Pamela Albert announced that Casey-Lyn Knight has resigned from the School Committee because of a work scheduling conflict that will prevent her from attending meetings. There will be a special election to fill her at-large seat, which will likely take place sometime this summer after the June 11 Primary.

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