Does Auburn fund the entire School budget?
No. 52.8% of Auburn's school budget is funded by the state; 38% comes from local property taxes, and the remaining comes from other revenue sources.
What is special education SEED money that the direct district is required to pay?
When a special education student receives a medically necessary service billed to Medicaid (Mainecare), the Medicaid claim is reimbursed partially by the Federal government (62.6%) and partially by the State or Local government (37.4%). These medically necessary services may include, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Work Services, and/or Behavioral Health Services.
By State determination, the Auburn School Department is responsible for the “State or Local” portion of the bill. The School Department must “seed” the Federal Portion of the Medicaid reimbursement for these services in order for the Federal Government to pay its portion.
The majority of “seed” is expended for behavioral health services delivered to our students who are placed in Special Purpose Private Schools, out of our district. Currently, an hour of behavioral health services is $58.60, of which $21.91 is the responsibility of the Auburn School Department.
These "seed charges are periodically deducted from our State subsidy to education and have an impact on our budget.
Why would the School Committee ask the Superintendent to increase the budget?
If the current budget is well below EPS (Essential Programs and Services), which are the state guidelines on the bare minimum funding for a basic education, then the School Committee may request that the budget be increased. In addition, the State of Maine has passed a bill that will require cities like Auburn to fully fund their schools to minimal EPS levels starting in 2015. The bill states that if a city does not fully fund EPS, the state will penalize the city based on the amount that EPS is underfunded. In other words, if a city underfunds EPS, the state will reduce its educational funding to the city. For these reasons, the School Committee may decide to present a budget that begins to bring the Auburn School Department closer to the full EPS amount.