Another school year begins in Auburn

The answer to prayers for beleaguered parents, and a big bummer for many kids.

Yep, Tuesday morning, Sept. 6, marked the end of summer vacation for the anticipated 17,000 students enrolled in the Auburn School District.

Time to heed to the bell, crack open the books, and freshen up any of those math, reading and other skills that may have faded in the fun under the blazing summer sun.

“We are focused on supporting our students and families,” said Dr. Alan Spicciati, Superintendent of the Auburn School District. “A couple of ways we are doing that is providing all necessary school supplies for all students. We also are able to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students as part of the CEP program. We are looking forward to a great school year.”

Here are a few of the new things:

■ The district has hired almost 100 new teachers.

■ The ASD International Welcome Center is open to serve students and families new to the United States.

■ Willow Crest Elementary, Lea Hill Elementary and Chinook Elementary will all be the subject of community grand openings. All of the aforementioned elementary school projects were funded from the 2016 Building for Learning bond, and the district launched the last of them when it broke ground on the new Terminal Park Elementary in July.

Meals and school supplies

All students attending Auburn schools are eligible for free meals through the end of the 2026 school year, the district said. The district was approved for the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal program that reimburses schools for the cost of meals.

According to the USDA, the Community Eligibility Provision allows low-income schools and school districts to serve meals to all of their students at no cost to the students.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA issued the district a waiver, allowing the district to provide meals at no cost to students. However, that program did not extend into the 2022-23 school year. If the district had not been approved for the Community Eligibility Provision, families would have had to pay for their kids’ school meals this year.

In addition to free meals, the district is also providing all of its students with the required school supplies for the 2022-23 school year, according to the district. Grade-specific school supplies will be given to students during the first week of school and then replenished throughout the school year. The district is expected to spend $600,000 on school supplies for its students for the upcoming school year.