Showdown: Auburn vs. Lewiston Public Schools, academics and spending. School logos courtesy the respective public school websites.
LEWISTON – What if the great Maine public school athletic rivalries were applied to academics and public school spending? Maine Examiner is doing just that with a series of “Showdown” pieces comparing public school test scores and spending in the public school districts that represent great Maine athletic rivalries.
By comparing recently released MEA test results in three areas and per-pupil operating cost to see which public school system wins head-to-head match up.
Lewiston and Auburn represent a well known Maine school rivalry. The cities are divided by the Androscoggin River and have even recently been the subject of considerable, but unsuccessful efforts to merge the two cities into one.
According to public spending data available from the Maine Department of Education, Lewiston spends $10,098 per-pupil in operating costs for the 5,508 students in Lewiston Public Schools.
Across the river, Auburn spends $9,509 or $589 less per-pupil than Lewiston for the 3,619 students in Auburn Public Schools.
In the arena of academics, at least the results of standardized state testing, Auburn has a strong advantage in performance despite spending about 5% less per student.
According to the 2017-18 MEA test results, 41% of Auburn students tested at or above state expectations in English/Language Arts/Literacy, while only 25% of Lewiston students reached that mark. A full 16 percentage point advantage to Auburn Public Schools.
In mathematics testing, Auburn once again comes out on top, with 28% of Auburn students at or above state expectations on MEA mathematics testing. Lewiston comes in at just 17% of students reaching or exceeding state expectations in mathematics, falling 21 percentage points short of Auburn students.
The trend holds in science testing as well, with 52% of Auburn students at or above state expectations in science while Lewiston students tested at just 30% at or above state expectations. This represents a 22-point advantage for Auburn, the largest of the three data points available.
A variety of factors go into the quality of education and student performance in any public school system in the state. In the case of Lewiston and Auburn, the number of dollars spent per-student don’t equate into stronger test results.
In this showdown, Auburn gets the edge for dominance in all three measurable data points, while keeping per-pupil costs well below what most Maine school districts spend and about 5% lower than their rivals across the Androscoggin River.
Lewiston Public Schools: $10,098
Auburn Public Schools: $9,509
Auburn Public Schools: 41% at or above state expectations
Lewiston Public Schools: 25% at or above state expectations
Auburn Public Schools: 28% at or above state expectations
Lewiston Public Schools: 17% at or above state expectations
Auburn Public Schools: 52% at or above state expectations
Lewiston Public Schools: 30% at or above state expectations