$2 million. That's how much Meridian CUSD 223 is in the red. Wednesday night, the district held their second public meeting on this huge deficit.
Parents and lower-level staff members seem confused and frustrated after the Finance Committee meeting at Stillman Valley High School. Some want to know what's happening to the school their kids go to, or the department they work in. No problems were solved, but it looks like school board members know what they need to accomplish.
There are a couple options for solving this multi-million dollar problem. One, a referendum to raise sales tax in the county, two, to raise property tax. Other ideas are to decrease spending by cutting programs, or at least parts of programs, and staff. Board members discussed ideas about taking away Junior High sports and band. School bus drivers might have to pick up other routes in the next school year. But right now, this is all just being talked about. Administrators have come up with around 40 suitable areas of cutting. That list was 72. However, school board members have more questions, so they're sending that list back to administrators.
"We would like to have that information overlayed with how it would adversely or not affect specific programs, if it were to affect specific programs, if it doesn't affect it then we would like to know that as well." -says board member John Smith.
Smith hopes administrators will start taking another look at that list Thursday.
Due to school holidays and other scheduling conflicts, some upcoming meetings have been pushed back a day. The next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for the 17th. On January 22nd, there's a special board meeting. The 24th marks a regular school board meeting, and the public hearing, where a solution will be presented to the community, will be on January 29th.
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