Meridian school district budget, administration being watched - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Meridian school district budget, administration being watched closely

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Board's attorney Stanley Eisenhammer Board's attorney Stanley Eisenhammer
Board President Bruce Larson Board President Bruce Larson
Superintendent Dr. Robert Morelan Superintendent Dr. Robert Morelan

Meridian CUSD 223's finances are under the microscope with a $2 million deficit looming in next school year's budget, but there also might be a close eye on administration.

One of the final items on Thursday's school board meeting's agenda was a closed session to discuss possible items like discipline, performance or dismissal of specific district employees. We already know one top-level staff member isn't at work.

"Right now, the assistant superintendent is on paid administrative leave." -says the board's attorney Stanley Eisenhammer.

Eisenhammer can't say why Tom Gaudreau's not working or if this closed session is in any way related.

"That's to allow the board to have a candid discussion about whoever's being talked about in a way that allows freedom to talk without damaging anyone's reputation." -he says.

As far as the district's budget goes, the resolution passed Tuesday calls for just more than a percentage point increase in property tax, from just under 3% to just below 4%, but board members don't want to get over-confident.

"There are some other things we're going to have to get done in preparation for if the resolution should get passed and then working on a Plan B if the resolution doesn't pass." -says school board President Bruce Larson.

Next week's hearing is planned to be a public tell-all. Administrators have information on state aid; where it was, where it's at now, along with student enrollment numbers both in the past and present.

"We also have the costs for the previous four years, the per-student costs that we have right now that we're expending for each of our students." -says Superintendent Dr. Robert Morelan.

Some community members say they understand the property tax increase, but what they're unsure of is the new dollar amount residents will be paying. District leaders say this question and others will be cleared up on January 29th, 7 p.m., at Highland Elementary School.

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