Meridian school district leaders need more time to release - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Meridian school district leaders need more time to release lists of cuts

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Board president Bruce Larson Board president Bruce Larson
Interim Superintendent Jim Brown Interim Superintendent Jim Brown

A few weeks ago, Meridian school board members said by today, they hoped to have two items to share with the public, depending on whether or not a proposed property tax referendum gets enough votes in April. The referendum is one solution to the district's $2 million budget deficit.

Board members came to Monday night's public hearing pretty much empty-handed. The two pieces of information are lists of cuts both if the property taxes go up and if they don't. District leaders need more time to complete the lists. Board president Bruce Larson says the delay has to do with staff contracts. They're still deciding on who's getting laid off, but board members have to come up with an answer soon since the deadline to notify the teachers' union of staff cuts is Friday. Despite there being no lists yet, Larson still had information to share with the public tonight. He says there will no longer be an assistant superintendent position. Interim Superintendent Jim Brown believes the result from some cuts will be bigger class sizes, shorter school days, less courses offered and changes to programs. That worries Stillman Valley High School students Aly Miller and Ashley Adams. The two juniors have been members of the FFA, or Future Farmers of America, group since they were freshmen. They're concerned about the fate of the club and the teachers who run it.

"We don't want everything that we've worked so hard for just to go away." -says Adams.

Miller agrees, saying "After being in the program [the teachers] become your best friends and you can always rely on them."

After board members have a talk with the union, they hope to share the list of cuts with the public by March 13th.

Another story we've been following in Meridian CUSD #223 is the former Superintendent Dr. Robert Morelan and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Thomas Gaudreau stepping down.

CLARIFICATION:

The board has released a statement saying the two administrators and the board decided to part ways due to "ideological differences." Both will be paid and receive benefits until their contracts expire June 30, 2013.

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