Meridian School District 223 has been looking for ways to fix its million dollar deficit, this time by selling some bonds. District leaders say they haven't been getting the funding they should from the state.
But it's a touchy subject around Stillman Valley because they don't need public approval, and that has taxpayers up in arms.
Even after making cuts last year, District 223 is still more than one million dollars short, money it needs to fund things like programming and transportation.
An attempt to pass a referendum in April failed. Now the board is prepared to sell bonds to fill the gap. And without taxpayer approval.
"A vote would be nice is all we're looking for," says Jason Janssen.
Lori Janssen says, "I might push it through this time, but I just want to have the chance to vote."
"Shouldn't be this way, it should be brought in front of the people. that's what this country is supposed to be about," says Dave Grever.
Jason, Lori, and Dave were just three of about 100 residents who came out to sign a petition against the school district's proposed bond sales.
"The deadline is Wednesday, we have to have them in on Wednesday. We need at least 565, at least 10% of the registered voters in this school district," says Lorraine Hubbard, who spent the day collecting petitions.
She says, they can collect the needed signatures, the bonds would come up for a vote in November.
Jill Huber says that's too far away. She supports the idea of bond sales, and says the school district needs the money now. "And if we don't do something now, the money is not going to be there when we need it. If we have to wait for a referendum, then we're going to start making cuts now. And if we don't get this money, our children are going to suffer. Our community is going to suffer. Property values are going to suffer. It's just not a win-win for us if that happens," says Huber.
Other residents say they're simply going to put their faith in the school board they elected. "I'm glad that the board we have now is being proactive about something," says Toby Behmer.
Selling the bonds would raise property taxes for the next three years, equal to about $150 per year for every $100,000 in assessed value.
There are more petition drives coming up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the Triple M Embroidery store off of Kishwaukee Road in Stillman Valley.
The Meridian School District encourages anyone with questions to read the packet they've put up on their website.
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