Meridian School District Faces $2 Million Deficit

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STILLMAN VALLEY (WIFR0 -- There's a two million dollar deficit in one local school district after the state and federal government slashed funding. That's a lot of money to the Meridian School District in Stillman Valley and the school board is struggling to make up for that loss.

The district's finance committee hopes the combination of budget cuts, a property tax hike, and reserve funds can get the 2014 budget close to balanced. The administration has come up with at least 43 suggested cuts to save around $900,000. Options include changing bus routes, switching some varsity sports to club sports, and letting go teachers, aides, and other staff. Dozens of parents and teachers showed up to a meeting Wednesday night to hear about the proposed cuts, but many said they were disappointed in the lack of transparency from the board.

“We want to know what the process is. We want to know what is going to be on the table before it’s just, ‘Here are your cuts,’” said mother of 2 Angela Hodges. “We are very involved parents here in the valley. We have an excellent reputation in sports, in academics, and we want to maintain that.”

The board has until January 22nd to put a referendum on the April ballot that would ask taxpayers to approve a property tax hike. The money would help the district pay for education, transportation and other costs. The board meets again on January 17th to discuss district finances. There are 1,900 students in the Meridian School District.

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