UPDATE: Meridian School District Votes on Cuts: Teachers Losing Jobs

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STILLMAN VALLEY (WIFR) -- Some deep cuts to the Meridian School District on Thursday as the school board voted to not only layoff some teachers, they also eliminated sports for junior high students.

22 positions will be eliminated from the district's payroll next year. 8 teachers will not be coming back. Junior high sports has been eliminated. Summer school has been eliminated.

In all the district will save nearly one million dollars next year.

"Nobody is happy with what's going on," said Assistant Superintendent P.J. Caposey.

"These cuts are going to seriously affect the student," said Stillman Valley Education Association president Carolyn Timm.

All cuts go into effect at the end of this school year.

STILLMAN VALLEY (WIFR) – Dozens of jobs are in jeopardy as the Meridian School District works on making nearly a million dollars in budget cuts.

The school district for Stillman Valley and neighboring communities is looking for other sources of revenue and places to cut now that the sale of working cash bonds is on hold due to a petition challenge. Part of the cuts could mean almost 30 faculty and staff losing their jobs.

“I mean, when you talk about laying off anywhere from 18 to 25 staff members across a small district like this, that’s a significant impact on this small community because everybody lives in this community.”

“The cuts that we’re going to have to make this next year are going to affect the achievement of our students.”

The next special board of education meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m.

UPDATE: The Meridian CUSD Board of Education and Administration met during an open meeting Wednesday, February 5th to discuss the state of the Meridian CUSD budget.

The meeting was called to discuss the next steps resulting from the sale of working cash bonds being halted due to a petition challenge. PJ Caposey, Meridian CUSD’s Assistant Superintendent/High School principal, led a presentation on the state of budget explaining an exhaustive list of potential cuts and introducing a list of revenue-increasing measures. The list of potential cuts were described as ‘sacrifices’ and reductions ‘that will definitively have an impact on the education of our students’ by Caposey. The format of the presentation explained the potential cuts in every MCUSD department or job classification from administration, to teachers, to all athletics and activities.

After the completion of the presentation, administration asked the Board of Education to provide a desired dollar amount of cuts and next steps moving forward to seek additional revenue. Board of Education President John Smith was first to contribute noting that he believes that his responsibility to the taxpayers is not to spend beyond our means and therefore the District needs $1,000,000 in cuts. Smith added that per the presentation this could equate to over 30 faculty and staff losing their positions. After all present Board members weighed in, administration was given the goal number of coming back to the Board with $966,000 in recommended cuts.

In terms of seeking additional revenue, Finance Committee Chairman, Kevin Glendenning stated, “We need to give our community another chance to let us know what type of school system they want our community have.” This comment prompted the discussion of whether or not the District needs to attempt another referendum. At the conclusion of the meeting, the BOE directed administration to create a resolution to take the sale of working cash bonds off of the ballot in November and to start investigating the timelines for seeking a referendum during the November election. Additionally, the Board of Education asked administration to investigate the potential sale of acreage the district owns which is adjacent to the high school. While this issue is to be investigated – all people around the table concluded that sale of this land would simply not solve the problem of a revenue shortfall in the District.

The next special BOE meeting to tackle these issues is February 11th at 6pm.

STILLMAN VALLEY (WIFR) -- The Meridian School District is struggling with a more than one million dollar budget deficit, however, they're hoping a new permanent superintendent will help fix that.

For the last seven months P.J. Caposey has doubled as the Assistant Superintendent of Meridian School District and the Stillman Valley High School Principal. Now he's just been named as the district's newest permanent leader.

Caposey stepped in to help the district which is facing a more than one million dollar budget deficit. Administrators have tried to overcome that by raising property taxes. An idea local homeowners quickly shot down last year.

Caposey says his biggest hurdle will be the financial woes, however, he plans to be more transparent by starting a district newsletter and using social media.

Board members say a possible solution would be a back door referendum to raise taxes. Yet dozens of taxpayers just petitioned that claiming they want to right to vote on it.

Caposey says it's too early to tell if the referendum will appear on the November ballot.

Caposey won't officially start as superintendent until the end of June. That's when Dr. Robert Willis's interim contract expires. Dr. Willis says he thinks he'll probably go on to help other school districts in need.

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