Voters Reject School Referendum

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UPDATE: April 10th, 2013

STILLMAN VALLEY (WIFR) -- Stillman Valley voters rejected the idea of paying higher property taxes. It was part of the Meridian School Referendum to raise them by one percent to help the district with a 1.2 million dollar budget deficit. However, local parents say that’s one hit they couldn’t afford to take.

“The referendum was a lot, it was almost $1,000 to our household.”

Michelle Thomason refuses to pay nearly $1,000 a year in additional property taxes. With three kids in the Meridian School District, she says it’s something she couldn’t afford to do. “That’s almost a hundred dollars a month. That’s almost a week’s worth of groceries for our family, and I’m sorry but I have to feed my kids before I worry about sports and everything else,” said Thomason.

That’s why Thomason voted against the school board referendum, which was a plan to increase property taxes in Stillman Valley by one percent to provide more money for Meridian Schools. The district faces a $1.2 million dollar budget deficit next year. School administrators are forced to borrow more state money since voters rejected the proposal.

“We’ve cut as many things around the edges as we can, with those things such as textbooks and supplies, you can only cut so much and then after a while you’re going to have to start replacing.”
Interim Superintendent Jim Brown says they’ll probably eliminate some sports and other extra-curricular activities and lay off almost a dozen teachers. Although Thomason doesn’t want to see that happen, she says she must provide for her family.

A new school board meets in a few weeks to discuss budget cuts and the possibility of selling bonds. Most of the big changes will not happen until the 2014-2015 school year.

STILLMAN VALLEY (WIFR) -- Voters in Stillman Valley will be making an important decision about the future of the Meridian School District. There’s a question on today’s ballot asking voters if they want to raise their property tax rate by 1% in order to provide more funding to the schools. The Meridian School District is facing a $1.2 million budget deficit next year. The District says the increase would give them about $2 million extra dollars to work with. Voters say, regardless if they support the increase, it was important to cast a ballot today.

It’s an important issue for the kids, it’s an important issue for the schools,” said Ken Kovar, a Stillman Valley Voter. “That’s our future and our future property values too. I think it’s important we have good schools. That alone keeps our property values high. I’ve always like the schools in Stillman Valley where we live.”

School Board members say, if the referendum passes, the school district wouldn’t ask for the maximum amount of taxes from property owners, just enough to cover the budget shortfall.

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