STILLMAN VALLEY - An almost two million dollar budget shortfall is coupling with a federal civil lawsuit to make quite the headache for Meridian CUSD 223. The school district has been facing the deficit for a while, but Tuesday night they held a meeting to discuss the options the future may hold for the under-water school district. Tuesday night's meeting wasn't the first meeting regarding the options for Meridian CUSD 223, but rather it was the first time people could comment or ask questions at a meeting.
"I feel as though I'm not educated enough on the possible budget cuts," said Kim Carow, parent of a 6th grader. Carow says she attended the meeting because she's concerned the school district might be targeting cuts that would affect certain extracurricular activities.
Carow was joined by
dozens of other people in packing
"We may have to vote on this and I'd like to vote knowing the facts and make an intelligent vote," said Ralph Hoekstra, who says he has two children who went through the school district, one of which received her Ph.D.
"The EAV has fallen off, and we've had a PTAB decision that makes us essentially have to pay back some of the taxes generated from the landfill," said Bruce Larson, president of the Meridian CUSD 223 School Board.
Larson claims the decline of property values along with even greater decline by the landfill, along with the state being behind in paying the school district is leaving them with a $1.9 million budget shortfall. That shortfall has the district facing some tough decisions.
"The way that the board has been looking at this is what is feasible to cut that's not going to affect any programs at all," said Larson.
"Those are cuts we're hoping to avoid, but we will have to consider deeper cuts depending on where we find ourselves as a result of whether the referendum passes."
That referendum the school district puts up for a vote in April isn't a cure all for the districts four schools. The proposed tax increase will only cover part of the deficit with smaller cuts to follow suit. The district is just looking to avoid those major cuts; cuts to programs like the arts, music and its award-winning sports program.
"There's a lot more that faces our education system today than what I was ever aware of before," said Larson.
One of those new
things facing the
This isn't the first time Dr. Morelan has come under fire for harassment. The Kenosha News reported in 2003 that Dr. Morelan was fired from his job as a middle school principal for allegedly making sexual advances on an employee.