Meridian school trustees face high-stakes levy vote

January 10, 2014 

Meridian School District trustees are expected to set the amount Tuesday they will ask voters to approve for a supplemental levy to help pay for the district’s operations.

A levy for $14 million runs out this year. District officials are considering asking for the same amount. An election is expected in March.

But the stakes are higher this time.

Meridian has all but drained its reserve fund paying for day-to-day operations as the state cut education funding during the recession. It pulled out $6 million for this year, leaving a fund balance of only about $2 million.

If Meridian can’t find money to replace the $6 million in reserve and the $14 million from the expiring levy, the district could be forced to make some deep cuts.

Even if it gets the money, the district will only be able to match this year’s programs - no extras, said Linda Clark, district superintendent.

Losing the $14 million levy would be the equivalent of 18 days of school, Clark said.

Meridian Schools could get $4 million from the state under Gov. Butch Otter’s plan to repay some of the dollars lost to schools during the budget cuts, but the Legislature has yet to decide whether to support Otter’s proposal to add $35 million to the state school budget this year as a down payment toward restoring the cuts statewide.

Meridian’s board meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Sawtooth Room at the district office, 1303 East Central Drive, Meridian.

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