Meridian district’s budget change

by Karrigan True, Photographer

When Dan Brue got hired as the superintendent for the Meridian school district, he immediately noticed that there needed to be a change. The current budget wasn’t working out for the district, so Brue decided to make a few changes to make the process more practical.

“We didn’t have enough money and this is what we needed to do for our students,” said Brue.

At the beginning of each year, the school is provided with three main sources of revenue. Federal dollars, which make up 10% of the budget. Tax dollars, make up 45-50% of the budget. With the third being state dollars. The state of Illinois provides three main funds, transportation dollars, grant dollars [early childhood block grant], and General State Aid, or GSA.

Going back eight years, GSA was supposed to provide the school with $6,119 for each k-12 student. The state didn’t have enough money to fund it. The school only got around 90% of what they were supposed to get, therefore things had to be limited.

Two years ago Illinois passed an Evidence-Based Funding model that changed factors they look at when deciding how much money the school receives. “This worked out in our benefit,” said Brue. During the 2017-18 school year, the school received $70,000 more than the previous year. This year they received another $40,000 more that they did not get last year. “We’re up about $110,000,” said Brue.

The biggest change made for the school was purchasing buses instead of renting. This made them spend around $400,000 less. And there were also several teaching positions added.

“Some of the things I noticed as a result of having more teachers are less stress on the teacher and more time to spend with students,” said Jeanne Felter, a Meridian Elementary School kindergarten teacher. “It’s also less likely to have behavioral issues.”

“It has been wonderful to have another teacher added to our team this year. We are able to give more one on one time with each student and this in return will help with a better understanding of the curriculum for each student,” said Melanie Merano, Meridian Elementary School kindergarten teacher.