Tax increase looms over
Meridian schools

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
July 20, 2004
Property owners in Meridian would pay about 2.7 percent more in taxes this year if the city school board approves a proposed $60.5 million budget for the current fiscal year.
Meridian public school officials said the tax increase would be used to repay $1.75 million the school district plans to borrow to fund school building repairs.
Smith and other school district officials outlined the proposed budget during a public hearing Monday that was attended by about 20 people including school board members and district employees.
The Meridian School Board is expected to vote on the budget at a meeting on July 27. The budget will fund the school district's fiscal year that began July 1 and ends June 30, 2005.
The proposed budget is $4.1 million, or about 7 percent, more than last year's $56.4 million budget. The proposed tax increase would affect residents who live inside the city school district.
Smith said the budget would raise taxes slightly.
For example, she said, the owner of a $50,000 home would pay about $10 more a year; the owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $20 more; and the owner of a $150,000 home would pay about $25 more.
Smith said the average home in Meridian is valued at $47,000.
About 60 percent of the proposed budget would fund teacher salaries and classroom supplies and materials including $1.6 million to supplement state funds so school teachers can receive an 8 percent pay raise.
Other highlights include a $604,000 increase in the cost of district employee health insurance. Individual insurance coverage will cost the district $280 per person, up from the $228 the district spent last year.
Next year, Smith said, school district employees will have to pay $438 to add a family onto their health insurance policy. That amount is an increase of $82 over last year.

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