Why Meridian Schools Need Emergency Funding

Sep 14, 2012

As a group, property owners in Meridian and Eagle will pay half a million dollars more this year. That’s because the state’s largest school district passed an emergency levy this week. This type of levy does not require voter approval. School boards can pass them if student enrollment exceeds expectations.

Anne Ritter is vice chair of the Meridian School Board. She says in her eleven years the board has passed an emergency levy every fall. Last year’s was for $1.2 million and the new one is $1.76 million. The emergency, Ritter says, stems from the district having 150 more new students than leaders had budgeted for.

“It’s an emergency from our standpoint because as the number of students increase the needs increase,” Ritter says. “We need to purchase equipment, materials, content maybe even desks in order to service those kids. And we don’t want those costs to impact the educational program that we’ve already set up for the other students that were already enrolled.”

Ritter says estimating enrollment is not an exact science. This year Meridian budgeted for 600 new students and got 750.

The Nampa School board also approved an emergency levy for $230,000. That’s on top of the $1.6 million levy Nampa voters approved two weeks ago.

Other Idaho districts are also implementing emergency levies. They include Kimberly and Dietrich near Twin Falls, and the Teton District in eastern Idaho.  In the north, Post Falls will consider one this weekend.