MERIDIAN — In response to "School spending needs prioritization"
I first want to thank you for your concerns regarding the Meridian Public School District. Concerned citizens such as yourself are always the catalyst for school improvement.
At the closing of your article titled, "School spending needs prioritizing," you mentioned that you welcomed any corrections to your facts. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some misinformation that you have posted in the local newspaper.
It is true that our 2009/10 Children First annual report shows that MPSD had a $10,360 per student budget. What it doesn't tell you is that, due to decreased property values in the city and a 15 percent cut in federal funds, MPSD lost nearly $2 million in revenue last year.
With that said, teachers still receive supply money from the district to purchase supplies. There was a shortage of textbook material when I first arrived here in 2011, but over the last two years we have spent significant amounts of funds to purchase textbooks and other instructional material. In fact, we have budgeted over $500,000 for textbooks for the 2-13-14 school year.
The school board is comprised of five members, all appointed by the elected mayo. The school board members are held accountable by the mayor's position (who appoints the school board members) and the community in which they serve.
I will now address the spending "facts" that you stated were conducted over the last five years:
• The $3 million multi-purpose building was funded by a bond issue that was approved by the community. It is called a multi-purpose building because it serves numerous roles to include: a) It houses instructional classrooms; b) It serves as the site where ---fans can purchase tickets to athletic events; c) It serves as a training and event site for MPSD educators and school-related events; d) It serves as the site where fans can purchase tickets to athletic events; e) and finally, it serves as a football locker room for our amazing Wildcat Football Team. Hence the term, multi-purpose building.
• You are correct in the fact that the new artificial football field was donated by many outstanding, and committed community supporters, but are incorrect in stating that the school district or taxpayers will be responsible for making payments on the field. The concerned citizens financed this project exclusive of MPSD.
• The football lights that were purchased several years ago were a part of the bond issue that was voted on, and approved, by the community.
• I have no knowledge of MPSD using any district funds to repair the track or tennis field.
• There are no plans for MPSD to purchase the land to build two ball fields south of the school.
* In addition to being able to view teacher salaries, the district website lists the administrator salary schedule for education administrators. Please look more carefully on the web page under "employment opportunities."
• Our district prides ourselves on our athletic department, but I have been very clear that our number one and number 2 priorities are: 1) Maintain safe and orderly schools; and 2) Improve student academic achievement. Nothing takes precedence over these two goals.
Again Mr. Martin, I thank you for stating that you welcomed the opportunity for your facts to be corrected. In the future, please just give me a call before-hand. Because I could have helped clear up a lot of your confusion before you mailed off your erroneous editorial.
Dr. Alvin Taylor, Superintendent
Meridian Public School District