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franklin county times

McLin speaks on bonds, board and bucks

By Staff
Dr. Janet McLin spoke to The Meridian Star's Editorial Board recently. Photo by Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
June 25, 2001
Dr. Janet McLin, superintendent of the Meridian Public School District, said the hardest part of her job is focusing on what's best for the largest number of children.
The most exciting part of her job? Being able to affect the lives of some 7,000 children in a positive way.
State funding
The state Legislature promised a teacher pay raise this year, and delivered it but it left local school districts in a deficit position.
For the upcoming school year the district is anticipating a cut of $1 million. The state is allowing school districts to use teaching materials/textbook money to make up for some cuts. McLin said the district will use about $430,000 of that money to make up the loss.
District officials also included a .48 mill increase in ad valorem tax in their proposed budget, generating about $300,000, and plan to dip into the general fund balance for another $250,000.
The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget Wednesday.
Bond issues and board appointments
Another bond issue will come. When, McLin doesn't know.
Twice last year, the district attempted to pass a $31.5 million bond issue for new construction. The district's newest building is Carver Middle School, built in 1967. Its oldest is Witherspoon, built in 1888.
McLin favors naming a resident of the Meridian Separate School District to the Meridian School Board. Voters from this area generally voted against the bond issue because of their lack of representation on the school board. The final decision rests with Mayor John Robert Smith and the Meridian City Council.
Last school year, 227 city students lived in the separate school district. A new law that goes into effect July 1 allows parents to send their children to city schools if the city council does not appoint a school board member from their area. If all of them did so, the city school district would lose between $800,000 and $1 million in state funding and ad valorem taxes.
Tests, accreditation and vouchers
McLin said she expects to see higher standardized test scores in the district. Students took tests in May. She said the bulk of the results will be received in November.
In 2003, the district will get accreditation ratings again. It will be done in two parts with each school being rated, for the most part, based on student performance on standardized tests. The district will also receive a rating based on process standards, such as class size and its certified teachers.
McLin likes the new accreditation rating system and she does not see it as a precursor to vouchers.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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