District 150 Projects $12.5 Mil Budget Deficit in 2015

District 150 Projects $12.5 Mil Budget Deficit in 2015

PEORIA - Peoria Public Schools believes it is time to find new streams of revenue after unveiling a multimillion dollar deficit for next academic year.
PEORIA - Peoria Public Schools believes it is time to find new streams of revenue after unveiling a multi-million dollar deficit for next academic year. The district spoke on money woes during Monday’s board meeting. District 150 Schools says its budget challenges are driven more by lack of revenue than overspending.
The projected deficit for 2015 is more than $12.5 million; it is more than double the deficit for the previous budget.
“We definitely need to close this gap between revenues and expenditures,” said the district Chief Financial Officer Mark Wilcockson.
The biggest reason for the drop, according to Wilcockson, is the same, old song: state and federal aid continue to fall.
“Initial summaries from the state board of education indicate that the general state aid will be at 89 percent again this year,” said Wilcockson.
Eleven percent less in state aid equates to nearly $5.5 million less to the district. Wilcockson suggests the district look at other revenues.
"I've said it before, that 84 percent of our expenditures are for salaries and benefits so when you look at cuts it's hard to do it without affecting the people that work here,” he explained.
In the meantime, he recommends a special budget committee. 
"With a budget you really need to have a conversation between the finance side and the teaching and learning side to make sure that things that are included in the budget are priorities.”
Wilcockson says the district needs to start planning the budgets at least a year in advance. As it currently stands, a district spokesperson says the state mandates district submit a budget reduction plan that totals nearly $1.1 million.  

 
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