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District 150 Projects $6 Million Budget Deficit

PEORIA - Peoria Public Schools projects a $6 million budget deficit for the 2013-14 academic school year.
PEORIA - Peoria Public Schools projects a $6 million budget deficit for the 2013-14 academic school year.
Treasurer Dave Kinney says the budget is not where he'd like it to be, but there is no need for panic.
"We are in a position where we can take a hit for a year."
Kinney says the district's overall revenue is down. State funding is unreliable, and property taxes are lower. He thinks both revenue sources are keys to eradicating the problem.
"If they fully fund state aid and if we just got next year what we got last year in property taxes - that deficit would go away," said Kinney.  
For now, Kinney says the district is okay because of $50 million in fund reserves.
“So if we're $6 million in the red for one year we're still going to be in good shape,” said Kinney. “You know we'll dip into our reserves. We'll live with what the state is doing to us this year, with the idea that we want to protect our programs that we put in place and want to keep doing what we're doing now."
Of its plans to get out of the red, the district will seek grants, monitor overtime for employees and continue its pursuit to sell properties. Downsizing or eliminating programs is not on the table, said Kinney. The district says recent investments like school counselors and expansion of the E.L.I.T.E. program to two schools, are proving to be valuable initiatives that are producing positive results.  
"So we're trying to keep most of our expenses as close to the children as we can. We've made improvements. We're seeing results and I think this is not the time to undo that," he said.  
Kinney says other school districts are experiencing similar issues.  
The district announced a $3 million deficit at the end of the 2012-13 school year. However, according to Kinney, the district recently received $2.4 million in state replacement taxes that will help cut that deficit down.
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