One Year Later: Last-Minute Budget Bill Would Have Funded Schools

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UPDATE- The Stop Gap Bill did not pass. Illinois continues to operate without a budget in place.

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Governor Bruce Rauner announced a partial budget compromise Tuesday evening that would likely offer some relief to officials at Peoria Public Schools.

Like many other districts in the state, the staff has been kept in the dark as to how much general state aid it will receive. With a looming deadline of session ending, the district is getting a possible clearer picture of the money it could receive.

“We’re always juggling a little bit this time a year, trying to figure out what the final number is going to be but this year it’s more uncertain than ever,” said Mike Mckenzie, comptroller for Peoria Public Schools.

“Uncertain” is a word many have used when referencing anything connected to the state budget. This grey area is making Mckenzie’s job somewhat of a guessing game. His district leans heavily on money from General State Aid (GSA) to keep schools open.

“[Without GSA} we’d run out of cash by late November or December and we’d be talking about how do we borrow money to pay salaries and stuff.”

However, a glimmer of hope beamed from Springfield Tuesday. Governor Rauner and Democrats agreed on a Stop Gap Bill. Mckenzie and his team will probably appreciate the part about school districts receiving the same amount of general state aid as last year. It’s a move that removes some uncertainty from the district’s budget process.

“This is an opportunity for the Democrats to rank and file to redeem themselves force their leaders to work with us to get this resolved today,” Jim Durkin, (R) Illinois House Minority Leader

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