Peoria Public Schools currently operates with a deficit of $1,782,530. It may seem like a lot, but it’s less than half of what the deficit was expected to be.
PPS was planning it to be around four million dollars in the red during the 2019-2020 school year. However, Illinois provided the district with an additional 1.1 million dollars in funding after PPS was reclassified.
Illinois determines the funding it gives to different school districts using a tier system — tier 1 being the schools with the most need and tier 4 are schools that are basically self-funded.
Peoria was moved from tier 2 to tier 1 after the state changed their standards. Those standards are based on how much school district can pay for on their own.
Right now, the Peoria school district can pay around 65 percent of what it costs to educate a student in the K-12 system. PPS comptroller Mike McKenzie sums it up.
“This budget is not going to facilitate…go out and spend money on new frivolous things,” said McKenzie.
However, he says the district is still stable and says this funding means they shouldn’t have to cut classrooms further.
“We’re not talking about closing buildings or we’re not talking about making major changes in curriculum and programs,” he added.
What they are talking about, McKenzie says, is finding ways to chip away at the debt. He says improvements made to school buildings and reduced overtime will help them get closer to a balanced budget.