District 150 crunches budget numbers, looks to reduce deficit

By Marshanna Hester

District 150 crunches budget numbers, looks to reduce deficit

August 26, 2013 Updated Aug 26, 2013 at 11:12 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- District 150 is facing a nearly $3 million budget deficit for the fiscal year. But its treasurer hopes unexpected funds from the state will significantly close the gap.

Dave Kinney said the district received $2.4 million dollars in corporate property replacement taxes.

An audit in progress will include those monies.

Once the report is complete in November, Kinney said the deficit should decrease to about $435,000.

But the district still needs more revenue sources.

The projected budget deficit next fiscal year is just under $6 million.

Kinney said it's a challenge the district can live with for one year.

"We're going to start this year, outside of debt services and capital projects, with a fund balance of about $50 million," he said. "That does include our working cash, but that does give us some fund balances. So if we're $6 million in the red for one year, we're still going to be in good shape."

District 150 Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan said research continues on how or if Peoria Stadium could be a source of funding.

But she says approval of a county-wide facilities sales tax would generate $9 million a year, money that could put air conditioning in the last 10 schools without it.

"I know parents have sent a lot of emails and told us we need to re-think our calendar, start after Labor Day, where there is no guarantee it won't be 90 or 95 degrees after Labor Day," said Dr. Lathan. "So trying to play the schedule around Labor Day, I don't think will get to the bottom line. But having money to improve our facilities, that would get to the bottom line and it would help air condition all of our schools."

The treasurer will monitor the district's finances all year long.

He is recommending to the board they do not cut any programs or student services at this time.

In other news, a District 150 lawsuit against Dunlap School District is settled out of court...

The District 150 Board unanimously approved a $60,000 settlement agreement Monday night.

The Dunlap board has already agreed to the terms.

Earlier this year, District 150 sued the Dunlap district over six years of property tax receipts that were sent to Dunlap instead of Peoria.

The original amount owed was about $125,000.