District 150 interim comptroller talks about tackling budget deficit

By WEEK Producer

September 15, 2012 Updated Sep 17, 2012 at 10:13 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The interim comptroller and treasurer for Peoria District 150 says a property tax hike isn't something he sees on the horizon as the school district tries to close a $4 million budget gap.

Dr. David Kinney spoke to the monthly meeting of the League of Women Voters Saturday morning at the District 150 administration office.

He explained to the group how the district budget works.

Kinney said the first area where potential cuts are expected to be considered is non-teaching staff. From there, it gets tougher, but Kinney sees some creative ways to cut corners.

"We'll certainly look at all of our contracts. We're going to look into more things we can do to save energy costs," said Kinney. "Can we do a better job of looking at competitors for pricing?"

Kinney also suggested the district might go searching for additional sponsorships to raise revenue.

He says he's optimistic about trimming the deficit, but says the school board is always mindful of things that are beyond the district's control.

"One of the things that catches us by surprise sometimes is the loss of a revenue," Kinney explained. "For example, we did not see this 14-point-7 percent drop in replacement taxes coming. I don't think most districts did. So, in some respects, it's very difficult to predict what the state will do."

Kinney pointed out that the $4 million deficit is just slightly more than 2 percent of District 150's $174 million budget.