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Peoria Public School Board Approves 2016-2017 Budget, Amid Uncertain State Funding

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The Peoria Public School Board approved a $179 million operating budget for this academic year. The District 150 spending plan factors in a $4.4 million operating deficit.

The deficit gap is an improvement from initial budget estimates, due to a slight increases in state funding.

Superintendent Sharon Kherat says they continue to cut where they can.

“Expenses continue to go up. So it is very very challenging and we are working very very hard to get a balanced budget. And it’s tough. We definitely need more support from the state of Illinois.”

Kherat says the district still faces a teacher shortage with more than 40 vacancies. This year’s planned operating deficit added to that of last year, totals more than $14 million.

The region’s largest urban school district is still able to cover the funding gaps with cash reserves.  

In other education related news:

The City County Health Department is supporting the 1/2 cent Schools Facility Sales Tax. A group called Friends of Peoria County Schools also says Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis has agreed NOT to speak against it.

The Sales Tax referendum would provide an estimated 9 million dollars a year to help pay for building improvements in 18 Peoria County School districts. The group supporting the tax is kicking-off its “YES” campaign at Richwoods High School Thurs. at 3:30pm.