PUSD CFO Ken Hicks

The Peoria Unified School District Governing Board unanimously approved the 2016-17 Maintenance and Operations budget during the July 14 board meeting.

After voters approved the district override of 13 percent in November 2015 and Prop 123 in May 1016, the district’d budget will increase by just over 4.5 percent.

The total maintenance and operations budget is $207,509,732, which includes the increases from Prop 123 and the override. The primary tax rate includes an increase of .02 for a total $4.95 per $100,000, while the secondary rate increased .38 to $3.22.

The budget also includes a nearly $3.5 million increase in salaries and benefits, a decrease in payments to the state employee-retirement benefits system, and a $1.3 million reduction in maintenance costs.

“This year, with the approval of the override and Prop 123, each elementary site can expect additional kindergarten teachers as we implement free all-day kindergarten and all staff will see an increase in their compensation,” said PUSD Chief Financial Officer Ken Hicks.

The override was increased from 10 to 13 percent with the passage in November and Prop. 123 will add additional funds.

• School received their first of many payments recently when approximately $224 million was distributed for the end of fiscal year 2016; $172 million from the state land trust and $52 million in new dollars from the general fund.

• Without Prop 123, schools would have only received about $47 million in both fiscal years 2016 and 2017 from the state land trust.

• The passage of the initiative means schools will receive another $172 million from the land trust for a total of $219.4 million in fiscal year 2016 and $219.8 million in fiscal year 2017.

• Additionally, Prop 123 adds $58 million from the general fund for fiscal year 2017.

Hicks said the district began working on the new budget in late November and culminated with the unanimous vote July 14.

“The process started in late November and in January, administration began discussing areas and issues with the governing board,” Hicks said. “This continued throughout the year until May. Then, administration put everything together for the proposed budget in June.”

Hicks said the effect on homeowners will be less than the district projected.

“The voters approved an increase in the district’s override form 10 to 13 percent,” Hicks said. “That increase is funded by an increase in property taxes. This net increase in property taxes will be a little less than projected. It is expected that the average homeowner in the district will see an average increase of less than $5 per month.”

Hicks said the increases will be seen throughout the district because of the approved budget passages by the voters.

“The district is very appreciative of the voters and their willingness to increase their taxes and to support the passage of Prop 123, which has some increase from the General Fund, but is primarily funded from State Land Trust funds,” Hicks said. “Our community continues to show support for education and the district takes that support very seriously.  The district has many challenges, but the board, administration and staff are committed to doing what is best for students. This budget will provide increases in compensation, increases in classroom resources and an increase in special education services and the district is excited to start the new fiscal year.”