School District Faces Budget Deficit
Financial Challenges Continue
Like most Illinois school districts, we continue to be faced with significant financial challenges. This is nothing new, as we have had a deficit in the critical Education Fund for what will be the sixth straight fiscal year. Throughout this time, the Peru Elementary School District 124 Board of Education has taken a very cautious and conservative approach in working to reduce costs and make certain that we remain financially sound.
For the fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget, much of the concern is largely due to increasing special education costs, as well as uncertainty with grants and reimbursements from the state of Illinois, recent decreases in federal Title grant funding, lower investment returns and, most significantly, decreases in local property tax revenues due to the currently declining property tax base. We expected major financial adjustments after the financial crisis of 2009, as tax revenues tend to lag behind the general economy.
The Education Fund continues to be monitored very closely as the district has made significant reductions in expenditures over the last several years, including the reduction of approximately ten percent of our staff. The Education Fund is helped by a relatively healthy fund balance the district had accumulated in previous years, even though the fund balance is being spent down as we continue to serve approximately the same number of students that we have in the past.
We will continue to do whatever we can to manage our funds responsibly for our students, school district and local taxpaying community, while continuously working to make sure our students are provided with the best possible education. If you are interested, the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Summary reflects estimated revenues, expenditures and ending fund balances in an easy to read overview of each of the nine funds held by the district.
We believe in transparency and accountability for every dollar we spend, and I welcome your questions, comments or concerns about anything related to the business of running the school district. Please contact me at 815-223-0486 if you need any assistance. Thank you!
Mark R. Cross, Superintendent