Peoria Unified adopts budget for 2024 | News

By Joe McHugh Glendale Star Staff Writer
6 Min Read

The Peoria Unified Governing Board approved its fiscal year 2024 budget at a July 13 board meeting, allocating approximately $423 million for district use.

Michelle Myers, chief financial officer of the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD), presented the proposed total to the board.

The new budget of $423 million is over $15.7 million more than the budget for fiscal year 2023.

Over $307 million of this year’s total is allotted to the maintenance and operating budget, a $5 million increase from last year. This will be used on the majority of the expenditures put forward by the district.

The unrestricted capital fund for 2024 is $58.6 million — a $16.5 million increase set to be spent on safety, technology and new buildings and repairs. The district is also receiving $57.1 million in federal projects other than impact aid.

As the largest portion of the overall funding, the maintenance and operations budget is set to be the foundation on which the district can cover its costs. Including fiscal year 2023 carryover, the fund will include an abundance of changes in employee salaries and wages, as well as new positions and programs.

Myers later explained there were a number of topics to be addressed in the fund.

These included an increase of bus driver hourly pay from $17 to $19 an hour, classified hourly salary schedule adjustments, merit and performance pay increase, a Spanish immersion stipend, and aid in funding new positions or reclassifications across the district.

The maintenance and operations fund will also help increase base compensation pay based on years of service to 4%, 4.5% and 5% — a $7.4 million projected cost.

The capital fund is where the district will see the majority of physical changes to its schools.

The largest expenditures from the capital fund are two new education buildings at Lake Pleasant Elementary School and Liberty High School.

The district is also planning to invest $5.3 million into safety protocols and technology at its institutions, including door hardware and access, intercom replacements, cameras and vape sensor, and front office remodels.

Other capital fund projects include $6.8 million toward technology improvements, white fleet replacement, auditorium repairs and upgrades, and priority or critical projects.

Another important topic in the budget presentation was the Classroom Site Fund (CSF), which is money set aside as state statute that can be used as classroom teacher or student support funds. It is funded by a six-tenths-of-a-cent state education sales tax.

With a pool of nearly $66 million, the CSF will provide additional funding to full-time employees, as well as increase both performance pay and portions of salaries for eligible full-time employees.

Several cash-controlled and nonlevied funds are also included in the fiscal year 2024 budget.

Myers noted there are no bond dollars or bond budget included in next year’s budget, as there are no more bond sales to include in the total due to the district’s 2012 bond authorization being exhausted.

One of the most important inclusions for the district is school resource and liaison officers.These officers will be placed at every high school in the district, with four liaison officers roaming all other schools in the district. This addition was passed at the Peoria City Council’s June 27 meeting.

Other projects from the budget include $7.5 million toward roofing and weatherization, $2.9 million in E-Rate technology and a $2.1 million retention stipend from Medicaid in Public Schools.

Myers then explained the Elementary and Secondary School Education Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), external funding the district first received in 2019. With its second stipend — ESSER II combined with its third stipend, ESSER III — the district has nearly $40 million to spend on new textbook adoptions, summer school technology, aid and resources, as well as staff training and professional development.

The presentation concluded with the explanation of primary and secondary tax rates, a number that has decreased from 3.99% to 3.38% and 3.02% to 2.11%, respectively, since 2019.

With the budget adopted, there will be two revision sessions this December and in May 2024.

By Joe McHugh Glendale Star Staff Writer

2023-08-04 20:04:00 , – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article

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