We are pleased that the state budget we voted for and that was signed into law protects Kindergarten-12th grade education funding, while ensuring that government lives within its means. We want you to know that the Peoria School District, along with most other districts in the state, received an increase in funding from this budget, not a cut as some have claimed.
We are truly mystified by e-mails sent by the Peoria School District claiming that the state budget we just passed cut their budget when the State’s nonpartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee says Peoria Unified School District received an increase in funds.
Our colleague, Sen. Debbie Lesko, like other PUSD parents, received emails and phone calls from the district making claims of state budget cuts and asking parents to choose between a four-day school week and employee layoffs in a survey. She knew the information being sent to parents conflicted with what she was being told by state budget staff, so she sent the Superintendent an email on March 3rd including the state budget committee attachment showing that PUSD would receive a budget increase and asked the superintendent to explain the conflict. She sent another e-mail on March 15 and again on March 20 to the superintendent, copying the school board members and legislators. The e-mails asked the superintendent to explain the conflict in budget numbers. At the time of this writing, an answer has not yet been received.
It is important that school board members and parents have accurate information when the school district is considering shortening the school week to four days, laying off employees, or asking homeowners and business owners to increase their property taxes in the form of another bond or override.
We have always had a good working relationship with the school districts. We share the common goal of improving education for all children and we cherish the hard work of the teachers and support staff in our schools. Again, we want parents to know that the recently passed state budget increased, not decreased, funding to the Peoria School District. Let’s hope this conflict in information is cleared up soon so that we can continue to make educated and well-informed decisions for the good of our children.
Senator Kimberly Yee, District 20
Senator Debbie Lesko, District 21
Senator Judy Burges, District 22
Representative Paul Boyer, District 20
Representative Anthony Kern, District 20
Representative Rick Gray, District 21
Representative Tony Rivero, District 21
Representative David Livingston, District 22
Representative Phil Lovas, District 22