Ptacek Talks Possible End to PPRT Upswing for District 117

By Benjamin Cox on May 20, 2023 at 11:24am

A revenue stream for Jacksonville School District 117 that has had a recent boom is expected to taper off in the next few months.

Personal Property Replacement Tax distributions from the State saw increases each month between $100,000 and $500,000 each month between July 2022 to January 2023. March until current have seen massive decreases in about the same range.

Despite the swing, the district’s overall fund balances are up over a $6.3 million surplus for the year. Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the district can look at the surplus two different ways: “There is two ways to look at. One: if we are going to go through some lean times, you want to make sure that you have that fund balance to ensure that if you are having to deficit spend for awhile, you will have some money as a cushion. We do have a sizable fund balance that we can also talk about doing some projects with it also. We have to be very smart about that, because [the surplus] would be committed to projects that if we were to invest in, we might also see a cost savings over time for not having to do other repairs or maintenance. Right now, we don’t have any definite plans [for that surplus], and we are considering some other options. We are really focused on and before we spent any money on a large project, I would want to see actually where the finances are over the next couple of years. Two years from now I’ll be able to tell you whether that money could just be used on facilities or we have to use it for annual budgeting purposes.”

Ptacek told the school board it’s all about keeping the district on sound financial footing with a shaky outlook ahead for state revenues due to a downturn in their forecast.

Despite the alleged downturn in state revenues that have been projected, Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget from February asked for an increase of 6.2% to K-12 education in the upcoming year, specifically with a focus on early childhood education and child care programs.