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Helping School Districts Increase Efficiency Realize Revenue

Every Dollar Saved or Earned Goes to Educating Students

PEORIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS | PEORIA, ILLINOIS

When you have financial responsibility for a school district with more than 2,000 employees, 13,000-plus students and a $180 million annual budget, you need a banking partner who can provide a whole suite of solutions such as automating accounts payables and receivables; finding ways to generate revenue; and to paying employees with prepaid payroll cards. The finance department at Peoria Public Schools turns to Commerce Bank for these services and more.

“We are always trying to operate more efficiently,” said Mike McKenzie, comptroller, Peoria Public Schools. “Every dollar we save or earn goes towards our purpose of educating children.”

Partnering with Commerce Bank Leads to Innovation

For more than ten years, Peoria Public Schools has primarily worked with Commerce Bank for its banking needs. The district relies on Commerce for investments, capital leases, cash management, merchant services and commercial lines of credit.

“Prior to consolidating our accounts with Commerce Bank, we were managing 12 accounts at several different banks,” said McKenzie. “With so many accounts to reconcile, it was hard to be innovative.”

Upon realizing its new banking efficiencies, Peoria Public Schools was ready to take advantage of Commerce’s full breadth of AP/AR services from CommercePayments™.

Automating AP/AR Saves Time, Earns Money

The district’s accounts payable process used to be cumbersome and tedious with employees printing and mailing checks to nearly 200 vendors. Through CommercePayments™ ACH Payments and AP Card, the department automated nearly 900 transactions over the past year.

The Peoria Public School district also uses automation to generate revenue. CommercePayments™ enrolls vendors in its virtual card payment program and when suppliers accept payments this way, the school district earns revenue share. It has earned more than $60,000 since implementing the program in 2018. That influx of money goes directly into the district’s education fund.

Another way the school district is automating its finance department is by expanding it’s capabilities to accept debit and credit cards for school-related fees and fundraising efforts.

Adding Efficient Reconciliation, Fraud Protection

Building on its success, Peoria Public Schools is eyeing more technological innovations including the Positive Pay feature from CommercePayments™, which allows the district to submit a daily electronic file detailing its issued checks.

As those are presented for payment, the Positive Pay function electronically compares them to the information provided, helping protect the district’s bank accounts from check fraud while also enabling a more efficient reconciliation process.

In 2019, the Peoria Public Schools received a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International. “CommercePayments™ helps us identify issues before they become problems, which makes them a valued strategic financial partner,” said McKenzie.

“We were managing 12 different accounts at several banks, which was a burden on our time. Once we consolidated our accounts with Commerce Bank, we became efficient and innovative.”
— MIKE MCKENZIE 
Comptroller, Peoria Public Schools


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