Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Another Potential Flip-Flop Documented—School Districts

I've been covering Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley's flip-flop regarding not using condemnation on an over $100 million Tax Increment Financing district, so when this Carpentersville School District situation came up, I thought it deserved a story.

Jeffrey Gaunt, the Daily Herald reporter has set the stage for documenting “a possibility (of) directly contradict(ing) statements Arndt, Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates and former school board President John Court made before last spring’s election.

By now Carpentersville School District 300 and Huntley's 158 officials must wish Gaunt would be transferred to another reporting beat, don’t you think?

In a Tuesday article, Gaunt calls the three school officials on considering using a high cost borrowing method called “capital appreciation bonds.”

I can’t improved on Gaunt’s definition, so I won’t try. They are

bonds (that) allow school districts and other taxing bodies to delay loan interest payments.

In the short term, the bonds allow the taxing body to hold down tax rates.

But in the long term, those delayed interest payments are compounded, and taxpayers end up footing even larger bills.
Gaunt and fellow reporter Emily Krone (who covers the Elgin School District) did a splendid analysis of high cost bonds, which was unfortunately published after the election at which all sorts of bond issues were on the ballot, if memory serves me correctly.

In any event, the three District 300 folks told the Daily Herald’s editorial board they would not use such high cost bonds.

But, now they’re considering it, supposedly, because the big, bad state government did not come through with a state subsidy.

Of course, anyone with a brain knew that the state was in financial trouble and was unlikely to be able to afford continuing the huge subsidies the Capital Development Board had previously paid.

The administrators said the District 300 Board of Education would make the decision.

Again, stating the obvious.

Now I’m beginning to wonder if this is where the money will come from to buy Summit School.

And, guess who was representing William Blair & Company at District 300?

It's that smiling blond who was at Crystal Lake School District 47's board meeting in December. I learned her name is Elizabeth Hennessy.

She is also the consultant for Grayslake School District 46, which is backing off on promises to abate property taxes, according to Daily Herald reporter Lee Filas' story today.

The headline on the Grayslake story:
Grayslake school board rejects earlier pledge of tax rebate
The result:
the district will keep the $6.9 million it collected over the state-imposed debt limit as part of the $23.2 million referendum that funded construction of Prairieview and Frederick schools.
= = = = =

The top photo is of District 300 Superintendent Kenneth Arndt. Second is one of Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates conferrering with Tom Hay, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.

The bottom head shot is of Wm. Blair & Company consultant Elizabeth Hennessy.

Posted first at McHenry County Blog where you can read about the 62 million internet prescription doc from Crystal Lake who just got sentenced in Iowa.

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