Area school districts' 'cash on hand'

This chart shows how many days’ worth of cash school districts had at the end of fiscal 2011, which was June 30, 2011. The information is from the office of Gov. Pat Quinn.

This is how the governor's office describes the source of the calculation:

"The funds included in the ISBE numbers are what are considered the districts’ operational funds.  The exact funds used from the districts FY11 annual financial reports were their educational, operation and maintenance, transportation and working cash funds. The remaining funds that were excluded were the districts’ debt service, municipal retirement/social security, capital projects, tort and fire prevention & safety funds.  Balances carried in these other funds already have a designated purpose and thus were not included in our argument for 'excess reserves.'”

 

School District Days Cash on HandArcola 263.38Armstrong Twp HS306.49Armstrong-Ellis 411.13Arthur 116.97Atwood Hammond 142.11Bement 76.5Bismarck Henning 92.33Bloomington257.95Blue Ridge 214.68Champaign  199.82Cissna Park  165.51Clinton  180.1Crescent Iroquois  267.56Danville 182.65Decatur 68.48Fisher  535.95Georgetown-Ridge Farm 50.31GCMS  228.72Gifford450.57Hoopeston Area  238.39Iroquois West  280.89LeRoy  181.7Ludlow133.35Mahomet-Seymour  93.15Monticello  186.28Oakland  306.55Oakwood  146.06Paxton-Buckley-Loda183.62Potomac  273.83Prairieview-Ogden419.3Prairie Central  104.72Rankin270.1Rantoul City114.71Rantoul Township HS256.67Shiloh  174.77St Joseph 306.36St Joseph Ogden HS 400.33Tuscola  14.6Unit 7  218.6Urbana103Villa Grove  152.33Westville  251.18

 

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cbrads334 wrote on June 26, 2012 at 9:06 am
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I really would've liked to have seen what sort of cash-in-hand the Heritage school district has (SE Champaign County).  This past autumn, one of the administrators wanted to raise the property tax rate claiming the school has lost all kinds of money due to property devaluations.  Is there some way you could come up with that figure?  SE Champaign County would like to know!

Or, if anyone has knowledge of just how to obtain that figure, I'll be more than happy to check it out myself.

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 26, 2012 at 9:06 am
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I'll look into what the state said their cash on hand was at the end of 2011 - I can get that information easily, and I apologize that it wasn't included. Will have to make a few calls as far as property devaluations, though.

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 26, 2012 at 9:06 am
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OK, according to information the state released, Heritage had about 217 days' worth of cash on hand at the end of 2011. However, you saw the accompanying story about how school districts are saying these numbers aren't completely accurate or fair, right?

Meg Dickinson wrote on June 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm
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I found information about Heritage's tax base (also known as equalized assessed valuation) from the Champaign County Clerk, both by calling and on the clerk's website. Last year, it was about $71.1 million. Money is being collected and paid to the school district this year based on that valuation.

For tax year 2010 (which means, for tax money collected last year), Heritage's tax base was about $69 million.

Extension sheets, which you can find on the clerk's webste, show assessed values for different kinds of properties - commercial, industrial, farm, residential and railroad. They show that between 2010 and 2011, the value of residential properties went down about $584,000 within the school district. Everything else either stayed the same or increased.

To give a little perspective, I went back as far as I could on the clerk's website, and found that in tax year 2005, Heritage's tax base was about $52.5 million.

You can dig into these numbers on the clerk's website by following this link. You'll have to select Heritage out of a list of school districts to see its specific financial documents. There is also information there about how much it levied, or asked for, in property tax money, and its extension, or the amount it actually received.

School districts can always ask, or levy, for more money (they often ask for more than they know they'll receive, in order to get every possible dollar), but it's the county clerk's office that sets the tax rate.

Hope that helps.

Meg

cbrads334 wrote on July 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm
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Thank you for the information! 

BudE wrote on June 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm

These numbers are just an attempt by Quinn to justify shifting the retirement burden from the state, who receives tax money to cover it, to schools who can't tax for it at this time.  Quinn is trying to penalize fiscally conservative school districts by making them pay for the State not being able to control their spending.  Schools have to come up with a budget every year without the benefit of knowing their income.  Property tax returns change year to year and no one has any idea what percentage of their portion the state will pay.  A school district that does not have a year in reserves is in a precarious situation.

cbrads334 wrote on July 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm
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I wouldn't hold Quinn as the only one accountable.  The real problem goes back many years to when the state retirement system was first raided.  I recall thinking at that time that there would eventually be a day of reckoning for raiding the pension system, and that day has come.  It's more fair to blame all the lawmakers who served at that time, and continue to support raiding pension systems, for that fiasco.

Also, the GOP held back and would not approve the budget that Quinn requested, so you have to cut somewhere.  I am not disrespecting the idea of cutting budgets, especially considering the shape Illinois is in financially; however, there must and will be cuts, and it will hurt, due to present budget constraints.

I find it ironic that places that are experiencing closings of institutions/programs (in areas where Republican legislators were elected) approving and crying out for budget constraints.  Well, they got what they wanted by voting for the GOP.  Quinn's budget downsized, less spending..........what they didn't count on was that THEY were the ones who'd get the blunt end of the stick.  Did they really think that Quinn would close institutions in an area that voted for the Democrats first?  Be realistic.  Either party would protect their own before protecting people who voted for the 'other side'.  That's the truth, and you know it.

There is no bi-partisanship.  It's all about party loyalty, so one should choose wisely whom they cast their votes for.