SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Bill aims to limit excessive school district cash reserves

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – The overall financial health of Illinois school districts has been improving in recent years, according to a recent state report, but a bill moving through the General Assembly seeks to rein in the amount of money some districts are saving.

Senate Bill 1994, which passed unanimously out of the Senate last week and now awaits action in the House, would put a cap on how much money school districts could hold in reserves. Districts that exceed it would be required to file a report with the state.

“They’re kind of like a nonprofit where, you know, money comes in and resources come in, and then it needs to be spent,” the bill’s sponsor Sen. Meg Loughran Cappel, D-Shorewood, said during an interview. “Like, yes, you need to have savings. Yes, those are good practices. But you can’t just be sitting on all this cash and then not doing anything with it.”

The Illinois State Board of Education publishes a report each year measuring the financial health of all 852 school districts in the state. The report looks at several factors such as their expenditure-to-revenue ratio, short-term and long-term debt, and how many days’ worth of cash on hand they keep.

ISBE uses those factors to generate an overall “financial profile” score for each district. Over the last seven years, the latest report noted, the statewide average score has risen steadily.

To receive ISBE’s highest rating, districts must keep the equivalent of 180 days of operating expenditures on hand. The agency also notes that bond underwriters and financial advisers typically recommend 144 to 180 days of operating expenditures.

According to the most recent report, which includes data from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021, 70 percent of districts had cash reserves of between 100 and 359 days of expenses. But 197 districts, or 23 percent, had reserves of 360 to 720 days, and 10 districts had reserves greater than 720 days.

The report does not identify which districts have those large reserves.

SB 1994 would require districts to calculate their three-year average operating expenses each year and report their cash on hand. If their cash reserves ever exceed 2.5 times their annual average, they would have to submit a plan to ISBE for how they intend to spend those reserves.

Districts would not be required to spend excess reserves, but only to submit the plan detailing how they intend to do so over the next three years.

Cappel said that limit was negotiated with superintendents and other officials involved in school district budgeting who had pushed back against the original version of the bill, which would have required districts to immediately spend down any reserves beyond 250 days of operating expenses.

She noted that there are many reasons why a district might build up large reserves. Some, she said, might save up so they can pay cash for capital expenses like a new security system or to build a new elementary school. Others might be bracing themselves for the possibility that their heating or air conditioning system might go out.

“I don’t want to stop any district, if they’ve got plans to build something that’s appropriate, you know, a kindergarten building or whatever,” she said. “Of course, we want you to be able to use that. So that’s kind of where this came from.”

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

 

Leave a Comment





Local News

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound February 28, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Mary Stanek

Looks like March may go out like a lion

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796. . March comes in like a lamb – it goes out like a lion! A sneak peek at the weather forecast for the next 10 days does show some mild days. So, we welcome…

Kathy Headley

Weather cooperated for Marine’s return

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . After the surprising snow coming down like a blizzard for a while last Friday night, I was especially glad to see the sun Saturday morning, for Patrick Downs (St. Rita High School class of…

Peggy Zabicki

Slam the brakes on reckless drivers

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . The most popular topic of conversation in our neighborhood lately is the problem of speeding drivers. There are car accidents every single day due to drivers who break the law. I hope the city will add even more…

Hon. Koula Fornier

Fournier resigns from TTO to become judge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Lyons Township Trustees of Schools is accepting applications for a vacancy on their board, after Trustee Koula A. Fournier resigned earlier this month after being sworn-in as a Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Fournier was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the Maloney vacancy of…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Hoops Wrap | Curie, Rice and Marist among area regional champs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The original March Madness got underway last week across Illinois, and several area teams were crowned regional champions. Teams still alive in Class 4A are Marist and Curie, and in Class 3A are Brother Rice, De La Salle, Evergreen Park and Mount Carmel.   CLASS 4A Marist (29-4) cruised…

Evergreen Park senior Tre Dowdell crosses over a Hillcrest defender during the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional championship game on Feb. 23. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball Class 3A Playoffs | Evergreen Park tops Hillcrest for first regional title since 1974

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Some Evergreen Park players have deep roots in the community, but it was a newcomer that carried the Mustangs to a monumental win. Senior guard Tre Dowdell put up a game-high 30 points and Mustangs rolled to a 74-60 win over Hillcrest in the Class 3A Evergreen Park Regional…

SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview could be the site for Northwestern football games in 2024. Photo by Jeff Vorva

College Football | Northwestern football may play at SeatGeek

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent It appears that Chicago’s Big Ten team will be Bridgeview’s Big Ten team for at least one day. Maybe more. Northwestern has released its 2024 football schedule, but where the Wildcats will play their seven home games is unknown. Their home stadium, Ryan Field in Evanston, is undergoing a…

Nazareth senior Amalia Dray fight through a Kenwood defender during the Roadrunners’ 50-37 win in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional title game. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Girls Basketball | Nazareth tops Homewood-Flossmoor, heads to Illinois Final Four for fifth time in past six seasons

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Nazareth head coach Ed Stritzel has built his Roadrunners into a powerhouse program with a defense-first philosophy that is carrying the reigning Class 3A state champions through another deep postseason run. Four nights after Nazareth held Kenwood to a season-low 37 points in the Class 4A Mother McAuley Sectional…

Mount Carmel's wrestling team celebrates a Class 3A championship. Photo courtesy of Mount Carmel High School

Postseason Roundup | Mount Carmel wrestling wins fifth state title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent During the regular season, only one wrestling team from Illinois beat Mount Carmel in a dual meet. Joliet Catholic got the better of the Caravan with a 38-27 victory on Jan. 18. That came two days after Mount Carmel lost to Crown Point (Indiana). The Caravan will be unable…

Neighbors

Safaa Zarzour

SD229 names former board to replace Cruz 

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong  Oak Lawn High School District 229 board members opted for a familiar face to replace ousted school board member Rob Cruz. Former board member Safaa Zarzour, 58, was named last week to fill Cruz’s term. Cruz was removed from the board by a 6-1 vote at a special board meeting…

Richard Chavez, 24, of Oak Park, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charisma Ehresman of Forest View. (Booking photo)

Oak Park man charged in Forest View woman’s murder

Spread the love

Spread the love By Carol McGowan and Bob Bong A 24-year-old Oak Park man has been arrested and charged in the strangulation death last month of 20-year-old Charisma Ehresman, of Forest View. Richard Chavez, of the 600 block of South Maple Street in Oak Park, was arrested on February 18 at Cook County Jail where…

Kathy Headley

Years later, he still takes the cake

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 In the past I’ve started columns dated Feb. 25 by giving a shout out to former Beatle George Harrison, who would have celebrated his 79th birthday today. Today is no different. He was my favorite of…

Joan Hadac

Laff-Jam coming to St. Bede, no foolin’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joan Hadac GSWNH Columnist At-Large joan.hadac@gmail.com Once again this week, it’s my privilege and pleasure to write the Greater Southwest News-Herald’s column for Greater Ashburn (the Wrightwood, Ashburn, Parkview and Scottsdale neighborhoods). As usual, there are plenty of interesting things happening in this special, vibrant part of Chicago. St. Bede School’s athletics…

Mary Stanek

Best of all, spring is coming

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 284-7394 Mardi Gras, Paczki Day, Fat Tuesday and the start of the Lenten season all happen this coming week. But the absolute best part is, March is here. Spring is just around the corner (we can…

Peggy Zabicki

A sweet treat, right on 63rd Street

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 Hi neighbors! Today is Chocolate Covered Nuts Day. Celebrate wisely. I suggest a trip to Villa’s Nuts and Candy, 4635 W. 63rd St. They have scrumptious chocolate-covered everything and so much more. Call them for information on days and hours at (773) 581-8313.…

Olympic Silver Medalist Abbey Murphy was welcomed back to her home block on 92nd and Ridgeway Avenue in Evergreen Park Thursday night. She stands here alongside Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke (left). (Photos by Kelly White)

Warm homecoming on cold, snowy night for Olympian Abbey Murphy

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Streets lined with residents welcomed back USA Olympic Silver Medalist Abbey Murphy Thursday night to Evergreen Park. The Evergreen Park community has been cheering on 19-year-old Murphy as she and Team USA battled in the women’s hockey tournament at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Countless residents have decorated their houses…

The late CPD Officer Ella French. --Supplied photo

St. Patrick’s Day parade dedicated to Officer Ella French

Spread the love

Spread the loveHeroism, sacrifice to be honored By Tim Hadac A 29-year-old woman remembered as a hero and martyr among many—in Chicago and elsewhere—will be saluted at the Archer Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade, set for Saturday, March 12. The late Chicago Police Officer Ella French, shot to death during a traffic stop near 63rd…

CRRNH_EagleScoutCongrats_022322

Eight years later, an Eagle takes flight

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • joan.hadac@gmail.com Hi everyone. I want to tell you about the eight-year journey of one young man, which started in fourth grade at Kinzie School and ended just recently. His journey took him from Cub Scout Pack 3625 at Kinzie School through…

CRRNH_StDanSpiritDay_022322

A crazy fun day

Spread the love

Spread the love Dahlia Walkosz and Olivia Lopez, fifth graders at St. Daniel the Prophet School, were among many having fun during Crazy Hat Day–part of St. Dan’s efforts to promote good spirit during this year’s Catholic Schools Week. Parents looking for a school for their children for the 2022-23 school year are invited to…