3 years ago by Bob Gough, QuincyJournal.com
Stricter scrutiny from the ISBE is coming in December
At a special Quincy School Board meeting on the district’s financial condition, the district’s business manager said the state is about to come down on Quincy.
Bud Martin said that when the district’s audit is filed in December, the Illinois State Board of Education will classify QSD 172 as “certified in financial difficulty”.
Martin said district officials received a visit from a representative of the ISBE who outlined the situation who said this year’s financial report will put the district under closer scrutiny. The district will have to outline a deficit reduction plan which will be monitored by the state.
“We have to come up with a plan and follow it,” Martin said.
“When we say we are going to do something, they will hold our feet to the fire,” said Superintendent Lonny Lemon.
Martin said the $5 million deficit in the district’s Education Fund, its cash on hand situation and nearly annual short-term borrowing and its “BBB minus” bond rating, which is just above junk bond status, all have led to Quincy’s poor financial condition.
School Board Member Steve Krause suggested working on the plan now and not waiting until December. School Board President Bill Daniels said the Board would hold more meetings to “explore the possibilities of what we need to do here, what are our options and what we might be able to do to deal with it.”
Martin suggested the possibility of a County Sales Tax to help shift the revenue burden from property owners to a broad group of people: Those who shop in Quincy. Martin said the district could reduce property tax rates to offset the sales tax.
“The property tax system is antiquated, inefficient, inconsistent and unfair,” Martin said. “Property tax owners should line up and demand that trade be made.”
School Board Member Jeff Mays said while revenues need to be looked at “spending needs to be looked at too.”