Stop the Legislature from Rubber-stamping School District Greed

Some folks out there don’t like it when I call Public Education in Illinois a “Legalized Money-Laundering Scheme.” Sadly, it is a 100% accurate description of the legalized reaming of the Illinois taxpayer, all for the bloated payroll, perks, pensions and pork lathered on this fundamentally corrupt and powerful network of greedy unions, administrators, and the private interests that they have co-opted.

As more proof of the concept, I submit an article from today’s Tribune.

Schools districts may get state OK to issue bonds for buildings without voter approval
Appellate Court has barred practice, though many districts waltz around the ban anyway

Strapped for cash and taking their lumps on tax-increase measures, school districts in Chicagoland are increasingly skirting requirements for voter approval of building projects by issuing bonds that don’t require a referendum and then shifting that money from fund to fund.

Even after a state Appellate Court ruled last year that such maneuvers were improper, the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 board reached into a rainy-day fund for $4 million to install artificial turf at its two high school football fields.

Because the court held that another district inappropriately used working cash bonds on a building project, the Hinsdale board didn’t transfer the money directly. Instead it parked the cash in the district’s main education fund before moving it to building funds.

“Money-laundering,” one outraged school board member called it.

According to court filings, 95 school districts in Cook, DuPage and Will counties sold nearly $800 million in working cash bonds between 2000 and 2008 for building projects through these “back-door” means of avoiding referendums. Nearly 75 percent have been in Cook County.

State legislators are now considering a bill that would permit school districts to transfer working cash bond money to any school fund, allowing the controversial practice to become the norm. The legislation, which would be retroactive, was crafted by firms that specialize in school law and a nationally recognized bond counsel, Chapman and Cutler, which has advised schools on the practice.

State Rep. Paul Froehlich, D-Schaumburg, who served on a school board in Schaumburg District 54 from 1989 to 1993, voted against the bill, which was approved by the House and could come to a final Senate vote as early as Tuesday.

“I see it as an amnesty bill,” he said. “It’s giving amnesty to those school districts that didn’t follow the law.”

Critics of the legislation say a fund created to help districts pay bills when the state is late on its payments — as it is now — could be gutted by school districts with a proclivity to overspend. State Board of Education officials estimate 44 percent of districts will spend more than they take in this school year. As for taxpayers, the legislation would take away their right to vote down building projects through a referendum.

John Izzo, an attorney with Sraga Hauser, which represents about 100 of the state’s 869 school districts, helped draft the legislation and testified in favor of it in Springfield. He says the Appellate Court decision simply interpreted “an ambiguous provision” of the school code differently from how Chapman and Cutler and school attorneys had done in the past.

School districts could potentially be ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, in tax refunds if the law is not changed.

School district attorneys say if the legislation doesn’t pass, schools will continue the financing method whether it be as a two-step process, three steps or even four steps.

“If (the bill) doesn’t get passed, in the future, school districts will just do it a different way,” Izzo said. “It won’t change how they do it.”

That last line should tell you just how vile, greedy, and corrupt these districts, law firms, and bond churning scum truly are. They care nothing for the law, the taxpayer, or the economy that funds their money-laundering scheme.

They only care about funding their greed and gluttony. They day is coming when they will be defeated. Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered, and it is time to slaughter this hog.