State of Illinois’ Pension Debt Jumps To $130 Billion
Each household in Illinois now owes more than $27,000 in state pension debt. Pension payments are now crowding out other government services as the potion of the state general fund has risen from less than 3% in 1996 to almost 25%.
The Illinois Policy Institute does a nice job of explaining it. illinoispolicy.org
I (Jan Shaw) ran for Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200 school board back in 2013. I am re-posting (slightly modified) notes that were posted in 2013 during that campaign for background information. CUSD 200 is considering another referendum for 2017, hopefully this will help the taxpayers make an educated decision.
In order to understand the district finances, I requested the monthly cash flow reports for the last five years. The following is a graph of total end of month balance by month and year.
- Every year, property tax is received in June and September. Thus September is always the high point, and end of May the low point.
- The largest expenditure is salaries. Some are paid all 12 months, most are paid for 10 months.
- March 2008, income of $58,008,608 in the construction fund (Hubble) . Total fund balance would have been negative in May without this.
- May 2009 income of $20,000,857 in working cash (Bonds sold then. Looks like the district repaid $7,000,000 in June 2009. Total fund balance would have been down to $5 million at the end of May without this.
- May 2010, income of $6,000,000 labeled TAW (tax anticipation warrant). Total fund balance would have been negative at the end of May without this.
- June 2010, repaid $6,000,000 TAW.
- April 2011, $12,000,000 TAW. Total fund balance would have been negative at the end of May without this.
- June 2011, repaid $12,000,000 TAW
- May 2012 income of $14,478,784 in the building & capital renewal fund – from a capital improvement grant. Total fund balance would have been negative at the end of May without this.
- Projection for May 2013, assuming money continues to be spent a t the current rate is approximately $12 million. It would be negative without the $14 million capital grant.
Note: At the March 11, 2013 Jefferson referendum meeting, Dr Harris said that the state is $5 million behind in its payments to the district. There are unknown expenses coming such as a potential shift of pension cost and increases to health insurance. The state’s problems may become the district’s problems. And in either case, it will ultimately be the taxpayers’ problem. See Chicago Trib: School District 200 braces for state budget woes’ impact
Bond Repayment Schedule
At the December 2012 and January 2013 PMA presented the district bond repayment schedule (option 2), with and without the Jefferson referendum. Since then some bonds have been re-funded and thus the repayment schedule has been decreased for some years going forward with a longer repayment schedule.
I never did understand why the current bond repayment schedule as specified in the 2013 referendum info was not the same as the repayment schedule in the audit report.
The district did use the $5.8 million from the sale of Hubble to pay off some of the debt. However, the difference in total debt services between what PMA presented at the Dec 2012 board meeting and the June 2012 audit numbers is $42 million.
Going through some old notes, I found this chart on the age of the buildings in Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD 200. It was put together when the Hubble Referendum was being considered.
The latest three referendums to pass were:
- 1999 A referendum for $35 million for eight elementary schools & one middle school ($52 million in projects – $17 million from fund balances)
- 2003 A referendum for $72 million passed to renovate and add on to both high schools.
- 2007 A referendum for $58 million passed to build a new Hubble middle school.
except for Jefferson all school buildings have been built or renovated since 1985. The district also owns a school service center and a small (old elementary) building that is used for storage. The old Hubble building and property was sold.
With this number of buildings the district should be allocating funds every years for capital maintenance/improvements to cover items such as roofs, parking lots, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, flooring, etc. If a few projects were done annually then we would not need another referendum to renovate buildings that should have been maintained.