INGALLS ST MAM AD 728x90px 03 30 21
SRP-IMAGE-Logo

District 230 Board Meeting

By Kevin Coyne, Correspondent

It’s been a confusing five-day period for District 230 and its financial status.

District officials are disputing figures reported in a daily newspaper and that their finances are a “mess” as alleged by an anonymous writer to the district whose letter was read aloud at last Thursday’s school board meeting.

The letter contained a copy of the individual’s tax bill, which highlighted the district’s pension and other post-employment benefits debt with a note stating, “your pensions are breaking the taxpayers in Illinois, keep up the great work!? What a mess!?” District 230 Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Steve Langert read at the meeting.

Figures from sample bills were also used in a Southtown Star column that reported the district is $23 million short and can’t pay 37.8 percent of its $37.5 million pension and healthcare debt, which likely sparked the letter.

The next day, Cook Country Treasurer Maria Pappas responded that her office used financial figures provided under the watch of the district and on Monday afternoon, the District sent out a lengthy statement explaining its finances.

“Cook County made their own calculations saying we could only pay 37 percent,” Langert said. “I don’t know how they could make that calculation and report it to the public.”

Pappas, however, said the $37.5 million is the combined totals for pension liability ($25.3 million) and Other Post Employment Benefits ($12.2 million) which was collected by the district’s pension agency. The total for both pension and OPEB is calculated with the district’s unfunded $23 million, which leaves the funded ratio at 37.8 percent.

“Those are their figures, I don’t make the figures or manipulate them in any way,” Pappas said. “Our calculations are done with simple math based on figures they provided.”

Langert said the finances are not a ‘’mess.’’

“We have no issues paying our pension obligations, we’ve never missed a payment and we’re very proud of how well we manage debt,” Langert said. “The post-retirement insurance benefits are a pay-as-you-go and when our employees retire they are replaced by less expensive employees.”

Langert also said that the school district could pay off 100 percent of its pension and OPEB debt. However, according to officials at the Treasurer’s Office, one of the ways to pay off 100 percent would be for the school district to completely pay the debt is by terminating OPEB. By law, the school district is not required to provide OPEB to its employees and could terminate the program at any time.

“I think the intentions are good and they’re trying to promote transparency by providing the taxpayers with this information, but unfortunately they really missed the mark,” Langert said.

Langert said he contacted the Cook County Treasurer’s Office to discuss the discrepancies in the figures published on the Cook County website and mailed to taxpayers in CHSD 230’s taxing district. Despite Langert’s concerns the numbers were provided by the IMRF who was overseen by the school district.

The taxpayers are able to view the school district’s financial information on the Cook County Treasurer’s Office website, cookcountytreasurer.com, by simply entering their property index number or searching by name of the taxing district.

After the meeting, some District 230 members were angry about the way they were portrayed in the media. School board member Tony Serratore called for the Southtown to retract the Jan. 27 column that cited the figures published on Cook County’s website.

“The article in the Southtown really got me going on this and I think since they never show up to our meetings anyway, I think we need to address with them the fact that there needs to be some sort of retraction,” Serratore said. “There was false information printed that is being shared with the residents in our district and I think that needs to be retracted.”

Board President Richard Nogal and Gay sent out a statement to the District 230 community Monday with a chart and a message that said “We hope to make clear that the property tax bill inaccurately implies that District 230 has a ‘shortage’ in meeting its pension and healthcare obligations. The District 230 school board and administration have kept a keen eye on its financial obligations and have met and will continue to meet 100 percent of those obligations.’’

Langert said the school district does not want to get into a situation where they say the Cook County Treasurer’s Office numbers are inaccurate and the school district numbers are accurate. However, he hopes next year the numbers more accurately depict the school district’s financial strength.

“I’m not surprised that the school districts are upset about the figures they submitted, it shows them in a negative light,” Pappas said. “Taxpayers are starting to see what’s going on in the school districts and municipalities and they are not happy with the way their tax dollars are being spent.”

1 col caption – Photo by Jeff Vorva

District 230 Assistant Superintendent Steve Langert said there were discrepancies in financial figures between District 230 and Cook County.

Local News

Brother Rice lineman Zak Bowden motions forward as quarterback Jack Lausch scores one of his three rushing touchdowns in Friday’s 40-21 road victory over Marist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Football: Rice tops Marist as both powers eye playoffs

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The buzz and postgame emotions from Brother Rice’s 40-21 victory over Marist on Friday was abbreviated. Because the heralded game was played on the final regular season weekend of the year, these area and state powers and bitter rivals quickly turned their attention to the playoff pairings announcements, which came less…

Chicago-Red-Stars-Logo

Last home game a winner for Red Stars

By Alison Moran What a way to end a season at home. It was a perfect night for a cool game of soccer, with temperatures in the upper 50s and no rain dampening the field. In front of 4,488 of the Red Stars’ faithful at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, the Chicago Red Stars defeated KC…

Marie Vachata was the second woman to serve as mayor of Lyons. Her term was 2001 to 2005. (Supplied photo)

Marie Vachata gets a fond farewell from Lyons

By Steve Metsch Pat Wideman will never forget the first time she met Marie Vachata. “When I first moved to Lyons 50 years ago, she was the very first neighbor who welcomed me to Lyons,” Wideman said while sitting on a bench outside the village hall. Vachata resided two doors down on 46th Street when…

The Bridgeview Sports Dome before it was damaged in a storm in December of 2015. (File photo)

Bridgeview rents out former golf dome site for parking

By Steve Metsch The village of Bridgeview stands to make nearly $5 million by renting out space to park trucks where the golf dome formerly stood. The village will be paid $45,000 per month in an agreement that runs through September 2030. That comes to $540,000 per year and $4.86 million over the nine-year contract.…

Sandburg’s Maia Loureiro, shown in a first-round match in Barrington, is the fifth area player to finish in the top 10 in the state in girls tennis. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Sports Postseason Roundup: Maia, oh, Maia — Sandburg soph finishes in top 8

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent It was cloudy. It was windy. It was rainy. Many people might describe it as a lousy day, but Sandburg sophomore tennis star Maia Loureiro wasn’t complaining. She was playing tennis. In the state tournament. She opened her state career on that crummy Oct. 21 day at Barrington High School with…

Isra Syouri, 13, of Palos Hills, daughter of Steve's Bite owners, Sufian "Steve" and Kifah Syouri, cut the ribbon during the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the restaurant at 11906 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Steve’s Bite holds grand opening

By Kelly White Palos Heights welcomed in a new business last weekend. Steve’s Bite, 11906 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights, held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15. The store officially opened its doors over the summer, and owners Sufian “Steve” and Kifah Syouri said they could not be happier to…

Celebrating the naming of Rev. Jeffrey Clemons to the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission are (from left) executive director Ron Melka, Trustee Mike Porfirio, Rev. Clemons and state Sen. Steve Landek. (Staff photo)

Summit’s Rev. Clemons named to township’s Mental Health Commission

By Steve Metsch The Township of Lyons has a new member on its Mental Health Commission. The Rev. Jeffrey Clemons, of Antioch Baptist Church, 7513 W. 64th St., Summit, is joining the commission. His appointment won unanimous approval from the township board at its meeting on Oct. 12. He is the first African-American on the…

Carson Kukulski, 2, of Palos Heights, was happy to attend Lake Katherine's first-ever Oak-tober Fest at the nature center, 7402 Lake Katherine Dr., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Lake Katherine pays homage to the mighty oak

By Kelly White Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens celebrated the oak tree during the month of October with a cleverly named, Oak-tober Fest last weekend. “We wanted to have an event that was more of a fall festival in addition to the Monarch Celebration that we hold in September,” Gareth Blakesley, Director and…

Karen Sala

Check your smoke detector batteries

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] It’s October. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. I woke up to the unpleasant chirping of one of my smoke alarms the other morning at about 4 a.m. Thankfully I had a 9-volt battery, so I was able to change it and go…

Mary Stanek

Día celebrations coming this month

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated especially by people of Mexican heritage. It is a joyful celebration, rather than mourning. Family and friends pay respects to those who have died. Traditions include building altars…

Neighbors

Cook County Sheriff ad.2
DVN Les Brothers Restaurant House Ad
Brother Rice lineman Zak Bowden motions forward as quarterback Jack Lausch scores one of his three rushing touchdowns in Friday’s 40-21 road victory over Marist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Football: Rice tops Marist as both powers eye playoffs

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent The buzz and postgame emotions from Brother Rice’s 40-21 victory over Marist on Friday was abbreviated. Because the heralded game was played on the final regular season weekend of the year, these area and state powers and bitter rivals quickly turned their attention to the playoff pairings announcements, which came less…

Chicago-Red-Stars-Logo

Last home game a winner for Red Stars

By Alison Moran What a way to end a season at home. It was a perfect night for a cool game of soccer, with temperatures in the upper 50s and no rain dampening the field. In front of 4,488 of the Red Stars’ faithful at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, the Chicago Red Stars defeated KC…

Marie Vachata was the second woman to serve as mayor of Lyons. Her term was 2001 to 2005. (Supplied photo)

Marie Vachata gets a fond farewell from Lyons

By Steve Metsch Pat Wideman will never forget the first time she met Marie Vachata. “When I first moved to Lyons 50 years ago, she was the very first neighbor who welcomed me to Lyons,” Wideman said while sitting on a bench outside the village hall. Vachata resided two doors down on 46th Street when…

The Bridgeview Sports Dome before it was damaged in a storm in December of 2015. (File photo)

Bridgeview rents out former golf dome site for parking

By Steve Metsch The village of Bridgeview stands to make nearly $5 million by renting out space to park trucks where the golf dome formerly stood. The village will be paid $45,000 per month in an agreement that runs through September 2030. That comes to $540,000 per year and $4.86 million over the nine-year contract.…

Sandburg’s Maia Loureiro, shown in a first-round match in Barrington, is the fifth area player to finish in the top 10 in the state in girls tennis. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Sports Postseason Roundup: Maia, oh, Maia — Sandburg soph finishes in top 8

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent It was cloudy. It was windy. It was rainy. Many people might describe it as a lousy day, but Sandburg sophomore tennis star Maia Loureiro wasn’t complaining. She was playing tennis. In the state tournament. She opened her state career on that crummy Oct. 21 day at Barrington High School with…

Isra Syouri, 13, of Palos Hills, daughter of Steve's Bite owners, Sufian "Steve" and Kifah Syouri, cut the ribbon during the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of the restaurant at 11906 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Steve’s Bite holds grand opening

By Kelly White Palos Heights welcomed in a new business last weekend. Steve’s Bite, 11906 S. Harlem Ave. in Palos Heights, held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15. The store officially opened its doors over the summer, and owners Sufian “Steve” and Kifah Syouri said they could not be happier to…

Celebrating the naming of Rev. Jeffrey Clemons to the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission are (from left) executive director Ron Melka, Trustee Mike Porfirio, Rev. Clemons and state Sen. Steve Landek. (Staff photo)

Summit’s Rev. Clemons named to township’s Mental Health Commission

By Steve Metsch The Township of Lyons has a new member on its Mental Health Commission. The Rev. Jeffrey Clemons, of Antioch Baptist Church, 7513 W. 64th St., Summit, is joining the commission. His appointment won unanimous approval from the township board at its meeting on Oct. 12. He is the first African-American on the…

Carson Kukulski, 2, of Palos Heights, was happy to attend Lake Katherine's first-ever Oak-tober Fest at the nature center, 7402 Lake Katherine Dr., Palos Heights. (Photos by Kelly White)

Lake Katherine pays homage to the mighty oak

By Kelly White Lake Katherine Nature Center & Botanic Gardens celebrated the oak tree during the month of October with a cleverly named, Oak-tober Fest last weekend. “We wanted to have an event that was more of a fall festival in addition to the Monarch Celebration that we hold in September,” Gareth Blakesley, Director and…

Karen Sala

Check your smoke detector batteries

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park (773) 471-1429 • [email protected] It’s October. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors. I woke up to the unpleasant chirping of one of my smoke alarms the other morning at about 4 a.m. Thankfully I had a 9-volt battery, so I was able to change it and go…

Mary Stanek

Día celebrations coming this month

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated especially by people of Mexican heritage. It is a joyful celebration, rather than mourning. Family and friends pay respects to those who have died. Traditions include building altars…

CRR NH Harmony Restaurant House Ad
CRR NH Rainbow Motel House Ad