University of Chicago UOC Physicals 8 17
SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Bill aims to limit excessive school district cash reserves

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

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

Saint Xavier wide receiver Justin Pringle finds room ro run during a 16-15 loss to Indiana Wesleyan in the Cougars' home-opener on Sept. 16. Photo courtesy of Saint Xavier University Department of Athletics

Indiana Wesleyan scrapes by Saint Xavier after missed 2-pt conversion

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Life is about choices. Sometimes, the result is to our benefit; sometimes it is not. In Saint Xavier’s loss to visiting Indiana Wesleyan on Sept. 16 at George R. Deaton Field in Mount Greenwood, head coach Mike Feminis was presented with an important decision to make with his team…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

High School Football Wrap: Week 4 | St. Laurence has Ball in win over Providence

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Providence has won 10 state championships and finished runner-up four times, including last season in Class 4A. So how did St. Laurence’s student body celebrate the Vikings’ second-ever victory over the Celtics, 31-24, last Friday night in Burbank? With an old-fashioned field-storming. St. Laurence senior Aaron Ball scored the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Sandburg shreds Lockport defense, block last-second FG attempt to secure win

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Anthony Shelton burst on the scene a year ago in a big Sandburg win over Lockport. The Eagles junior last week solidified himself as a top quarterback in the South Suburbs with another win over the Porters. Shelton threw for 300 yards and a pair of touchdown passes as Sandburg…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Chicago Bears honor Stagg’s Nero, Gilmore

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent The Chicago Bears named Stagg head football coach Colt Nero and Chargers senior Lebarion Gilmore as the Chicago Bears Coach of the Week and the Chicago Bears High School All-Star for Week 3 of the 2023 season. The honors came after Stagg defeated visiting Belleville West 24-0 in a…

Richards freshman running back Ladarrius Foster runs past the Oak Lawn defesne during the Bulldogs’ 27-2 win on Sept. 15. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Richards downs Oak Lawn in crosstown clash

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Merriam Webster defines a rivalry as “one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess.” In sports, that makes both sides of any competition rivals, but the term is often reserved for a special matchup, of sorts. One of those is Oak…

Summit Police Chief Mel Ortiz (from left), Officer Alberto Valadez, and Officer Jihovanny Correa at the Summit Neighborhood Watch meeting last Thursday night. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Man dies in Markham shootout after robbing Summit phone store

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The man who robbed an AT&T store in Summit on Thursday morning was later found dead in a house in Markham after shots were exchanged between the man and police. The incident started when a man – identified as Jeremy Kelly, 28, of Markham – robbed the AT&T store at…

new bedford park sign

26 hurt in Bedford Park tent collapse

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports More than two dozen people at an event in Bedford Park last week were injured when the tent they were meeting in collapsed. Bedford Park Police said they responded to assist the Bedford Park Fire Department at 10:44 a.m. on Thursday, September 14, in the 5600 block of West 73rd…

Mario DePasquale

Former McCook police chief pleads guilty to extortion

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Mario DePasquale, former police chief of McCook pleaded guilty last week to conspiring with the village’s former mayor to extort two businessmen out of tens of thousands of dollars. DePasquale, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion during a brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Elaine…

AERO opened its new school last week in Burbank. (Supplied photos)

AERO opens new facility in Burbank

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong When Queen of Peace High School in Burbank announced it was closing in 2018, the good folks at AERO special education co-op saw a golden opportunity. They purchased the school’s 13-acre site at 7659 S. Linder Ave. in August 2019 for $3.2 million. The plan was to retrofit the high…

reporter st. gianna fest

St. Gianna Fest (formerly Queen of Martyrs Fest) kicks off fall activities

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Fall begins this week but there is no shortage of activities occurring this month and next in Evergreen Park. Mayor Kelly Burke reminded residents during the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting Monday night that the St. Gianna Fest (formerly Queen of Martyrs Fest) Family Carnival will take place Friday, Sept. 22,…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Saint Xavier wide receiver Justin Pringle finds room ro run during a 16-15 loss to Indiana Wesleyan in the Cougars' home-opener on Sept. 16. Photo courtesy of Saint Xavier University Department of Athletics

Indiana Wesleyan scrapes by Saint Xavier after missed 2-pt conversion

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Life is about choices. Sometimes, the result is to our benefit; sometimes it is not. In Saint Xavier’s loss to visiting Indiana Wesleyan on Sept. 16 at George R. Deaton Field in Mount Greenwood, head coach Mike Feminis was presented with an important decision to make with his team…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

High School Football Wrap: Week 4 | St. Laurence has Ball in win over Providence

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent Providence has won 10 state championships and finished runner-up four times, including last season in Class 4A. So how did St. Laurence’s student body celebrate the Vikings’ second-ever victory over the Celtics, 31-24, last Friday night in Burbank? With an old-fashioned field-storming. St. Laurence senior Aaron Ball scored the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Sandburg shreds Lockport defense, block last-second FG attempt to secure win

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Anthony Shelton burst on the scene a year ago in a big Sandburg win over Lockport. The Eagles junior last week solidified himself as a top quarterback in the South Suburbs with another win over the Porters. Shelton threw for 300 yards and a pair of touchdown passes as Sandburg…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Chicago Bears honor Stagg’s Nero, Gilmore

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mike Walsh Correspondent The Chicago Bears named Stagg head football coach Colt Nero and Chargers senior Lebarion Gilmore as the Chicago Bears Coach of the Week and the Chicago Bears High School All-Star for Week 3 of the 2023 season. The honors came after Stagg defeated visiting Belleville West 24-0 in a…

Richards freshman running back Ladarrius Foster runs past the Oak Lawn defesne during the Bulldogs’ 27-2 win on Sept. 15. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Richards downs Oak Lawn in crosstown clash

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Merriam Webster defines a rivalry as “one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess.” In sports, that makes both sides of any competition rivals, but the term is often reserved for a special matchup, of sorts. One of those is Oak…

Summit Police Chief Mel Ortiz (from left), Officer Alberto Valadez, and Officer Jihovanny Correa at the Summit Neighborhood Watch meeting last Thursday night. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Man dies in Markham shootout after robbing Summit phone store

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The man who robbed an AT&T store in Summit on Thursday morning was later found dead in a house in Markham after shots were exchanged between the man and police. The incident started when a man – identified as Jeremy Kelly, 28, of Markham – robbed the AT&T store at…

new bedford park sign

26 hurt in Bedford Park tent collapse

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports More than two dozen people at an event in Bedford Park last week were injured when the tent they were meeting in collapsed. Bedford Park Police said they responded to assist the Bedford Park Fire Department at 10:44 a.m. on Thursday, September 14, in the 5600 block of West 73rd…

Mario DePasquale

Former McCook police chief pleads guilty to extortion

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Mario DePasquale, former police chief of McCook pleaded guilty last week to conspiring with the village’s former mayor to extort two businessmen out of tens of thousands of dollars. DePasquale, 49, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion during a brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Elaine…

AERO opened its new school last week in Burbank. (Supplied photos)

AERO opens new facility in Burbank

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong When Queen of Peace High School in Burbank announced it was closing in 2018, the good folks at AERO special education co-op saw a golden opportunity. They purchased the school’s 13-acre site at 7659 S. Linder Ave. in August 2019 for $3.2 million. The plan was to retrofit the high…

reporter st. gianna fest

St. Gianna Fest (formerly Queen of Martyrs Fest) kicks off fall activities

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Fall begins this week but there is no shortage of activities occurring this month and next in Evergreen Park. Mayor Kelly Burke reminded residents during the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting Monday night that the St. Gianna Fest (formerly Queen of Martyrs Fest) Family Carnival will take place Friday, Sept. 22,…

DVN Complete Auto Service House Ad
CRR NH Midway Storage House Ad