The Sad Reality of What We Have Been Saying… 11/30/2011

  1. November 30, 2011:

    From the Riverside Brookfield Landmark . . .

    11/29/2011 10:00:00 PM
    Riverside-Brookfield High School ‘broke’ by 2015
    Revenue hikes unlikely, cost cutting ahead

    Contributing Reporter

    If Riverside-Brookfield High School continues on its current path of revenues and spending it will be unable to pay all its bills in little more than three years. That was the grim forecast delivered to the District 208 school board last week by the consultant the board hired to examine the school’s financial situation.

    “In 2015 you would be broke,” Howard Crouse of Naperville-based financial advisory firm PMA told the school board last Tuesday. Crouse cautioned that this estimate of going broke by 2015 was based on current spending and revenue patterns and was only a rough estimate based on projections.

    He said that District 208 would have already gone broke if it hadn’t borrowed $4.9 million in working cash bonds in 2008. Those bonds must be repaid by 2013.

    “You would have been broke in 2010 without the working cash bonds,” Crouse said.

    full story:

    — and —

    Home to roost


    Pick your metaphor. Slippery slope. Off a cliff.

    It is never a good thing when a government body borrows money to cover operating expenses. New debt papers over simple facts: You are spending more than you take in. That is not sustainable. And it makes future decisions substantially harder than they might have been if reality had been faced early on.

    Two of our local governments are now in that pickle. And that means we are in that pickle right there with them.

    Riverside-Brookfield High School borrowed nearly $5 million in working cash bonds in 2008 to pay its bills. The bills were paid. The money is gone. The debt is due by 2013. Since then, an effort to pass a tax-hike referendum was crushed last spring – with a 77 percent no vote being our official definition of “crushed.” And we’ve all taken note that there is no possible help coming from Springfield or Washington. State and federal funding will only become less and less reliable.

    full story:

    Despite bluster from a lot of now-former board members, this has been the case — and they understood it to be the case — as far back as 2007, when they agreed to a contract (please see back up the thread) for which they did not have the money to pay. 1850 residents signed a petition in 2008 to invoke a referendum before RB floated the $5 million in bonds, so as to address the underlying imbalances. The Board ignored them, took the payday loan and here we are.

    Just as bad, and particularly demoralizing for referendum supporters of last spring, has been the march of revelations since the new board took over. If you take the time to watch the Board meetings you will see a steady stream of reports of abject management failure (also described back up this thread). The financials described last week and the management failures listed since June establish beyond any reasonable question that our neighbors and friends, the true-hearted residents and parents who supported and argued for the single largest local tax hike since Marquette and Joliet crossed the Portage, were — is there any other word? — duped by a Board, caretaker superintendent and a conniving assistant principal into believing that RB could effectively spend the money.

    It couldn’t, because it wasn’t, and it did not want to.

    In fact, it needed the money to paper-over these financials.

    It was a betrayal as serious and profound as the political campaign run from the school by the assistant principal or the recently discovered ten percent cost overrun on our construction project, after four years of the prior board saying it was “on-time, under budget and doing great.”

    The same folks who spent us into this mess, repeatedly distorted the progress of the construction project, and averted their gaze from the campaign headquarters in the assistant principal’s office, tell us now we do not need to know how the 2006 building referendum’s proceeds were spent — or why the “under budget” $60 million project came in at $66 million. One detects a pattern.

    The good news is, it is all forward from here. Even the construction audit should focus on what we need to know to establish our post-crash capital program. Barring improprieties, we should leave the incompetents to their consciences.

    Thank goodness their party is over. Thank goodness the clean-up crew has arrived. Thank goodness it has the guts and honesty to put facts before all of us.

    Last week’s fiscal presentation was the best i have seen in following the Board for nine years. It is a major credit to this Board and administration, and a major benefit for the entire RB community.

    The turnaround continues.

    POSTED WEDNESDAY NOV 30, 2011 06:38 #
Explore posts in the same categories: Riverside Brookfield High School -- Turnaround

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: