FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Superintendent appoints School Finance
Authority members for Hazel Crest Schools:
Reassures community that schools
will complete year
State Superintendent of Education Robert E.
Schiller today announced appointments of the five members
of the School Finance Authority for Hazel Crest School District
152 ½ and emphasized that the community can now be
assured that schools will remain open for the entire school
The Hazel Crest district was nearing insolvency until the
General Assembly passed legislation to authorize the establishment
of the School Finance Authority and provide for access to
a state emergency loan if private lending sources can not
be found to provide enough funding to complete the year. Governor
Ryan signed the legislation December 6, and the State Board
acted Dec. 9 to establish the Authority.
"These individuals bring a great deal of experience
and expertise to this task that is difficult and vitally important
to the 1,132 students of this struggling district," Schiller
said. "Establishing this Authority not only assures students,
staff and community that Hazel Crest schools will be open
for the remainder of the school year; it also puts in place
a process for determining what is best for the students in
Members appointed by Schiller include two members of the
previously formed Financial Oversight Panel, Lawrence E. Hupe
and Edward M. O'Malley. Additional members are Barbara Toney
and two residents of the Hazel Crest district: Steven Wright
of Markham and Mary Emily Grant of Hazel Crest.
Hupe is the chair of the Financial
Oversight Panel and has been designated by Schiller to be
chairman of the School Finance Authority. He was the Worth
Township School Treasurer for nearly 30 years, where he was
responsible for investments and cash management for all Worth
Township school districts and special education cooperatives.
He was a founder, trustee and chairman of the Illinois School
District Liquid Asset Fund. He is a former chair of the Illinois
Financial Advisory Committee, the group that advises the State
Superintendent on school district financial issues.
O'Malley most recently served
as director of fiscal services for Rich Township High School
District 227 in Olympia Fields. He previously served in the
business offices of three other school districts and a special
education cooperative. He holds a Chief School Business Official
Certificate and a General Administrative Certificate.
Toney is an associate with
The Bickert Group, a school superintendent search firm, the
Public Information Specialist with Project CHOICES (Children
Have Opportunities in Inclusive Community Environments and
Schools) and a former teacher in Bloomingdale School District
13. She was a member of former Governor Jim Edgar's Blue ribbon
Committee on Education Funding and was a member and president
of the West Chicago Elementary District 33 Board of Education.
She is currently a member of the School Funding Committee
for the Legislative Education Network of DuPage (LEND).
Wright has a Bachelor of Science
degree in Finance from Chicago State University and is completing
his MBA in Finance from Roosevelt University. He is a Financial
counselor with CitiStreet and previously held financial positions
with American Express, Wadell & Reed, Firstar Bank and
Chrysler Credit Corporation.
Grant holds both a B.A. and
an MBA in Finance from DePaul University. She is a Portfolio
Manager for Banc One Investment Advisors Corporation. She
previously served in the Trust and Investment Department with
Lake Shore National Bank. She is Vice President of the Hazel
Crest Proper Neighborhood Association and co-chairs that group's
Hupe, Grant and Toney will serve three-year terms; O'Malley
and Wright were appointed to two-year terms.
The State Board provided an authorized emergency grant of
$283,000 to the district after the Financial Oversight Panel
was established in October. The district also recently received
$1.5 million through a Member Initiative from the General
Assembly. In addition, the FOP was able to borrow $1.7 million
for the district through issuing Tax Anticipation Warrants.
These resources have allowed the district to meet payrolls
up to this point and to begin paying overdue bills that total
over $1 million.