FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2003
Superintendent Appoints Members of Financial
Oversight Panel For Cairo School District 1
FOP for a financially troubled school district in 50 days
Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller today announced
the appointment of three veteran educators to the Financial
Oversight Panel for Cairo School District 1 in Alexander
County. The State Board of Education acted February 6
to approve the Cairo School Board's petition requesting
a Financial Oversight Panel and emergency financial assistance.
D. Hill, President Emeritus of Shawnee Community College
in Ullin, was designated by Schiller to serve as chairman
of the Cairo FOP. Schiller also appointed David W. Hindman,
retired superintendent of Herrin School District 4, and
Samuel W. Harbin, former superintendent of Meridian School
District in Mounds, to serve on the FOP.
am pleased that these three veteran educators have agreed
to devote their time and expertise to the task of restoring
the financial foundation of the Cairo school district,”
Schiller said. “While this district's financial
problems reflect those of many other districts in the
state, it seems clear that funding to complete the school
year will not be available without state assistance.”
is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the East St.
Louis Community College Center and also serves as Executive
Director of the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market
in Herrin. He was president of Shawnee Community College
from 1991 to 1996 and has been designated President Emeritus
since that time.
was Superintendent of Herrin schools from 1992 to 2000,
after serving a four-year term as the elected Regional
Superintendent of Schools for Williamson County. Harbin
served seven years, from 1986 – 1993, as superintendent
of the Meridian School District and earlier in his career
was a teacher and principal in the Cypress Grade School.
Cairo FOP will work with the Cairo School Board to develop
a financial plan for completing the school year and for
the long-term stability of the district. The financial
plan, as well as every financial transaction of the district,
will have to be approved by the FOP. The FOP will be in
place for no less than three years and possibly up to
Board staff members have been working with the district
to analyze its current funding status. With that information,
Cairo Superintendent Robert Isom concluded the district
“was in the midst of a major financial crisis.”
As of December 31, 2002, the district was utilizing restricted
funds in excess of $60,000 to meet ongoing operational
expenditures. In January 2003, the district issued Tax
Anticipation Warrants totaling $414,000 which is the maximum
allowable by law. Current financial projections indicate
that the district will likely exhaust all available resources
in its three operating funds within the next sixty days.
By that time, the district will need to secure a line
of credit for an additional $400,000 to $500,000 to meet
current year operating expenses.
the law, the panel may recommend an Emergency Financial
Assistance Grant from the state of $230,000 and an Emergency
Financial Assistance Loan of $900,000. The State Board
could provide the grant from funds remaining in the Emergency
Financial Assistance Fund if the FOP concludes it is needed.
If the panel recommends the emergency loan, it would require
additional appropriations from the General Assembly and
is the sixth district to operate with an FOP. Mt. Morris,
the first district to have an FOP, has since annexed to
another district. East St. Louis School District 189 in
St. Clair County has operated with an FOP since 1994.
Round Lake School District 116 in Lake County and Hazel
Crest School District 152 ½ in Cook County each
operated with an FOP but have since been placed under
the oversight of School Finance Authorities. The State
Board created a Financial Oversight Panel in December
2002 for Livingston School District 4 in Madison County
and continues to monitor other districts that are inching
towards similar financial conditions.