$368.2 Million in School District Debt
Another Reason to Vote against the Penny Sales Tax
One of the primary reasons why the Lake County School District is in financial shambles is due to the huge debt that was built up while now Lake County Commission Chairman Jimmy Conner ramrodded the Lake County School Board. When Conner left the School Board, the School District had more than $600 million in debt, and in 2015 (some seven years later) the outstanding long-term debt is $368.2 million. Based on the current debt—every man, woman, and child in Lake County is on the hook for $1,166.
Conner and the abuse of the old Penny Sales Tax revenue source are the primary reasons why the Lake County School District is in debt up to its eyeballs.
In short, the Lake County School District is Greece—a government created financial disaster, which would be bankrupt if it were a business. We believe the School District must be forced to pay as they go for construction projects, because in 2015-16 the School District will pay $34.3 million in debt service payments with $10.9 million being in interest. In long-term debt, the School District is projected to spend $100.7 million in just interest payments with most of it going to the shady Certificates of Participation (COPs), which were used to build schools. The real question we should all be asking is, “Who got paid in the COPs?”
Seeing is believing. This is a link to the Lake County Schools Summary of Debt Service at June 30, 2015.
Instead of paying $100.7 million in interest payments, the Lake County School District should be paying cash for schools with no debt. The Penny Sales Tax should only be used for new student stations and not to pay down debt. The reason why the Lake County School Board members are hyperventilating on the Penny Sales Tax vote is because they do not want any restrictions on how the money is spent—and yes, they want to use it on old debt while bonding it out for new debt. You know, the rob Peter to pay Paul method of bill paying. The citizens of Lake County should give the School Board a dose of reality and force them to contend with this old debt out of the operational budget. The fiscal madness has got to stop.
Vote against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax) in November to force fiscal responsibility on the Lake County School Board, and then make them change the ballot measure to restrict its use only for new student stations and a pay as you go method. Under our group’s proposal, an elected Penny Sales Tax Board would audit how the money is spent and ensure the Board follows the rules—we need this.
On November 3, 2015, Vote Against the Infrastructure Sales Surtax Referendum (Penny Sales Tax), because the referendum is badly written and you don’t want to give the politicians a blank check. Let’s make them do it right—the ordinance should only be used for new schools, roads, and utilities while protecting Lake County taxpayers and workers.
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