-By Warner Todd Huston
Unfortunately a bill that will allow schools to pull a bait-and-switch and pilfer funds that are supposed to go for other things and apply those funds to unapproved building projects has now passed both houses in Springfield. This means that schools might now be able to take funds that are supposed to be used for specific things and pour them into building projects (or any other use) for which the schools did not get voter’s approval. I wrote about this bill on April 28.
The way our system is supposed to work is that schools that want major new building projects or other such high ticket needs must go before the voters for a bond issue, for taxes to be raised. The voters say yes and taxes are raised or bonds issued to satisfy the school’s needs. But if voters say no, then the schools are supposed to do without. That is they way democracy is supposed to work.
But lo and behold special interests and consultants that make their living off our schools by consulting them on bond issues and spending plans wrote HB6041 that convinced lawmakers to allow schools to raid specified funds any time they feel like doing so and use those funds for whatever they want to use them for. This is now misappropriation of funds made legal.
This practice was already deemed illegal by the Illinois Appellate Courts and schools were ordered to stop this practice. Not only did Illinois schools thumb their noses at the Courts, but they hired these special interest consultants to write a sham law and cajoled our lawmakers into passing it.
I spoke to Senator Chris Lauzen (R, Aurora) and asked him about this bill. Initially even Senator Lauzen was lulled into supporting this bill. But in retrospect he felt he was misled about how this law was going to work when the bill was discussed earlier this year. He felt that the bill was “badly misrepresented” by its sponsors all they way along this process. He spoke out against this bill on the floor of the Senate today, but it looks like the bill has passed anyway.
This is little else but a money laundering scheme extraordinaire. With this bill, the schools can raid funds and use them however they like quite despite if these funds were earmarked for a specific purpose or not. They can make an end run around the will of the voters and fund building projects that were never approved. They can even use money from taxes that have not even yet been taken in if page five of the bill can be believed. (my emphasis)
The school board may appropriate moneys to the working cash fund up to the maximum amount allowable in the fund, and the working cash fund may receive such appropriations and any other contributions. Moneys in the fund may be used by the school board for any and all school purposes and may be transferred in whole or in part to the general funds or both of the school district and disbursed therefrom in anticipation of the collection of taxes lawfully levied for any or all purposes, or in anticipation of such taxes as by law now or hereafter enacted or amended are imposed by the General Assembly … Moneys so transferred to any other fund shall be deemed to be transferred in anticipation of the collection of that part of the taxes so levied or to be received which is in excess of the amount thereof required to pay any warrants or notes and the interest thereon theretofore and thereafter …
So, no matter what the funds that the school wants to raid was raised for, they can empty the account and use it for whatever they want. Then, on top of that, they can use money BEFORE said taxes are even raised.
And I remind you that this bill was not written by our lawmakers, but was written by special interests, people we did not elect. Yet our profligate state lawmakers dutifully voted “yes” in a led-by-the-nose vote.
I tell you, it must be nice to be an employee of the state. You don’t have to follow court rulings, you can steal money all day long, spend it even before you get it, yet. And then, if you don’t like the way things are going still you can hire crooked lawyers to write the laws tailor made for your needs and get uninformed, compliant politicians to just rubber stamp them for you.
I have to say, it makes me wonder why the heck I bother paying my bills and trying to do the right thing? How about you?