CAT Tracks for November 27, 2011
LOCAL SCHOOL FINANCES

Looking back at the 2010-2011 School Year - aka Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) - in Cairo, Egyptian, Meridian, and Century.

As is indicated in the fine print of the "exhibits" provided below, every public school district in Illinois is required to prepare an "Annual Statement of Affairs Summary", make it available for public inspection in the district administrative office by December 1st, and publish it in the local newspaper.

During the past three weeks, The Cairo Citizen has provided this service.


Last year, I posted the same information for the FY10. Since there were some major discrepancies in the reports, it opened the door for catty commentary...to, of course, heighten emotion. For the occasion, I even departed from my usual "Sage on the Stage" approach and became the "Guide on the Side", leading devoted readers down the path of discovery.

Well, this year...

...the discrepancies disappeared!

Cairo even admitted to having a Superintendent (although, for different reasons, I can understand their reluctance!)

Sigh...


Immediately below are the links to the FY 2011 financial information provided by Cairo, Egyptian, Century, and Meridian.

I shall let you peruse that information (without any prejudicial prompting from me) while I strain my brain in a never-ending search for a way to live down to Interim Superintendent Swopes' low expectations of the "rag"...CAT Tracks:

Did you find anything interesting? Anything good? If so, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...let me know!


Until then, I guess the burden lies with me...

...editorialize to heighten emotion.


Let's see, where were we?

Oh, yeah...the "annual statement of affairs"...

...there was a rumor about a clandestine meeting in a restaurant in Sikeston...

...or how about the traffic stop in Kentucky...

...and the one in Missouri?

What?

Not those kinds of "affairs"???

Financial affairs?

What fun is that?

Sigh...

Probably just as well. Those rumors/stories may well have been about people who have since been fired or retired anyway.

Getting old(er) sure plays with the memory...


Numbers...

What emotion can be squeezed out of such dry fare?

Ooh, ooh, ooh...lawyers! Robbers all!!! Their exploits are always guaranteed to get the old blood a-pumpin'.

Let's see...

What the...?

You've got to be kidding me!

ONLY $25,278.15 for Robbins et al (to continue flogging James Gibson)...ONLY $19,203.55 for Tueth et al (to screw the unions.) That's ONLY $44,481.70 total!

I mean...

That's surely more than any of the other three districts paid on lawyers (feel free to check it out for yourself), but...DAMN! That's chump change for OUR lawyers...THEY with their hands deeeeeeeeeeep in Cairo School District Number One's pockets!

Don't believe it? Roll the video tape...

Last year, Robbins racked up a truly impressive $135,956.90...Tueth another $32,586.36 for a drum-rolling total of $168,543.26...roughly 4 times as much as this past year!

The Robbins folks for sure must be wearing black armbands...


CAT Tracks Editor's Note:

Before you shed a tear for the District's lawyers...

Robbins et al is manuevering the District back into court so they can once again fleece the Golden Goose. Their "chumpy" $25,278.15 is a matter of "paying it forward"...seeding the always fertile litigious soil.

Tueth et al? Negotiations with CAT have only just begun! Several months ago, Tueth et al recommended that the District turn down CAT's attempt for a one-session settlement. Surprise! Such a settlement would have stopped the legal meter cold. No CHA-CHING! Tueth et al can't fleece their side of the Golden Goose without prolonged negotiations. So many beautiful golden eggs just waiting for the taking.


STOP!

Just listen to me...fanning the flames!

Anticipating things that have not happened!!!

Just because it has happened before - over and over, again and again - that doesn't mean it will happen again does it? (CAT Tracks Editor's Note: What's that they say? That those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it! Hell, how many times has Robbins et al lost in the James Gibson case? Arbitration, IELRB hearing, appeal of IELRB decision, now an appeal of the negative decision in the appeal of the IELRB decision? Of course, Robbins et al didn't really lose...their client lost. Robbins et al WON...BIG! Robbins et al harvested $135,956.90 in FY10...were paid $25,278.15 for planting in FY11.)


Enough already!

Contrary to allegations from the dark side, I like to stick with the facts. In CSD #1, you don't have to make stuff up. Stuff happens...


So...

...just what are the facts?

Cairo School District Number One - despite their "Sky Is Falling"..."Cry Wolf" mantra - once again trounced the surrounding districts in stockpiling golden eggs:

Bottom Line:

  1. Cairo beat the three other area school districts in the amount of money added to their savings account during the past fiscal year:

    • Cairo - $855,750
    • Meridian - $546,311
    • Century - $302,397
    • Egyptian - $137,075

  2. Cairo retains its #1 status as the area school district with the most money in the bank:

    • Cairo - $3,756,745
    • Egyptian - $3,0078,046
    • Meridian - $1,742,617
    • Century - #1,030,581

  3. BTW: It crossed my mind...the number of students served by each district. So, I looked it up...using the latest Illinois Interactive Report Card (reporting information for the 2010-11 School Year):

    • Meridian - 626
    • Egyptian - 542
    • Cairo - 462
    • Century - 424


So...

Cairo School District Number One:

With the second smallest number of students served...

...added more than any other area school district to its already #1 ranking savings account!

All the while crying...

BROKE, BROKE, BROKE!!!

Something smells very fishy to this old CAT...and in this case "fishy" is NOT a good thing!


Despite all this good news, Cairo School District Number One laid off 20% of its certified teaching staff and cut programs to students...the reading program at Cairo Elementary...Art, Music, and P.E. at Cairo Elementary, Art and half of a music position at CJSHS...among others. The Cairo BOE and FOP did manage to continue providing the free cottage plus utilities for its transient Superintendent, now Interim Superintenent.

And...

...actually, they even gave their Interim Superintendent a RAISE! At an approximate $100,000 salary last year for 240 days of work, that calculates to an approximate daily wage of $416.67. This year, the District is paying Leotis Swopes $500 per day! Hmmm...cut the teaching staff by 20%...give the failed Superintendent/new Interim Superintendent a 20% RAISE!

FISHY, FISHY, FISHY!!!


Well, that brings us to the end of our emotional roller coaster ride for today.

Sorry to subject you to a lecture this year instead of a hands-on activity. But, hey...you curious CATs, feel free to go to the published records and do your own digging, calculating. If you find something worth editorializing, again...let me know! I will be happy to share the stage...give you credit. Or...if you would rather remain anonymous and avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune borne by the District and its lawyers, I will be happy to assume the role of messenger.

Playing "bad CAT" is an ugly job, but somebody's got to do it...


FOOTNOTE:

Cairo's "savings account" is a ridiculous amount!

I mentioned once before...

...back in the day, the rule of thumb was that a District should keep something like 5% "in reserve". I think in more recent times, Districts have bumped that "contingency fund" to like two months of operating funds...which would be 16.7%. (BTW: Just because that's what Districts think is right, doesn't make it right. However, letting Districts error on the side of caution, bears repeating...a reserve in savings of 16.7%.)

Did some more calculations...

Cairo School District Number One took in total receipts/revenues in FY11 of $8,806,333. Its total ending fund balance in FY11 was $3,756,745.

This amount in reserve figures out to...

...drum roll please...

42.7%

Bears repeating:

Instead of a "back in the day" 5% or a generous 16.7%, Cairo School District Number One maintains - to the detriment of the students it is suppose to serve - a "rainy day fund" of 42.7%.

Maybe it's my heightened state of emotion, but...

...I think somebody's got some splainin' to do!