State board gives Cahokia school district OK to borrow $4 million

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The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved Cahokia’s financial plan, which includes issuing $4 million in working cash fund bonds.

Cahokia District 187 has been under state oversight since 2008, when it was certified as a district in financial difficulty. Such schools must submit financial plans to the state board, and all borrowing must be approved before the district can take on debt.

According to the ISBE, the district has $3.5 million in its working cash fund. Because of delayed state payments, and a deficit of about $1.4 million in the operation and maintenance fund, more working cash is needed.

As part of the agenda packet released before the meeting, ISBE specified that the bonds would not be used to sustain current operations, but act as an “internal bank” against future cash flow needs. The packet explained that the bonds would mean an increase to the district’s debt, extending repayment by about two years. Under the financial plan, the district will be out of debt in 2022.

At the same meeting, the board named Tony Smith the state superintendent of education, effective May 1. He replaces Christopher Koch, who has been superintendent since 2006.