The consortium that provides special education services to local school districts recently found itself with an extra $2.7 million on its hands. The Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative decided to hand the money back to the 24 taxpayer-support school districts that use its services.
So where did this “windfall” come from? Well, the state paid its debts to the coop faster than expected. The money was mainly reimbursement for health and social services provided to students that are reimbursed by state dollars, and that money didn’t lag as much as usual.
And will this money flow back to taxpayers as rebates or push back your next property tax increase?
Unlikely. Some districts may use it to pay off their portion of the cooperative’s debt for its buildings. Some may keep it in reserve to ensure they have money for their ongoing expenses related to the services they use to teach their special education students.
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You see, school districts and the coop have payrolls to meet. They can’t count on the state to pay in a timely fashion, so they need 30, 60 or even 90 days of reserve cash because the state is unreliable and will regularly take that long to meet its obligations.
The coop will still keep $1.5 million in reserve, just in case, which is usually the case.
After all, people expect their checks on time. People who expect others to wait 30, 60 or even 90 days are generally labeled as deadbeats.
So what do you call an entity that is $7 billion behind in its bills and regularly makes some folks wait 150 days? The State of Illinois.