By Bob Skolnik
A number of area school boards, including Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 and LaGrange-Brookfield District 102, have recently passed resolutions authorizing their board presidents or another board member to work toward modifying districts' relationship with the Lyons Township School Treasurer's Office, known as the TTO.
A number of school board presidents in Lyons Township, including District 102 board President Brian Anderson and District 103 board President Marge Hubacek met in October to talk about the TTO.
They decided that it would be wise to get formal authorization from their school boards to engage in further discussions. Further meetings are likely to occur next year.
In most of suburban Cook County, the school township treasurer's office, by law, invests school districts funds and handles other financial matters, including signing checks, for school districts.
Many school districts would like to manage their own money and say that they can get along very well without the TTO. Lyons Township High School has been trying for years to leave the TTO behind and is still enmeshed in a longstanding lawsuit with agency over funds that the TTO claims the LTHS owes them.
TTOs do not exist in the rest of Illinois outside suburban Cook County. Many view the TTO's as an anachronism, dating back to the 19th century and unnecessary in today's world.
The Lyons Township School Treasurer is Kenneth T. Getty Jr., the brother of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty.
District 102 currently pays the Lyons TTO about $175,000 a year and District 102 pays the TTO about $152,000 for its services.
"We pay a lot of money to the TTO," Hubacek said. "We already print our own checks and do our own W-2s."
Hubacek, who worked as a secretary for District 103 for 33 years before retiring and being elected to the school board, said modern advances in computer software have made some of the services the TTO provides less important.
"Before the computer programs we have now, they did pretty much everything for us," Hubacek said.
Although District 103 and many other districts print their own checks, they still must be manually transported to the TTO's office in LaGrange so a signature stamp can be put on the checks.
Anderson and Hubacek say that the talks will be just exploratory and no changes are imminent. School districts in most of suburban Cook County are required by law to use the TTO and cannot drop the TTO without legislation being first passed by the Illinois General Assembly.
"That's not what we're talking about," Anderson said of talk about not using the TTO at all. "We're nowhere near even a discussion like that."
Anderson said that he thinks board presidents from nearby districts should talk to each other and share common concerns and interests. He said the group would talk about more than just the TTO and that he would be entering the discussions without any preconceived notions.
"D102 hasn't made a decision about anything related to the TTO," Anderson said.
Hubacek said that she would eventually like to see an open meeting between the Lyons TTO board, the township school treasurer and local school boards so officials could engage in dialogue.
Kenneth Getty Jr., who was appointed school treasurer in June, appeared before the District 102 school board in November to explain about the services the TTO provides to school districts.