Good for the Lyons Township High School District 204 Board of Education. After seven long years, the school district was able to get out from under the thumb of the Lyons Township School Treasurer’s Office, one of several archaic entities created in the 19th century to handle investments and other financial aspects beyond the capability of school districts back in the day.
About 20 years ago, Lyons Township High School told the Township Treasurer’s Office (TTO for short) that it was more than capable of paying its bills, cutting checks and managing its cash reserves. At the time, they worked out an arrangement to do so without having to pay the TTO for those services.
In 2013, the TTO decided it wanted those service charges anyway and sued to get some $6 million they said was owed to them by LTHS. In the end, a judge disagreed and the TTO ended up with a fraction of what it sought. Due to legislation in the meantime by the General Assembly, whenever the TTO’s lawsuit concluded, LTHS was free to break its ties with the agency.
Last week, after the lawsuit decision appeal period came and went, the LTHS Board of Education did just that. They ended their relationship with the TTO and are in the process of getting their funds transferred back to them.
Exactly how this is going to affect the TTO financially is unclear, though District 204 is by far the largest single school district within the TTO’s purview and will take with it a large amount of cash.
What we hope this paves the way for, since there is now precedent for it, is other school district’s challenging the authority of the TTO to handle their financial affairs and seeking to break with the agency as well.
The time has finally come for the TTO, which only exists in Cook County, to dissolve and let school districts, which now have plenty of administrative capability to handle their own finances, do so.
When you think of redundant governmental bodies, especially ones which spend $4 million to litigate a lawsuit that nets them less than $1 million, the TTO tops the list.
This is an agency that’s supposed to be getting its members good returns on their investments. The TTO has demonstrated that it’s not a reliable partner when it comes to that job. It’s time for it to go.
It’s been too long since we at the Landmark have been able to wave and say hello in person to all of our devoted and not-so-devoted readers. Our day to do that is typically at the parades in Riverside and Brookfield on the Fourth of July, and last year we didn’t get that chance.
But, we’ll be back at both parades on July 3 with enough Dubble Bubble on hand (we hope) to say hi, wish you a fine Independence Day and toss you a piece of gum or two.
It’ll be good to be back, and if the weather forecast is to be believed, it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day. Happy Fourth, all, we’ve missed you.