FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Schiller appoints members of Financial Oversight Panel
for Livingston School District
First meeting set for Friday December 27
Two former school district superintendents with substantial
finance experience will serve on the Financial Oversight Panel
for Livingston School District 4, State Superintendent of
Education Robert E. Schiller announced today. A third appointment
is pending and Schiller said he expects to announce that appointment
prior to a meeting of the FOP scheduled for Friday.
The State Board of Education voted Dec. 18 to establish the
Financial Oversight Panel to help the district address its
growing financial problems.
“The Financial Oversight Panel faces a large –
and very important – task in guiding this ailing district
to a strengthened financial position,” Schiller said.
“These individuals bring substantial expertise and experience
to this new role, and I am very grateful for their willingness
to accept this challenge.”
Schiller appointed Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville
professor Curtis Smith to serve as chairman of the FOP. Robert
Stuart, retired Superintendent of Edwardsville School District
7, was also appointed by Schiller to serve on the FOP.
Smith has been a professor in the Department of Educational
Leadership at SIU-E for 13 years with specialty areas including
finance, strategic planning and school business management.
He previously served four years on the board of education
for the Edwardsville school district. Prior to joining SIU-E,
Smith was Superintendent for two school districts in Ohio.
Stuart served the Edwardsville school district for 35 years,
retiring in 1996 after serving five years as Superintendent.
He began his career as a science teacher at Edwardsville Junior
High School. He also previously served as President of the
Region II Special Education cooperative.
Livingston, in Madison County, has been on the State Board’s
list of districts “Certified In Financial Difficulty”
since 1988. The Livingston School Board voted in November
to petition the State Board to appoint a Financial Oversight
Panel, then subsequently rescinded that action. The State
Board established an involuntary FOP because the district’s
finances are deteriorating and the district did not follow
the financial plan approved by the State Board for the 2001-2002
The State Board is authorized by state statutes to impose
a FOP on certified districts that do not adhere to approved
financial plans. Livingston’s previous plans had shown
modest reductions in outstanding debt, and the FY2003 plan
was approved in June contingent on the continued reduction
of outstanding debt.
However, a recent audit of the district raised numerous concerns
regarding declining fund balances and the necessity of borrowing
Creation of a Financial Oversight Panel means that the Livingston
Board of Education will have to develop a financial plan to
be approved by the Panel, and the FOP will have to approve
every financial transaction of the district.
Livingston is the fourth district to operate with a FOP.
Mt. Morris, the first district to have a FOP, has since annexed
to another district. East St. Louis School District 189 in
St. Clair County has operated with a FOP since 1994. Round
Lake School District 116 in Lake County and Hazel Crest School
District 152 ½ in Cook County each operated with a
FOP but have since been placed under the oversight of School
Establishing a Financial Oversight Panel makes the district
eligible for a grant and a loan from the Emergency Financial
Assistance Fund if requested by the FOP and approved by the
State Superintendent. The Financial Oversight Panel is to
be composed of three individuals appointed by the State Superintendent
of Education and will exist for no less than 3 years and possibly
up to 10 years.
The first meeting of the Financial Oversight Panel for Livingston
School District 4 is scheduled Friday December 27 at 1:00
P.M. in the Madison County Regional Office of Education, 157
N. Main (Suite 438), Edwardsville.