FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2003
State Superintendent names new chair
and members to Round Lake School Finance Authority
State Superintendent Robert E. Schiller has appointed
George Lingel of Rockford to chair the five-member Round
Lake School District 116 School Finance Authority.
In other changes to the SFAs membership, Superintendent
Schiller appointed Round Lake Beach resident Robert
M. Traxler to fulfill the remainder of the term of Lewis
Bud Hoose and Lake Bluff resident Edwin
Kula to fulfill the term of the current chair, John
P. Schockmel. Hoose resigned effective April 15, and
Schockmel resigned effective May 1. Two members of the
authority are district residents, as required by law;
the other three are nonresidents.
Lingel, who has served as a member of the SFA since
the group was formed in August 2002, recently retired
from Palatine School District 15 where he was Assistant
Superintendent for Business and Auxiliary Services.
He is a former director of the Illinois Association
of School Business Officials and previously served several
school districts in the business office and as a teacher.
Traxler retired from the United States Army with the
rank of major. He holds a bachelors degree in
criminal justice from St. Leo College and has completed
several courses at Webster College in pursuit of a masters
degree in public administration. For the past eight
years, he has served on the Round Lake Beach Planning
and Zoning Commission, currently serving as its recording
secretary. Traxler will serve the remainder of the three-year
Kula is Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Treasurer
for Township High School District 113 in Highland Park.
He is chairman of the Executive Board of the Collective
Liability Insurance Cooperative and a member and past-president
of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.
Previously he served area schools as a teacher, assistant
superintendent for fiscal affairs, and business manager.
He is certified as a chief school business official.
Kula will serve the remainder of the three-year term.
The other SFA members are Maru E. Tomusiak of Fox Lake
and Bish Krywko of Round Lake.
The Round Lake SFA was formed in August 2002 when the
State Board of Education accepted the petition of the
Round Lake School District 116 Financial Oversight Panel
to create a school finance authority. The school district
has had severe financial problems for several years.
District 116 was placed on the states Financial
Watch List, and the State Board certified the district
as In Financial Difficulty on April 16,
1992. Although financial plans were developed as required,
the financial condition of the district continued to
worsen. The district faced a short-term debt of $10.5
million and long-term debt of $37 million in April 2000
when it asked the State Board to create a financial
oversight panel to improve its financial condition and
to make the district eligible for a state emergency
loan and grant.
The oversight panel secured the emergency financial
assistance of a $1.4-million grant from the state and
instituted several cost-cutting measures that produced
the first balanced budget for the district in more than
ten years. Still, the district faced huge long-term
debt that could not be met within the existing structure.
The oversight panel considered several options for assuring
long-term viability for the district and held several
public hearings to gather input on the financial and
organizational options. The panel concluded that a school
finance authority, similar to one created by the legislature
in 1980 to stabilize the Chicago Public School Districts
finances, held the most promise for strengthening students
educational opportunities and stabilizing district finances.
The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation in
spring 2002 authorizing creation of a school finance
authority with the approval of the State Board of Education.
Governor George Ryan signed the legislation into law
in June 2002. The school finance authority has the power
to appoint the top management of the district, including
a chief executive officer, a chief educational officer
to replace the position of superintendent when the current
superintendents contract expires, and a chief
fiscal officer to replace the position of school business
official. In addition, the school finance authority
is empowered to negotiate collective bargaining agreements,
to issue debt within specified limits and to establish
tax rates necessary to pay off the debt. It is removed
from some of the limitations of tax caps.