LT receives permission to split from treasurer

Mia Bonfiglio, Reporter

A new law is in the process of being passed in the Illinois legislature that will allow Lyons Township to separate from the Township Treasurer Office (TTO)—an office that manages finances and investments for schools in the district—once all litigation is completed between the two parties that was in existence when the bill was originally introduced.

“This is long overdue,” Superintendent Timothy Kilrea said. “Most large high schools like us already have that autonomy. This is not uncommon and personally, I feel this is the right thing for our taxpayers because this is a duplication of services.”

The Chicago Tribune reported that the bill was passed on May 31, allowing LT to finance themselves and invest however they wish.

This new legislation will give school districts the ability to manage their own finances and control costs, which will ultimately help save taxpayers expenses of the TTO, House Minority leader and Republican Jim Durkin said. Cook County is the last county where this type of government entity exists.

“For years I have been working on this legislation and am proud to say we were able to reach a bipartisan agreement this year that allowed us to end this wasteful layer of government,” Durkin said. “The continued operation only fuels the public’s disdain for inefficient government.”

A past agreement between LT and the TTO allowed LT to perform certain functions in house, like controlling finances as they got larger and the TTO would pay them for their services, Kilrea said. LT faced a lawsuit from the TTO claiming LT owes them money and that this agreement never existed, despite the two parties agreeing to LT completing the services the TTO was supposed to do.

“We essentially already finance ourselves,” LTHS Business Manager Brian Stachacz said. “It is my stance that the tasks involved with them [TTO] are certainly tasks we are capable of completing here at LT.”

LT is paid to do the same things the TTO does, like financing themselves, but additional fees are paid to them, Kilrea said. Over the past five years, LT has spent over $1 million in fees to the TTO with little in return. Other schools in the district have paid legal fees of more than $2 million.

Currently, there are no issues in relations between both parties in terms of working together, other than LT’s belief that they are paying an exorbitant amount for services that are not utilized, Stachacz said.

“I want them [the community] to know that this is an awful lot of money being expended and taken away from school districts,” Kilrea said. “In my opinion, it is not necessary to have this office.”