IL school district could close in light of power company request - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL school district could close in light of power company request


Officials with the Shawnee School District #84 fear schools could face closing if the county reassesses a southern Illinois power plant's property value.

A letter from the Jackson County Board of Review to the school district details the Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC is asking the county to lower its full market value on the Grand Tower Power Plant from $100,337,421 to $7,049,295.

But the Shawnee School District, which gets a large cut of the property taxes collected, is fighting back.

"The major part of our tax base comes from Jackson County because of the Grand Tower Power Plant," district superintendent Shell Clover-Hill said.

She said if the taxes are lowered, that could spell disaster for the district and its 400 students.

"We won't be able to operate,” Clover-Hill said. “The district will close."

That would mean about 400 students and 40 facility members would have to find someplace else to go.

Rockland Capital, which owns Grand Tower Energy Center, LLC, bought the property from Ameren Electric in early 2014.

Along with the plant, the company also took on a court order the school district, Ameren, and the county agreed to on how the power plant would be assessed in the future.

Now, a letter from the county to the school district details what the plant's new owner is asking. It asks that the county lower its full assessed value on the property by more than $90 million.

We reached out to Rockland Capital for comment. As of Thursday night, no one returned our call.

It is an issue the school district has seen before.

Clover-Hill said they were able to negotiate with the power company last time, and the district is open to it again.

"The district is willing to sit down at the table with them and discuss all options with them,” Clover-Hill said.

A meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 2 to address the topic has been canceled due to weather-related issues, according to Clover-Hill. There is no reschedule date at this point.

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