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Perry County, IL

School Debt Caused by the State

School Debt Caused by the State
By: Arnold Wyrick
 
Perry County, Illinois - It started out as a state funded expansion project for the Community Consolidated School District #204, near Pinckneyville. But the construction project has turned into a huge debt for the school district.
 
"I've spent the past couple of weeks scrambling trying to get money into our bank. So that we can make payroll, and pay our bills," says Superintendent Chris Rigdon.
 
The problems began shortly after work began on the 1.6 million dollar project, this past August.
"We've not received a state payment for work conducted in October, November, December, and January. Which has caused a real cash flow problem for us," Superintendent Rigdon said.
 
The school district qualified for a 25% district funded, 75% state funded grant from the Illinois Capital Development Board. The district had no problems paying their share of the costs.
 
"When we count on the state to pay 75%, and we have to do it up front for months on end. It makes it almost impossible for us to pay our own daily bills," said Rigdon.
 
So the school district turned to First National Bank in Steelville for a working capital loan of $315,000.00 dollars, at a 2.5% interest rate. There is light though at the end of the tunnel for the school district, recently through the coordinated efforts of State Senator Dave Luchtefeld the district received a check for $143,000 of the $500,000 the state currently owes.
 
"It's a good start. But they're still behind a lot of dollars. And we hope the state will come through soon," Superintendent Rigdon said.
 
The project is expected to be completed in the Spring, and students could begin moving into their new classrooms, as early as next month.
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