Jackson Co. school cutting student programs after power plant do - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jackson Co. school cutting student programs after power plant doesn't pay taxes

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

The owners of a Jackson County power plant want a lower tax bill. Now, they're not paying up.

Rockland Capital owns the Grand Tower power plant and paid out more than $2.4 million to Jackson County in 2014.

The county then split that money between nine taxing bodies.

One of them, Shawnee District 84, got more than $1.4 million.

Now, Rockland wants that bill lowered. The company fought, and lost, but is now appealing.

In the meantime, it hasn't paid anything on its 2015 bill and district leaders are worried.

We asked Superintendent Shellie Clover-Hill, did she ever believe this would happen?

"No, I didn’t even know that it was a possibility," Clover-Hill said. "In fact, our attorneys from Chicago called it precedent setting, they have never dealt with this.”

Clover-Hill said she never thought she would have to deal with something quite like this.

“I was expecting the payment late October, first of November, was expecting it at any time," she said. "I was not expecting the phone call saying you wasn’t going to get it at all.”

Shawnee School District gets about $1.6 million from Jackson County, with $1.4 million of that coming from the power plant.

Without those funds available, the school district has had no choice but to put some student programs on hold.

Luckily, when it comes to salaries, the district properly planned for a situation like this.

“We are fortunate we have some money in reserves, so we’re fortunate in that respect that we can go several months with the money," Clover-Hill said. "We have in the bank, unfortunately when we deplete that, that’s it.”

Jamie Nash-Mayberry is a teacher at Shawnee High school. She said the company not paying their taxes could greatly affect her students education

“We would have to make cuts that would be unbelievable to impact the students," Nash-Mayberry said. "It’s scary to think about what programs might get cut, not just extracurricular it can be things that impact in the classroom.”

Clover-Hill said she will make sure the district continues teaching students and is proud to have her staff full support.

“We are trying to make short-term and long-term plans for this, we are not closing, contrary to what the rumor mill will be tomorrow," Clover-Hill said. "We are going to tighten our belts and I asked for their cooperation and I have no doubt we will get that.”

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