State superintendent names financial oversight panel for Round Lake schools



May 26, 2000

(217) 782-4648 or (312) 814-3490


            The state is taking the next step to help Round Lake school officials deal with the financial difficulties that have beset their district – an oversight panel appointed by the state superintendent.

            Last week, the Illinois State Board of Education voted to accept a request from Round Lake Area School District 116 to set up the three-member panel to oversee its finances.  State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee today announced his appointments to the panel.

            The local school board will continue to be responsible for running the district.  The district’s finances, however, will be subject to review and approval by the Financial Oversight Panel, which will ensure that the district establishes a viable financial plan and adheres to its provisions.

            Round Lake has been certified “in financial difficulty” since 1992, which required that an annual financial plan be submitted to the State Board.  Despite its best efforts, the district’s financial status has not improved.

            This spring, the community showed its support for restoring the district’s finances by approving two referendums, a $14.7 million building bond and a $.45 increase in the education tax rate.  Even with this strong community support, the district recognized the need for the establishment of a Financial Oversight Panel to get its finances in order.

            Under the Financial Oversight Panel, the district is eligible for state emergency financial assistance if the panel concludes it is needed to meet the financial plan it approves for the district.  Provisions of the Illinois School Code make the district eligible for up to $250 per student in an emergency financial assistance grant and up to $1,000 per student in an emergency loan.  The panel would submit the request for emergency assistance to the State Board for approval.

            Marc Spivak, a former school board president, will serve as the panel’s chairman.  William L. Thompson, a former district and regional superintendent in Lake County, and Joseph Monahan, retired business manager of Niles Township High School district 219, round out the panel’s membership.

            “These individuals bring outstanding skills, knowledge and experience to the challenge of restoring the finances of the Round Lake schools,” said McGee.  “They are sincerely interested in ensuring the quality of education for Round Lake students, and I appreciate their willingness to assist the district.”

            One of the first tasks for the panel will be the appointment of a financial administrator, who will act as the panel’s chief executive officer.

            The panel will also review the district’s request for emergency financial assistance, which could make additional state funds available to help the district meet its operational needs.  If the State Board of Education determines that such assistance is appropriate, the district would be eligible to receive as much as $250 per student in an emergency assistance grant and $1,000 per student in an emergency assistance loan.

            Under current law, the Financial Oversight Panel will be in place for at least three years, with a limit of 10 years.

            The panel’s powers include, but are not limited to, the following:

·        Requiring the district to develop and gain approval of an annual financial plan.

·        Requiring an annual balanced budget in accordance with accounting systems and procedures prescribed by the panel.

·        Approving any and all bonds, notes and other evidences of indebtedness prior to issuance or sale by the district.

·        Approving all contracts and other obligations the panel deems necessary.

·        Authorizing a proposal for emergency financial assistance from the state.

            The financial administrator appointed by the panel will work with the Round Lake school board and district officials to develop the budget and financial plan for the district.  Under the direction of the panel, the administrator may direct the local school board in reorganizing its accounts, accounting and financial controls and budgetary systems.  The administrator also serves as an advisor to the Financial Oversight Panel, making recommendations on matters that fall within the panel’s authority.

            Round Lake is the third school district to have such a panel appointed.

            Marc Spivak, an attorney with the Chicago firm of Topper and Weiss, served on the board of Kildeer Countryside Community Consolidated School District 96 in Buffalo Grove from 1983 to 1999, the last eight years as its president.  He and his wife Marilyn live in Buffalo Grove and have two sons.

            William Thompson has extensive experience in school administration, including 10 years as superintendent of Fox Lake Grade School District 114, four years as first assistant superintendent for the Lake County Educational Service Region and 12 years as regional superintendent.  Since 1991, he has worked as a consultant to the regional superintendent.  Thompson is the father of five children.  He and his wife live in Antioch.

            Joseph Monahan’s background in financial management includes work in the corporate and educational fields.  He recently retired from a position as business manager for Niles Township High School District 219 and before that worked as controller and director of internal audit for the Chicago public schools after gaining audit experience at W.R. Grace and IBM.  Since retiring in 1997, Monahan has held several interim and special assignment positions for area schools and districts.  Monahan is a resident of Elmwood Park.


The Panel’s first meeting will be Friday, June 2 at 11:00 a.m. in the Lake County Regional Office of Education, 800 Lancer Lane, Grayslake.