Mercer County school board takes action to provide a 'safety net'

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record
District 404 office and Mercer County Intermediate School.

The Mercer County District 404 Board of Education on Wednesday, March 16, approved transferring $335,000 from the Education Fund to the Working Cash Fund.

Board president Julie Wagner said the uncertainty in Springfield forced the board's hand.

"We would not have done it if the state would have said 'we won't freeze property taxes,'" Wagner said.

She explained that if property taxes are frozen, District 404 would be unable to issue Working Cash Fund bonds for at least the next two years. That, in turn, could have left the district without sufficient cash.

"It was a safety net," Wagner said of Wednesday's action. "Most districts (in Illinois) are doing it."

The action amounts to an internal loan and will be repaid this year.

The board discussed, but took no action, on approval of the loan amount for Phase II of the high school HVAC project. Wagner said the district's 10-year life-safety inspection is coming up.

"They're either going to say, 'you're OK," or we're going to require you to do $2 million of work.

She said the discussion centered on "what do we do now compared to what we'll do in the future. Between now and March 30 (date of a special board meeting), we're going to figure out what we're going to do."