Will Co. (ECWd) –
About the time you think you have seen it all with public bodies and their spending, a new one jumps up and raises the bar just a little bit higher.
The Lincoln-Way school district 210 gets some financial support from what is called the Lincoln-Way High School Foundation. Many may recall the Foundation boon-doggle we exposed with the College of DuPage. The Lincoln-Way Foundation may not be that bad, but I have to say, their 990 tax form mission statement is one that clearly is in conflict with actions.
“TO CREATIVELY GENERATE FINANCIAL SUPPORT WITH WHICH TO ENRICH AND ENHANCE THE OPPORTUNITIES AND EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES OF LINCOLN WAY H.S. STUDENTS”
Clearly that statement points to financial support for the benefit of ‘students’.
Looking at their 990 filing, I found it very strange for a non profit corporation to not have a single hour of work performed by any of its members? (See pages 10-13)
Another interesting twist is they claim no salaries of any kind being paid from the Foundation. Many would look at that as a good thing, as do I, but there clearly is a twist!
The current compensation for the Executive Director reflects zero on the private corporation filing (See page 4), however, the taxpayers of District 210 are paying a reported $120,435.00 in wages & benefits to this ‘private’ corporation’s Executive Director.
Two reasons this jumped out at me when I read it, the first being that the mission statement is to enrich and enhance the opportunities and educational experiences of Lincoln-Way students.
The Foundation provided $251,836 in grants last year (See page 4), however when you factor the district turning back $120,435.00 in salary and benefits to the Executive Director, it appears to be nothing more than a money shuffle. That leads back to the mission statement and a question of who is actually being enriched, the students or the Executive Director?
In reality, the Foundation only provided $131,401.00 based on their grant numbers to the school minus the salary being paid by the district.
The second matter that jumped out was the fact I have been unable to find any statutory authority for a school district to spend taxpayer money on a salary for an Executive Director of a private corporation, non-profit or otherwise.
The Community College Act and State University statutes contain clear language on the operation of a Foundation in connection with those education systems. Interestingly, I find nothing in the School Code permitting such expenditures.
If there is no statutory authority to spend tax payer money for a salary of a private company Executive, then I would say the taxpayers of District 210 may want to consider a false claim to recover those funds.
Compounding the concerns is the fact the agent of record for this non profit just happens to also be the Assistant Superintendent. Many would argue that creates a conflict and most would agree at a minimum it carries the appearance of a conflict.
Stay tuned for more exposure of the half billion dollar bond debt boon-doggle known as Lincoln-Way District 210.
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