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District 87 Seeks $15 Million Bond To Cover COVID-19 Impacts

District 87 headquarters
Eric Stock
District 87's school board will consider issuing $15 million in bonds at its meeting on Wednesday.

District 87 is looking to issue $15 million in working cash bonds to cushion the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In anticipation of the uncertainty, we are looking for make sure we have adequate funds in the bank to be able to cover our expenses,” said Colin Manahan, the district's chief financial and facilities officer.“We’re just concerned about cash flow. We are concerned about the ability to collect property tax revenue. We are concerned about being able to meet payroll expenses.”

Colin Manahan
Credit District 87
District 87 Chief Financial and Facilities Officer Colin Manahan said the district needs to prepare for financial uncertainty doe to COVID-19.

Manahan said the district also is looking to refinance one of its existing bonds to minimize the tax impact, adding the bonds would likely cost the owner of a $175,000 home less than $20 more per year.

He said that appears to be the most viable option to prepare for what will likely be some kind of financial shortfall.

“You could look at trying to increase the overall tax rate through referendum,” Manahan said. “You could look to cut programs. So, the path that we have chosen and that many districts throughout the state have chosen is to be able to cover deficit spending is through the issuance of working cash bonds.”

The school board will vote on the plan Wednesday night. The district would look to pay off the bonds over a maximum of 12 years.

Before the pandemic, District 87 already was facing rising costs and stagnant property tax revenues. That was projected in the district’s $2 million deficit budget it approved last fall.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.