D97's accounting snafus

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The abject letters of apology from District 97's finance department are wearing very thin. Last week Oak Park's public elementary schools screwed up a most basic function. They did not get their entire staff paid on time.

An "internal oversight." "Profuse" apologies. An "inexcusable" result. All the right words, but what is the explanation for why this school district can't properly manage its basic financial obligations? 

This time the district acknowledged it had not uploaded payroll data to its bank on time for checks to be direct-deposited. They found out when employees began to howl that their checking accounts were bare.

A year ago, the district admitted it had not been withholding the correct amount of payroll taxes from paychecks leading to confusion and upset.

Then there was the district's miscalculation of the amount to be collected via the tax hike referendum voters generously approved in 2017. The result is that the district is overtaxing residents and using a gerry-rigged abatement process to even the score. 

We'd say heads should roll but the person in charge of finances a year ago is long gone and the person at the helm this year has already announced his departure — watch out, Proviso Township High Schools!

Trust is basic. It is earned. It is lost. It is hard to regain.

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