NEW LENOX – A state representative has filed legislation asking the Illinois Auditor General to conduct a performance audit that would include a review of state funds at Lincoln-Way High School District 210.
State Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, along with state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, filed legislation based on the financial troubles at Lincoln-Way.
The district voted in August to shut down one of its four academic buildings to close the gap on multimillion-dollar deficits that have landed it on the state’s financial watchlist.
After McDermed held a town hall meeting specifically for Lincoln-Way residents, she decided to file a resolution seeking an audit from Illinois Auditor General William Holland. Residents at the meeting said they were upset at district officials for their lack of transparency and financial accountability.
“One of the things that came out of the town hall was a request from folks to ask the Illinois Auditor General to do [an audit],” McDermed said.
Lincoln-Way officials are researching the scope of forensic and external audits requested by board members Sept. 24. The board members made their decision after thousands of residents petitioned for a forensic audit and board member Christopher McFadden recommended one.
Superintendent Scott Tingley said he was going to meet with McDermed to discuss the resolution. Lincoln-Way is audited by the Illinois State Board of Education regularly, and annual financial reports are submitted to the state, he said.
“My goal, as it has been throughout this process, is trying to continue to move this district forward to become more financially stable, and continue to provide opportunities for our students,” Tingley said. “In order to do that, we must move forward. In terms of looking at an audit or past practices, I’m fine with that. But our ultimate goal is moving forward.”
He said he didn’t think it would be responsible to taxpayers to have multiple audits done. If district officials wanted to do an audit, they would want it done right and pay for it one time, he said.
Board President Kevin Molloy said Tuesday he didn’t read McDermed’s resolution but he was “100 percent in favor” of Hastings’ legislation on school closures. He also said he was supportive of Hastings’ bill because Hastings was once a board member.
Hastings has said he was proposing a bill that would make the school closure process more transparent and give the public a voice.
McDermed’s resolution asks the auditor general to conduct a performance audit by entering an intergovernmental agreement with Lincoln-Way. District officials would pay the cost of the audit.
The audit would include the district’s sources of revenue and expenses from fiscal 2005 to 2015. The audit also would determine if the board followed school code and board policy under several financial activities.