FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Superintendent appoints
final member of
Financial Oversight Panel for Livingston School District
State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller has
appointed former O’Fallon school superintendent Maurice
Hesse to fill the remaining seat on the Financial Oversight
Panel for Livingston School District 4.
Hesse joins Panel chairman Curtis Smith, a professor in the
Department of Educational Leadership at Southern Illinois
University-Edwardsville and Robert Stuart, retired Superintendent
of Edwardsville School District 7. The Panel’s first
meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 27 at 1:00 P.M.
in the Madison County Regional Office of Education, 157 N.
Main (Suite 438), Edwardsville.
Hesse retired as the Superintendent of O’Fallon High
School District 203 in 1992. He currently serves as a member
of the board of education for that district.
Livingston, in Madison County, has been on the State Board’s
list of districts “Certified In Financial Difficulty”
since 1988. The Livingston School Board voted in November
to petition the State Board to appoint a Financial Oversight
Panel, then subsequently rescinded that action. The State
Board established an involuntary FOP because the district’s
finances are deteriorating and the district did not follow
the financial plan approved by the State Board for the 2001-2002
The State Board is authorized by state statutes to impose
a FOP on certified districts that do not adhere to approved
financial plans. Livingston’s previous plans had shown
modest reductions in outstanding debt, and the FY2003 plan
was approved in June contingent on the continued reduction
of outstanding debt.
However, a recent audit of the district raised numerous concerns
regarding declining fund balances and the necessity of borrowing
Creation of a Financial Oversight Panel means that the Livingston
Board of Education will have to develop a financial plan to
be approved by the Panel, and the FOP will have to approve
every financial transaction of the district.
Livingston is the fourth district to operate with a FOP.
Mt. Morris, the first district to have a FOP, has since annexed
to another district. East St. Louis School District 189 in
St. Clair County has operated with a FOP since 1994. Round
Lake School District 116 in Lake County and Hazel Crest School
District 152 ½ in Cook County each operated with a
FOP but have since been placed under the oversight of School
Establishing a Financial Oversight Panel makes the district
eligible for a grant and a loan from the Emergency Financial
Assistance Fund if requested by the FOP and approved by the
State Superintendent. The Financial Oversight Panel is to
be composed of three individuals appointed by the State Superintendent
of Education and will exist for no less than 3 years and possibly
up to 10 years.