Township School Treasurer Offices were originally created in Illinois in 1819 to provide financial services to elementary and high school districts. In 1962, the State Legislature determined that they were not needed any more and dissolved all the agencies except in suburban Cook County. As required by law, the Lyons Township School Treasurer’s Office (TTO) manages nearly $300 million in public funds for its member school districts, including LTHS. The office also manages payroll, billing and bookkeeping for members schools, with the exception of LT. LT has its own Business Office and has managed its own operations for more than 30 years. The TTO has a separately elected Board whose charge is to provide oversight of the operation of the office and of their agent, the Township Treasurer. The TTO is not a taxing authority and has no money of its own. All of its funds come from the school districts within Lyons Township
Annually, the TTO issues each member school district an invoice for a share of the TTO’s expenses. Since the 1970’s, LT has been performing its own payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable while also making payment for those same services to the TTO, despite the fact that those services were not provided to LT. In 1999, concerned that it was paying for duplicate services, the LT Board worked with the TTO so that this double-payment would be eliminated. This resulted in the agreement reached in 2000 where the TTO would credit LT for the costs of LT’s business services that the TTO otherwise would have had to perform. The TTO outsourced all payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable for LT and its employees to the LT Business Office. This agreement was entered into with the full authority of the TTO Board and the knowledge of both the TTO and LT’s auditors. The LT Board operates in an open and transparent manner and this agreement was entered into in the best interests of our taxpayers.
In 2013, the TTO’s treasurer was arrested, charged and later convicted of stealing over $1 million in school district funds. Despite multiple requests by multiple districts, the TTO never completed a forensic audit following the embezzlement.
Also in 2013, the TTO communicated to LT that they will no longer recognize the charge-back agreement that was in place between LT and the TTO for over a decade.
It was at this point that LT sought to leave the TTO. District taxpayers will be better served by a withdrawal from the TTO so that taxpayer monies are NOT spent on services NOT being accessed. In addition, separating from the TTO will give LT more direct control over its own resources.
There is precedence for school district withdrawal from the TTO in Cook County. Several Cook County high school districts have separated from their respective TTO’s, OPRF HSD 200; Morton HSD 201; Evanston HSD 202; New Trier HSD 203; Lemont HSD 201; Palatine HSD 211 (5 schools); Leyden HSD 212 (2 schools); Arlington Heights HSD 214 (4 schools); Consolidated HSD 230 (3 schools). (Source: Illinois State Board of Education)
Shortly after announcing our desire to leave the TTO, in 2013, the TTO filed a lawsuit against LTHS seeking millions in funds that it says LT owes. The TTO sought over $6 million in damages from LT. In May 2021, after a lengthy trial, the Court decided that there was nothing improper about the financial arrangements between LT and the TTO. The Court only required LT to pay a portion of the TTO’s expenses that LT had deducted from its invoices from 2013-19. LT had objected to the TTO charging LT for a portion of the more than $4 million that the TTO spent in attorneys’ fees on the lawsuit. Most of LT’s legal coast in the lawsuit were paid by LT’s insurance carrier.
The TTO is a layer of government that exists only in some suburbs of Cook County. District 204 believes it is an unnecessary unit of local government and serves no useful purpose as it relates to LT. In 2018, legislation passed that will allow LT to withdraw from the TTO upon final judgement and conclusion of all appeals associated with the lawsuit LT has urged the TTO not to file any appeal.