A Parents Care Editorial

by Executive Director Frank McCormick


Tonight, the District sent out two emails celebrating District 67's 14th consecutive year of earning an Aaa bond rating from Moody's.

Good news, right?

I wish it were that simple because behind the glowing emails is a cold reality: the District scores an Aaa Bond rating because of how much you're taxed.

The Truth About That Aaa Bond Rating

The District's Take:

  • "This rating results from the District's longstanding tradition of sound financial practices and reflects our Board's commitment to fiscal responsibility and careful oversight of taxpayer dollars intended to advance educational opportunities for our students."
  • "This news signifies the District's continued commitment to responsible fiscal management and strong financial health."

The Truth:

This rating says NOTHING about fiscal responsibility or oversight of taxpayer dollars. It's a rating that assesses SOLVENCY: the possession of assets- your tax dollars- in excess of liabilities- what the District spends. 

But don't take my word for it. I subscribed to Moodys so I could read the actual report:

In other words, because of the higher-than-average incomes in Lake Forest, the District has a "strong net cash position" (tax dollars) in excess of what they have spent and borrowed.


So, basically, the District scored an Aaa Bond rating because they've built up huge cash reserves due to how much they've been taxing people and continually raising the property tax levy to the MAX (past fifteen years)...

Um, congratulations...?

But wait, it gets worse:

Moodys says this score was partly due to PLANNED expenditure reductions (cutting teaching aide positions, more later this week...) and GROWING PROPERTY TAX REVENUE.

Why Am I So Fired Up?

To be sure, if this was a private sector company whose income was derived from sales, an Aaa bond rating would be superb. But that's not the case. We're talking about an enormous unit of government, the school district (with the largest per capita spending of any government institution, including the military), taking credit for how much YOU earn and how much they collect taxes.

But what bothers me is the spin: claiming that they earned this rating due to "fiscal responsibility" and "tax oversight." Heck, this wasn't just spin; it was an outright lie.

This gets me fired up because I've seen this type of manipulation and dishonesty so many times during my tenure as a public school educator that I've lost count. And it's always the same for public school administrators: obfuscation and suppression of any negative or problematic findings while erupting into a thunderous chorus of self-applause for whatever they can take credit for.

I get it: Dr. Montgomery- earning a gross compensation package of nearly half a million per year with 50+ paid days off annually- has a self-interest in convincing taxpayers that everything is great. But the dishonesty of taking credit for an Aaa bond rating under the auspices of being good stewards of your tax dollars while, in reality, receiving it because of how much of your tax dollars they're taking is too much.

Is honesty from public employees and our elected officials too much to ask?


Thank you for listening, and have a great night!

Frank McCormick
Executive Director
Parents Care