Hammond School Trustee: We Have a Serious Cash Flow Problem

Hammond School Board defers NIPSCO payments for November and December to 2019 after learning that state would recapture $1.8M due to declining enrollment.

December 19, 2019-Hammond residents learned tonight that the School City of Hammond received a report from a consultant regarding the districts current financial state.  The report was not shared with the public but was discussed by Trustee Cindy Murphy during a discussion regarding employee raises.  Trustee Murphy stated that Chief Financial Officer Theo Boone has put employee payroll for 38 employees into the referendum fund and has deferred NIPSCO bills for two months.  Trustee Murphy questioned how the bills could be paid next year with decreased enrollment and a looming fiscal cliff.

Trustee Janiec responded that the district has faced numerous challenges over the years and has always met the challenges.  Trustee Murphy responded that the pay raises would ultimately lead to employees being furloughed.  “These people deserve this raise, but how can we give it when we know that we are going to cut positions in order to pay for it?”

Additionally Trustee Murphy warned that the self-insurance fund was dangerously low.  According to Trustee Murphy the self-insurance fund was supposed to be maintained at $2.5M and it is currently at $1.5M. School CFO Theo Boone suggested that increased revenue based on increased tax revenue in 2019 could make up the shortfall and that we should revisit open enrollment.

We hope to obtain a copy of the consultant’s report regarding the financial condition of the schools and share it with readers in the coming days.  Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more breaking stories and original reporting.

8 Comments

  1. It seems that it’s okay for the School Board to negotiate back room deals and contracts without public notification, while exposing only “lack of funds” to the light of day. Once before, I showed what members of the School Board of Hammond make as salaries and it was defended that they “earned” the money. It’s not “earned” when teachers are leaving Hammond because we can’t pay them a decent salary while these people are pulling these salaries plus perks:

    School City of Hammond Walter Watkins Superintendent $152,798.00 $29,315.00
    Theresa Mayerik Chief Administrator, Academic Affairs/ Acting Superintendent $118,004.00 $21,794.00
    Esther Goodes Executive Director, Secondary Education $95,527.00 $19,794.00
    Staci Bennett Executive Director, Elementary Education $89,178.00 $21,213.00
    Theopolis Boone Chief Administrator, Business Services $118,004.00 $21,794.00
    Alesia Pritchett Director, Business Services $102,042.00 $11,911.00
    Kristopher Rivera Chief Administrator, Human Resource $113,509.00 $21,782.00
    Linda Fullilove Director, Student Services/Athletic Director $102,557.00 $21,251.00
    Julie Boettger Food Service Director $92,122.00 $11,883.00
    Cynthia Warner-Lowe Director, Adult Education $108,523.00 $11,929.00
    Anthony Salinas Director, Language Development Program $96,535.00 $11,895.00
    Catherine Danko Title 1 Director $90,724.00 $21,218.00
    Connie Manous Special Education Director $108,523.00 $1,898.00
    Mary Beth Nickolaou Director, Talent & Development $96,535.00 $11,895.00
    Kenneth Benich Jr. Director, Technology & Assessment $84,878.00 $21,201.00
    Diane Schweitzer Director, Maintenance & Construction $105,124.00 $11,919.00

    Taxpayers need a lot more transparency as to where the money is going – instead of being told “tax increases” will make up the differences. If we’re a million dollars short, perhaps we need “outside” professional help to examine past spending and help improve future spending??? As Albert Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

  2. No talk of fiscal concerns before the last election. This has been brewing for some time. Now it is presented?

    Start with a 20% reduction in administrative staff, 20% reduction in administrative staff salaries, and then look at unnecessary staff from all departments. From housekeeping to classrooms.

    If enrollment has fallen so should staff.

  3. Perhaps if we got rid of a little at the top perhaps the teachers could get their raises and the Nipsco bill could be paid. It is a shame that there are so many teachers struggling to make ends meet while there are several overpaid admin making three to four times as much. Hammond needs some major admin overhaul.

  4. That excuse for poorly-performing public sector employees could only come from someone for whom government is an iron lung. As an aside, is there a new Connie Manous (Mother of the convicted Peter Manous) in town? If this is the Connie Manous I know she is in her early 80s.

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