So, Is the Huntley School District in Financial Trouble or Not?

After a long interview with Huntley District 158 Controller Mark Altmayer, the Northwest Herald published an article about how the finances of District 158 were bleak.

It was so bleak Certified Public Accountant Altmayer put on a lengthy presentation to teachers internally within the district showing how negative the finances are.  Altmayer told the public the teachers “got it.”

Northwest Herald editor Chris Krug chewed on District 158 officials in his Sunday column titled

“Krug: D-158 strumming wrong tune”

In essence, Krug wrote in his column about not understanding how everything could have gotten so bad so quickly.  Krug blamed the teachers’ contract.

Well, the financial condition was never as bad as Altmayer thought.

Anyone who listened to former board member Larry Snow would have already known the numbers the district put out were screwed up.  Snow had told me, as he told me he did administrators and residents, that Altmayer’s projections were way off.

Huntley School District 158 Comptroller Mark Altmayer

Altmayer admitted the the numbers were wrong at last night’s board meeting.

Altmayer attributed the $1.4 million mistake showing the district not having enough money to a “reference cell error.”

As if reference cells go around distorting financial projections all by themselves without human intervention.

It was not a pesky, reference cell varmint who made the error. Altmayer is the one who produced and presented the calculations to the media and public.

Maybe he misunderstood how property taxes are calculated. They are confusing.

In any event, here was another Huntley school official publicly crying wolf to the Northwest Herald, the paper printing the story and all it turned out to be was a large calculation error by the district’s finance guy.

When Snow blogged on the Northwest Herald website under Krug’s column on Sunday, he wrote:

“The budget for next year should be relatively easy to balance.”

Looks right to me.

And Snow isn’t a CPA.

At Thursday night’s board meeting, Superintendent John Burkey was talking about hiring new staff for next year.

“Bleak” had turned into “let’s hire more staff.”

Find money. Spend it. Pretty typical attitude for public officials.

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