Freeport Tax Hearing

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

On Tuesday attorneys met for the latest hearing in a case that could mean a huge refund for taxpayers in Freeport. In August a judge ruled that the Freeport School District improperly spent tax dollars on salaries.

The money was supposed to be used for legal and insurance fees. The district may have to pay back taxpayers as much as $1 million. That has a lot of school leaders nervous, because a large number of school districts in Illinois use at least some tort dollars to pay salaries.

The judge ruled in this case that schools can use tort funds on salaries "only" if they have a written risk management plan. But Freeport did not have one in place when they spent the money. So the attorney suing the district says that means taxpayers should be getting their money back.

The school district is holding off on appealing the ruling until attorneys know how much money is involved. Attorney Slattery wants them to appeal now, and determine later how much the tax payers are entitled to. But Supt. Peter Flynn says they can't appeal because it's not a final order from the judge yet.

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