In the past, I've written about the debt incurred by State governments, with particular reference to Illinois. Now comes news that the "visible" debt in that State may be matched by a similar amount held by school boards - but not listed with other State debts.
Illinoisans hear plenty about the state’s ballooning pension debt, its billions in unpaid bills and rising bond debts. In fact, many even know about the local pension crises playing out in cities like Harvey and North Chicago.
But most don’t know that the state’s 860 school districts have put Illinoisans on the hook for another $21 billion in debt. In 2002, it was just $12.3 billion. That growing burden is just another reason Illinoisans pay the nation’s highest property taxes.
. . .
That increase could be explained if Illinois was a fast growing state with many new students and a need for more infrastructure. But the opposite is true. Illinois’ student population is flat when compared to 2002.
There's more at the link.
We calculated last year that, at Illinois' then-current total state debt, every resident of that state - every man, woman and child - was on the hook for $16,447 as their share of that debt. According to the article cited above, school board debt in Illinois amounts to an additional $10,388 per student. Since most students don't have any money of their own, that amount should, in reality, be added to their parents' share of the state debt load.
I'm glad I don't live in Illinois . . . and I'm sure it's not the only state with that sort of hidden debt burden. Readers might want to investigate their own states, to see what their situation might be.