SPRINGFIELD — Nearly a decade after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich showed up at a Quad-Cities school district with a giant fake check and the promise of money for a new building, some of that cash is again on hold.
The Silvis School District received word last week that Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration is withholding $1.5 million from the district because of the state’s recent credit rating downgrade.
The downgrade came after lawmakers and Quinn again failed to reach agreement on an overhaul of the state’s underfunded employee pension systems.
In response, the administration said it would delay a $500 million bond sale until late March or early April in hopes the markets are less “unsettled.”
The delay affects about 20 other projects across the state. A complete list was not available Friday.
State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, said he was “tired of the runaround.”
“If the state was never going to live up to its promise of construction dollars, why approve the project and give the people of my district false hope,” he said. “The state made an agreement and needs to come through on that agreement now.”
Silvis, which is building a new junior high school, and any other districts potentially affected by the canceled bond sale, now must wait until later this spring for the money.
Silvis Superintendent Ray Bergles called the saga of securing state money an “ordeal.” He said the delay will force the district to borrow money from its education fund until the state money arrives.
“We’ve got to pay the contractors,” Bergles said.