Galatia school district feels the burden of largest employer filing for bankruptcy

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GALATIA, Ill. (KFVS) – A school district in Heartland faces the challenge of property tax money.

What is now known as Illinois Land Resources, formerly called the Galatia Mine, has closed and that impact can be felt by schools in Galatia.

According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, this mine ceased producing coal in 2017.

And according to the superintendent of the school in Galatia, the county also does not collect property taxes on this land and it harms his children.

“That left us for those two years in the hole 1.25 and some change, 1.25 million and some change,” Superintendent Shain Crank said.

Crank says the loss of property taxes from the old mine is hurting his school district. And he does not see this situation improving.

“I don’t have any industry that will back that taxpayer money. We’re probably going to start losing taxpayers’ money year after year,” Crank said.

We’ve been trying to track down the company responsible for paying property taxes here and it’s quite confusing. The listed owner is the American Coal Company.

American’s parent company went bankrupt and changed its name. A spokesperson for what is now known as American Consolidated Natural Resources tells us that American remains tied to the bankruptcy and the former Galatia mine remains in American’s name.

Meanwhile, Crank tells me his elementary school needs major upgrades, including a classroom that floods every time it rains.

“If we keep losing taxpayers’ money, if we keep spending from reserves, we’re going to have to consider making cuts at some point,” Crank said.

And Crank hopes some of the funding will come from the state level.

“The only way we will have is through state-level collection. We have nothing to rely on. We can only tax our people so much and be solvent for them and for us,” Crank said.

In February, Crank said he presented a case in February to the Illinois House Appropriations Committee, regarding a major budget shortfall for that school year.

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