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Friday, November 30, 2007

Florida Schools Hit by Fund Freeze

by Calculated Risk on 11/30/2007 07:56:00 PM

From David Evans at Bloomberg: Florida Schools Struggle to Pay Teachers Amid Freeze (hat tip Saboor)

School districts, counties and cities across Florida sought to raise cash after being denied access to their deposits in a $15 billion state-run investment fund.

The Jefferson County school district was forced to take out a short-term loan to cover payroll for the 220 teachers and other employees in the system after $2.7 million it held in the pool was frozen yesterday. At least five other districts also obtained last-minute loans, said Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association.

``The unthinkable and the unimaginable have just happened here in Florida,'' said Hal Wilson, chief financial officer of the Jefferson County school district, located 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of the state capital Tallahassee. ``What we just experienced here is a classic run-on-the bank meltdown.''
This is the same school disctrict mentioned in David Evans piece on Nov 15th: Public School Funds Hit by SIV Debts Hidden in Investment Pools
Hal Wilson smiles at the blue numbers on his desktop screen. His money is yielding 5.77 percent. For the chief financial officer of Florida's Jefferson County school board, that means the $2.7 million of taxpayer funds he's placed in the state's Local Government Investment Pool is earning more on this October day than it would get in a money market fund.

And Wilson says he knows the Florida officials who manage the funds of the 1,559-student district have invested them wisely.

``We're such a small school district,'' Wilson, 55, says. ``We don't have the time or staff for professional money management. They have lots of investment advisers. It's risk free and easy.''
From "risk free and easy" to "classic run-on-the bank meltdown" in less than two months weeks.