Local school officials: Cuts will cost state in the long run
By Melissa Leu Illinois Statehouse News
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ regional superintendents are realizing they might not make the cut for state money in Gov. Pat Quinn
’s attempt to close the more than $13 billion budget gap.
Quinn proposed taking away $13 million from the Regional Offices of Education during his budget speech last month
. Illinois has about 47 regional offices located throughout the state.
Regional superintendents said the cuts will end up costing the state millions in federal money.
House budget expert Frank Mautino
, D-Spring Valley, said he was surprised by the governor’s proposal and doesn’t know of many who would be in support of it.
“The reason (the regional offices) were created is because the schools didn’t have the resources to actually carry out (their responsibilities),” Mautino said.
Regional offices are responsible for offering programs such as professional development for teachers, GED testing and student development programs. It is unclear who will take over these responsibilities if the offices were to close.
“In Kane County alone, they do over 6,000 teaching certificates every year. If they don’t do it, who will? (The schools) will probably have to hire more people, but we’re cutting them (too),” Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia
, D-Aurora, said.
Former Rock Island regional superintendent
Joe Vermeire considers regional offices the “buffer” between the state and schools. He suspects that Quinn is trying to eliminate regional superintendents for his own gain.
Regional superintendents are elected by local constituents. They earn about $97,000 annually.
Quinn’s spokeswoman Kelly Kraft refuted Vermeire’s contention, saying the proposal is still in its beginning stages.
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich
came out with a similar plan in 2003, but opposition from lawmakers forced him to quash the idea.
Sen. David Luechtefeld
, R-Okawville, considered these cuts to be “poorly thought out,” and was skeptical that it would come to anything.
Originally reported by Illinois Statehouse News. Read the original article here.