Cuts to Illinois’ Regional School Superintendents Leaves Questions
The Regional Superintendent of Schools for Champaign and Ford Counties says it is too early to speculate on the long-term impact of Gov. Pat Quinn's cuts to her office and others like it.
The Democratic governor signed a budget Thursday night that would cut salaries for Jane Quinlan and her assistant. The Quinn administration suggests local school districts should pick up those salaries. He has also cut out funds for professional development and training at regional superintendents' offices across the state.
But Quinlan said state lawmakers would have to decide whether to challenge those changes in the fall. For the time being, Quinlan is starting a new four-year term, and she said legislators appear to back that.
"It was put back in both the House budget and the Senate budget," Quinlan said. "The governor had vetoed it again, which would take it back to what his original proposal was. There are some comments in the newspapers that indicate that he thinks it might be paid from other sources, or from county sources. But I haven't really seen a plan for that."
Quinlan said she hopes to learn more about the governor's plan next week. Champaign Unit 4 School Board President Sue Grey said she intends to contact legislators to express her concerns about the budget cuts.
Like Quinlan, Peoria's Regional Superintendent of Schools was sworn in Friday to another term in office. Gerry Brookhart said the Illinois Association of School Superintendents will likely file an injunction to block Quinn's action.
"Myself and our staff will continue to work and the legal entanglement that this will create will probable take some time," Brookhart said. "Ultimately, it will be sorted out and the public will get what we think they really want and deserve which is good quality education delivered in a very effective and meaningful fashion."
The Executive Director of the IARS, Michael McCreery, said he is 'baffled and miffed' by the governor's decision to cut funding for regional school superintendents. Brookhart said the Peoria office brought in $16 million in revenue last year. He said Regional Offices statewide are responsible for more than $100 million in annual revenue. Brookhart said that makes it hard to understand why the governor would cut $11 million and jeopardize ten times that in revenue.
Meanwhile, Mary Fergus with Illinois Association of School Boards said her office has not had a chance to analyze the governor's plan.
There are 46 Regional Offices of Education in the state. Their duties include certifying teachers, overseeing school inspections, and running GED exams.