Staff lay-offs and consolidations are likely for Illinois' regional offices of education. A commission studying how they can be streamlined recommends cutting the number of offices from 44 to 35. The role of regional superintendents faced scrutiny after Governor Pat Quinn last year stripped their state funding ... a decision that meant the elected superintendents went four months without paychecks. The General Assembly came to their rescue in the fall by approving a law that used a local tax to fund the offices. But that's just a temporary fix. The commission recommends once again funding them with state money. It gave no estimate on how much will be saved by closing the nine offices. Bob Daiber, who's president of the association representing the regional superintendents, says after a challenging year, he accepts the recommendation.
"We were all glad to be paid we don't want to go there again, it's been devastating to some office holders, we do not want anyone else leaving office because of the fear of not being paid again."
Daiber says the proposed consolidation would mean more than 200 employees could lose their jobs. The commission is scheduled to issue a full report on Monday. But it's up to the General Assembly to decide if it will follow the recommendations. Regional superintendents are responsible for teacher certification, school bus safety checks, and providing G.E.D. testing.
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