Local Lawmaker Proposes State Board of Education Cuts to Restore School Funding

Published 09/30 2013 04:54PM

Updated 09/30 2013 10:52PM

BLOOMINGTON - A lack of money for Illinois schools has one lawmaker offering a new solution.

State Representative Dan Brady says cutting positions at the state board of education would restore funding for cash strapped districts.

But the proposal is getting mixed reviews.

Funding Shortfalls:

A unique equation is occurring at the Regional Alternative School in Bloomington.

It has lots of students, but little money.

"Highest numbers we've been in the last few years with the least amount of funding,” said RAS Director Glen Hoffmann.

He says the facility which helps youth stay on track to graduate, has seen a more than 60 percent drop in funding since 2009.

"We have seen a downward trend like you'd expect."

State Representative Dan Brady says millions can be restored by cutting positions at the top.

"We look at eliminating the state board of education and the state superintendent of schools office for an approximate savings of just $23 million alone in general revenue,” said Brady.  “Locals that can oversee their own programs and their own policies let’s try and give them some more money to operate and maybe those superintendents won't be faced with cutting teachers as they had in the last few years of their budgets."

But not everyone is on board.

"It's an interesting concept but one that doesn't necessarily make total sense,” said Hoffmann.  “It’s really hard to cut off the head and let the body live."

Hoffman says the state board of education is a voice for schools.

He doesn't want to risk losing that leadership at the capitol.

“I've been to Springfield, I’ve sat in on special sessions,” said Hoffmann.  “But they have me up in the chair rail along the top…and they don't look upward and go 'Hey! Anybody got any great suggestions up there?'"

While Brady admits there's no perfect option his proposal sees to it public education remains a top priority.

"You have to buck up.  You have to take a little more responsibility superintendents, regional superintendents, school boards.  “You’re going to get more money in which to do it here's a way we can do it,” said Brady.”

While the legislation is currently being drafted Hoffmann says there's other ways to save money and his door is open to leaders wanting to hear suggestions.

"Come on in and talk to me.  If they're looking for areas that we could do to save a little money, I have some thoughts."

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