SPRINGFIELD — A special commission is recommending the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn cut the number of regional school superintendents from 44 to 35.
The move would save an estimated $1.5 million and could avoid a situation similar to last year when Quinn tried to eliminate all the offices in order to save about $12 million during tough budget times.
The recommendation, which is expected to be forwarded to the legislature Friday, did not outline which of the offices would be eliminated. That decision would be left up to counties and would likely not take effect until 2015.
Donna Boros, regional superintendent of the Jackson and Perry county office, said the proposal is a reasonable solution.
“I think we accept the idea that there needed to be reductions,” Boros said.
Matt Donkin, regional superintendent for Franklin and Williamson counties, said it could bring stability to the offices after many superintendents were forced to work without pay for several months last year because of the funding fight between Quinn and lawmakers.
“I guess this gives them a road map for the future,” Donkin said.
The offices provide support to local school districts by certifying teachers and bus drivers, reviewing school construction projects and serving as a liaison between the districts and the state Board of Education.
Quinn last year said the offices could be eliminated and their duties absorbed by local districts.
Superintendents are hopeful the General Assembly can act on the recommendations before the end of the spring session in May.
“We want to get this issue resolved as soon as possible, regain stability in the office so we can go about doing the work we really need to do,” said Bob Daiber, regional superintendent for St. Clair County and president of the state regional superintendent’s association.