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Commission Says State Should Fund Regional Offices

John Meixner
John Meixner

The Illinois commission charged with reviewing the operation of the state's regional offices of education says the governor is wrong to try to shift funding to local government.

The Streamlining Illinois' Regional Offices of Education Commission has concluded its study. It wants funding for the offices to come from the state's general revenue fund.

Governor Pat Quinn wants to pay for the offices out of the Corporate Personal Replacement Property Tax which the state collects then passes along to local governmental bodies.

The regional superintendent for McDonough and Hancock Counties was a member of the commission. John Meixner says the commission looked closely at the duties of the offices.

He says, “Every single one, our commission determined, that that is a state-mandated service. Yeah, it benefits the local people but it is mandated by the state that we do these things. Hence, we feel funding should be borne by the state.”

The commission also recommends reducing the number of regional offices from 44 to 35. Meixner says the downstate offices would see significant changes  He says the each office would serve a minimum population of 61,000. He says his office serves an office of about 52,000 so service area would expand.

The commission recommends two measures to improve accountability. One is creation of a statewide coordinating council under the Illinois State Board of Education. The second is creation of a set of performance standards for the regional offices of education.

The commission also recommended standardizing core services around the state.