Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Governor's Veto Leaves County Schools' Office Rudderless

Interviews expected this week with candidates for McHenry County Regional Superintendent of Schools probably will be canceled, according to County Administrator Pete Austin since, "We don't know if we'll have the money to pay them."

Even though they're locally elected, salaries for Regional Superintendents are paid with State funds.  Last week, however, with a stroke of his amendatory veto pen, Governor Pat Quinn removed $9.1 million from the new fiscal year's budget to do that.  Most Regional Superintendents around the state vowed to stay on the job, at least until the outcome of a probable request for a court injunction against the cut and a possible override when the Legislature reconvenes in October.  That can't happen in McHenry County, though, since newly-elected Regional Superintendent Joe Williams of Huntley announced a month and a half ago he didn't want the job after all and wouldn't continue as Assistant Superintendent, either.

The five staffers--whose salaries aren't state-funded but come out of  County taxes--have been effectively leaderless since then.  Austin said Friday the Lake County Regional Superintendent's been informally helping the County limp along by scribbling an official signature on G.E.D. certificates, for example.

Board Chairman Ken Koehler who would appoint a new Regional Superintendent said two weeks ago there were 11 applicants for the spot and he planned to winnow them before beginning initial interviews.  Now that's in abeyance until there's some sort of agreement about funding.

One solution would be for McHenry County to assume responsibility for paying the Regional Superintendent and the likewise State-paid Assistant Regional Superintendent.  "It would take a change in policy by the County Board to pay them," said Austin.  That would be about a $200,000 change in policy, though, and Board members have been reluctant so far this year to monkey with a budget they fought hard to balance.

Austin said he'd met with Lake County officials Friday to talk about formalizing the ad hoc aid the neighboring Regional Superintendent's been providing McHenry County.  He said there were no conclusions about it yet, though.

In the pic:   Technically State Aid to McHenry County Schools is supposed to go first to the Regional Superintendent of Education, too.


Anonymous said...

Since the 70s businesses have tried to condense, combine, use the new technology, and essentially cut out middle management jobs.

I would respectfully suggest that government jobs have not gone that route. It's just more and more bodies in jobs to be used as voting blocks.

I would suggest that this happens frequently in the Wonderful World of Education. Build yourself bigger.

Perhaps enough is enough already.

Anonymous said...

oh, Aileen. You really think that these Regional Superintendent positions are numerous enough to constitute a "voting block"? I guess since your good friend Linda Moore was elected by only 31 votes, anything can happen....

Anonymous said...

As long as it's a service you don't need, Aileen, then it's ripe for cutting? More NIMBYness...