Illinois lawmakers hope a report on the future of the Regional Offices of Education can be completed sooner rather than later.
A commission has been formed to complete the study. Its members were originally asked to submit recommendations by August.
But that would be too late for the next state budget because Illinois' fiscal year begins July 1.
As a result, State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) sponsored a bill (SB 2566) to change the due date to April 1.
“So we'll get those findings and then we can incorporate them - that discussion - into our budget discussions as we move forward,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan's bill was approved by the Senate and is now headed to the House.
Regional Superintendents went without pay for the first part of the current fiscal year after Governor Pat Quinn eliminated funding for the offices. Lawmakers used the Fall Veto Session to restore their pay by using the corporate personal property replacement tax fund. But that funding plan is in place for only the current year.
Sullivan said the commission's members have been named and they can proceed with work while lawmakers decide on the due date for recommendations.
“That commission is going to decide if we need to eliminate them, reduce them, or expand them,” Sullivan said. “The purpose of that commission is to look to see if the role of the ROEs is pertinent.”
There are 44 Regional Offices of Education statewide. Sullivan said the tasks handled by the offices vary from region to region, which makes it difficult for the public to understand what the offices do.
He said school districts in his Senate district find the ROEs to be useful.