Illinois taxpayers pay millions of dollars every year to have public school superintendents, principals and their assistants lead, but that doesn’t stop lawmakers from adding their own ideas.
Can you say “state mandate?”
There are 24 new mandates this year alone, and an estimated 224 of them since 2007. Many cost money to implement, and usually it’s up to the local districts to figure out how to pay for the new requirements — and perhaps how to squeeze them into the school day.
For instance, school districts now must train high school students to perform CPR and operate AED equipment. New school buildings must include a storm shelter. Administrators must prepare new reports for state leaders including a “survey of learning conditions instrument” and an annual report about school discipline.
This top-down, one-size-fits-all approach is particularly frustrating because lawmakers are giving school districts about 89 percent of the state aid the state has determined they should receive. To mandate more work and expense with fewer resources is outrageous.
No wonder the Illinois School Board Association opposes all mandates, even good ideas.
The vast majority of school districts are quite capable of meeting the needs of their students without Springfield’s involvement. But if lawmakers are going to mandate actions, they should provide the funding for it.