Illinois state Rep. Deb Conroy is proposing an end to the regional school superintendent system.
It's a great idea, but maybe instead of redirecting the $12 million the state spends on the 35 offices to school mental health as the Democrat from Villa Park wants, Illinois should just cut.
Illinois in 2011 improved the regional superintendent system by cutting from 102 offices to 35, but the 35 offices cost taxpayers much more than $12 million.
For example, the state spends $113,900 each on the salaries of the local regional superintendents in St. Clair and Madison counties and $30,900 for each of their assistants. The county budgets then add to all four of those salaries.
In the case of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Daiber, his regional superintendent salary got bumped up to $123,905 last year with the county contribution. The county budget would tell you the office got $438,213 last year, but because there are county taxpayers' pockets and state taxpayers' pockets being emptied, the office cost taxpayers $1.7 million last year just in salaries.
It's like a game of hide the potato, but with your money.
St. Clair County's regional superintendent lists a much smaller county budget at $292,283. Add to that the state salary support for the superintendent and assistant, and the cost to taxpayers becomes $436,383.
Regional superintendent offices are the liaison between schools and the state, mainly helping teachers get their licenses. But just like townships, they are excess layers of archaic government with too much money and too many staffers. They went searching for something to do, adding teacher training and other services.
We cut from 102 to 35 offices and no one cried. Let's join the 21st century, put the office functions online and cut out the middlemen.
Taxpayers will save much more than $12 million when those county dollars are deleted.