House Bill 1886 Will Not Leave Committee

A bill that would dissolve and reform nearly all school districts in the state will not be read in a committee hearing Thursday, according legislative staff.

House Bill 1886 will not be going any further than committee.

The bill was pulled by Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) Wednesday afternoon amid an avalanche of opposition to the proposed legislation.

“Evidently (Rita) knew the bill was not supported,” said Brenda Merrell, legislative secretary to Counties and Townships Committee member Rep. Richard Morthland (R-Springfiield). According to legislative staff, Morthland and other members of the committee opposed the bill, including Rep. Kay Hatcher (R-Yorkville), Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), Rep. Dan Reitz (D-Sparta) and Committee Chair Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore (D-Rock Island).

Attempts to reach Reps. Al Riley (D-Hazel Crest) and Randy Ramey Jr. (R-West Chicago), who also sit on the Counties and Townships committee, were not returned. Several messages left for Rita were not returned.

HB 1886 was scheduled for a reading Thursday in the committee.

The bill, filed Feb. 16 by Rita, calls for “all school districts in this State in existence on June 30, 2012 (other than the Chicago school district) are dissolved, and their school boards are abolished.” The bill was introduced around the time Gov. Pat Quinn’s office suggested that the state could save $100 million by eliminating 500 of the state’s 868 school districts to cut administrative costs.

If the bill would have become a law, all counties in Illinois would be left with either one or two school districts, except for Chicago, which would still remain under Chicago Public Schools. Area parents, school officials and board of education members expressed strong aversion to the possibility.

On Friday, Sue Sherman created the Facebook group Say NO to House Bill 1886. Since then, 851 people have joined the group.

katie March 04, 2011 at 11:54 PM
Why don't our legislators pursue consolidation of their numbers by limiting those elected to 1 per county? Think of all the money we save. Think of all the political posturing that would be saved. Think of all the nepotism and corruption that would be eliminated. Think of the money that could then be used to pay off our state debt. Think of the pension funding they've never taken care of and how fast it could be fixed. Think of all of the reasons why their reduction would not impact education, class size, government ineffectiveness, etc. etc. Let's propose a bill to eliminate our legislators to 1 per county. The long term savings in salaries, benefits and pensions would be astronomical. This would be the most logical and fair solution to solving our state debt. Anyone want to join this bandwagon???
Robert A. Baker March 07, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Amen! Katie. It would take enough signatures on a petition to get it on the ballot in 2012. I'd certainly do my part in getting signatures here in Bureau County. Bob.
Terry Cornell March 19, 2011 at 03:58 AM
I think the problem was a "knee jerk" reaction to try and save money. The schools are costing taxpayers more and more money every year. I doesn't seem like the taxpayers are getting their moneys worth. There has to be some "checks and balances" to make sure that ourt children are properly educated. Our tax money used for schools is a investment in our future. Schools are a local institution and need to be administered on a local level. This way the local school boards can react to a situation in a swift manner. What may not be important to a downstate school my be very important to a school hundreds of miles away.
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