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updated: 4/7/2014 5:06 PM

Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA

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  • State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat, won approval for a plan calling for hearings into the operations of the Illinois High School Association.

       State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat, won approval for a plan calling for hearings into the operations of the Illinois High School Association.
    Zachary White | Staff Photographer

 
By Marty Hobe
mhobe@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House set the stage for hearings to question the operations of the Illinois High School Association and its organization of sports championships statewide.

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat, said she wants to ask the IHSA about its contracts with food vendors, equipment companies and clothing companies that provide goods to teams and during events.

Her proposal to have legislative hearings was approved by the House Monday.

The potential hearings have raised concerns from the IHSA, which was warning people in recent weeks the state was trying to take over its operations and place control with the Illinois State Board of Education. Chapa LaVia, though, said that's not her plan.

"My intention is not to move the IHSA under ISBE," she said. "My intention is to bring them forward to answer questions."

IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said in a statement the group will cooperate.

"We wish Rep. Chapa LaVia had provided the courtesy of discussing any issues she believes exist within our organization prior to the introduction of this resolution, which has unfairly cast the association in a negative light," he said in a statement.

Chapa LaVia said when she tried to talk with the IHSA directly, its leaders "thought they could give me their records right there and keep it at that in a closed-door meeting. That's not what we do around here."

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, opposed the request, saying she could be misusing her power. Chapa LaVia chairs the committee that would conduct the hearings under her proposal.

"You're urging yourself as a chairman to hold a hearing about this issue?" Reboletti said.

Despite strong opposition from House Republicans, her proposal was approved 55-51.

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