Elgin schools could get help making CEO the superintendent

  • Tony Sanders

    Tony Sanders

 
 
Updated 3/31/2016 5:53 PM

A renewed push could be underway in Springfield to allow the suburbs' biggest school district to make one of its leaders acting superintendent even though he lacks the credentials state law requires.

Members of the Elgin Area School District U-46 board want to be able to consider Chief Executive Officer Tony Sanders to also take on the superintendent role. But under state law, the longtime staff member doesn't have the qualifications. Superintendents must be certified educators in Illinois.

 

State Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, says his legislation would allow Sanders to be CEO and function as superintendent while he works toward certification.

"They can't say enough nice things about him," Crespo said.

The proposal is written so it'd only apply to U-46 and was drafted specifically with Sanders in mind. He could work to meet those legal superintendent criteria over five years.

State Sen. Mike Noland, an Elgin Democrat, has a similar proposal.

Retired Community Unit District 300 Superintendent Kenneth Arndt has been U-46 interim superintendent since 2014.

"It just gives us an option to consider Tony," district board President Donna Smith said.

Lawmakers return to Springfield next week, and proposals like this one could get moving then. Crespo says that's his plan.

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No union block

The Illinois Education Association union says it'll remain neutral on the proposal.

Spokesman Charlie McBarron says the IEA usually wouldn't be for something like this, but in this case, the plan is "narrow" and addresses a "unique situation."

New normal?

Lawmakers return to Springfield next week for a scheduled two-month blitz of considering all kinds of proposals.

Typically, May 31 would mark a deadline to finish a budget. This year, it might mark one year that a budget has been overdue.

Worse than usual

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor says the state owes Lake County about $8 million that is overdue because Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic legislative leaders are still battling over a budget that was due 10 months ago.

For perspective, Lawlor said, the state was often about $5 million behind in paying bills even when it had a spending plan in place.

The problem this time would be if the budget remains undone forever, meaning that $8 million would never come.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's not sustainable in the long run," he said.

He said right now local nonprofits not getting paid is a more pressing issue.

"They don't have a large cash reserve to fall back on," Lawlor said.

The last bit

And here's some additional context for the news Thursday that Harper College in Palatine is planning to lay off 29 people as the Illinois stalemate wears on.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger's spokesman says the 10 percent or so of typical state spending that isn't being paid out right now amounts to about $3.3 billion.

Of that, more than half -- $1.8 billion -- is money for universities, colleges and students' scholarships.

Rauner and Democratic leaders have traded proposals -- and blame -- over paying for that big remaining piece of Illinois' budget proposal as Chicago State University this week moved closer to a complete shutdown.

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