Regional Superintendent Question

Oh boy, if your scratching your head on the wording of the Regional Superintendent question on the ballot its because 24 County Board members decided to amend the original referendum question in open other words making sausage.

The original intention of the referendum question was whether McHenry County should abolish the office of the Regional Superintendent of Education.  This is part of the attempt to reduce and streamline government, a laudable goal, but it has to be done correctly.  First, the County cannot abolish the office since it is a creature of State government.  Roughly 75% of the cost is being paid for by the State so not a lot of local tax savings.  The referendum is advisory because it would take State action to abolish.  Secondly, there are legitimate functions of the Office that will not go away if it is abolished.  These include, but are not limited, background checks and fingerprinting for all school personnel, certifying teachers, physical safety inspection of school buildings for code compliance, truancy services for all school districts, adjudicating district boundary disputes, etc.  There has been no substantial discussion with other Regional Offices regarding sharing of services, but I assure you they will not share McHenry County's obligations for free.

The statewide structure of the Regional Superintendents system should be reviewed by Springfield to assess if there are other existing governmental bodies that can assume many if not all of its responsibilities.  Some solid policy recommendations by was of legislation would be a prudent course of action.  As the old saying goes, let's not get the cart before the horse.  The same goes for the efforts to abolish townships and township highway department.  A well thought out policy and plan needs to come first before referendum to abolish is placed on the ballot.  Without the knowledge of what will replace the abolished entity, you voter are just being asked us.  Not acceptable in my opinion.

So while a worthwhile goal, the current advisory referendum, in my opinion, is ill conceived and needs substantial work  to sort out who will be responsible for the needed tasks this office currently provides prior to a vote to eliminate.  The Democratic Party of McHenry County has not taken a formal position on this matter this is my personal opinion.  I will be voting no. 

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