Online Staff Report
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — If you have ideas about how Illinois school districts can operate more efficiently and enhance learning opportunities, you have a little more than a week to share the cost-saving tips with Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s Classrooms First Commission.
An online survey on district efficiency and effectiveness will close Friday, Dec. 2, after eight weeks on Simon’s website. To date, more than 330 parents, taxpayers and educators from 72 counties have submitted input to the Classrooms First Commission. Their comments join the 379 people who attended and 79 who testified at four regional public hearings.
“To all the educators, parents and taxpayers who are concerned about education, we want to hear from you,” Simon said. “This is your chance to tell policymakers how to best spend our limited education dollars.”
Suggestions submitted to the commission via the online survey include:
• Elimination of administrative redundancies;
• Greater cooperation between school districts and community colleges and universities to increase dual credit offerings and share administrative costs;
• Greater use of shared service agreements to lower purchasing, transportation and health insurance costs;
• Greater use of technology to lower administrative costs and offer more course offerings to students through distance learning; and
• Removing barriers that prohibit school districts from developing efficiencies of their own.
The commission will soon move into the second phase of its study and break into working groups, each focused on one of the following topics: shared services, within-district efficiencies and realignment. Work groups will review the ideas submitted to the online survey, the testimony collected at public hearings and the presentations given at commission meetings.
In the third, and final, phase of its deliberations, the commission will draft recommendations and present them at a round of public hearings in the spring. The final report is due to the governor and General Assembly in the summer.
The survey can be found by following the “Education” link at www.ltgov.il.gov.