Board discusses superintendent consolidation

Local News

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — Leaders debated a big change to the county’s schools Monday night.

They talked about putting a referendum on November’s ballot to combine superintendents. It would knock down the number of superintendents in the county from five to one.

The board member who proposed it says it would help reduce taxes in the county.

Four board members voted for it, and four voted against. The chairman was the deciding vote, and after a pause he voted no.

But the idea of consolidating the five superintendents in Effingham County down to one wasn’t completely shot down.

“It should have originated from the school board, those are the ones it’s going to impact.”

Board member Joseph Thoele says he’s talked to a few former school board members and one current member. Those people, he says, disagree with the proposed question.

“I thought I would ask formers ones more just because they’re out of the school system and I think they would have given a truer picture of what they believe, and the present school board members I thought they would have defended the school board more.”

Others say school board members they’ve talked to want the change. David Campbell says he introduced this to start a discussion.

“I brought in five pages of signed petitions over a two day period, so I know I had the support.” 

He says something like this would help reduce taxes.

“You would keep your own school board, you would keep your own mascots, everything would stay the same. The only difference is you’re sharing a superintendent. In our case that’s almost $750,000 a year, just in salaries, not in benefits, just in salaries.”

But Thoele says there needs to be more research done before they attempt to do it.

“I think it could be looked at in the future if it was brought to us in a different way.”

Campbell says he’s not giving up on the issue. He says this could get re-introduced in a year or so after some more research is done.

The Effingham County board chairman will be meeting with senior Trump administration officials next month. He says he hopes to discuss agriculture, transportation and Medicare. He also says the trip isn’t being paid for by taxpayers.

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