Proposal could be solution for unfunded school mandates

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ILLINOIS — Schools across the state have been forced to comply with nearly 150 unfunded mandates in the past 25 years. PE and driver’s education have become costly for districts, but the proposal lays out plans which would give authority back to the districts.

Under the proposal, PE would be the equivalent for student participating activities, such as sports. Schools would be able to save money on driver’s education training by contracting it out to private companies.  

The legislation also makes it easier for school districts to utilize private contractors for services such as cleaning and food preparation. One education group says it supports the bill because it’s been fighting for similar changes.

“If you take any of the more than 200 funding mandates placed on school districts individually, they’re all good ideas. The problem is, nobody’s paying for any of them,” said Mike Chamness, with Vision 20/20.

Third-party contracting relief, driver’s education mandate relief and physical education mandate relief are three of 27 proposals from the Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force.

The legislation would save Illinois’ public schools more than $200 million.

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