Yesterday I basically lamented that proponents of township consolidation have not presented necessary homework.
Before moving toward a change in governance, one should do a study estimating future costs with future benefits.
Vividly I remember the pitch Governor Pat Quinn made for consolidating school districts.
No more elementary or high school districts, just unit districts.
Quinn said it would save $100 million.
He argued that there would be $100 million in administrative savings because there would be fewer administrators.
The Governor provided no cost-benefit study, yet the Northwest Herald approved the idea.
When I ran the numbers, I found that just for the area covered by Crystal Lake High School District 155, merging the high school and the grade school districts would add over $27 million.
That’s because grade school teachers’ salaries will be equalized up to the much higher high school teachers’ salaries.
There are many more grade school teachers than high school teachers, so they would control the resulting union and the negotiating process.
That $27 million cost increase for us locally eats into Quinn’s $100 million statewide savings figure quite a bit.
Even the Associated Press eventually figured that out.
I’ve often thought that those who advocate reorganization do so to provide the appearance of change.
Often there is no substantive change.
So I again ask the township consolidation advocates to provide some numbers that those on the other side or those in the middle can take a look at.
That should be done before the County Board votes to put a referendum on the ballot.
Bob Anderson and Mike Shorten are leaders in the township consolidation movement.