Rauner names ex-Rep. Cross to lead higher education board

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has named the former Republican leader of the Illinois House to serve as chairman of the state board that oversees colleges and universities. The Republican on Friday appointed former state Rep. Tom Cross to lead the Illinois Board of Higher Education. In a statement, his office says “Cross’s experience as a state legislator and fiscal reformer will be an asset to the board.” Cross, of Oswego, joins the board at a tumultuous time. Some colleges are cutting programs and laying off staff because they haven’t received state funding due to Illinois’ budget stalemate. Rauner recently vetoed legislation to fund grants to help students pay tuition, saying Illinois doesn’t have the money. Cross served in the Legislature for 22 years. He was GOP leader from 2002 to 2013.