Illinois Lawmakers Look to Create School Consolidation Task Force

Illinois Lawmakers Look to Create School Consolidation Task Force

SPRINGFIELD (IRN) — Illinois has 852 school districts.

That includes huge districts in Chicago and the suburbs. But there are hundreds of other schools with less than 200 students. Some have less than 100.

Lawmakers started a process this week that could end with some of those school districts joining together.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton said he would like to see what can be done to consolidate those districts.

“Nothing in this bill would remove buildings or remove mascots,” Cullerton told a state Senate panel on Tuesday. “But why couldn’t superintendents be shared, why other things couldn’t be shared and brought together? To me, that seems like a very simple fix”

Cullerton said he is hoping to create a task force that will spend the next year looking at ways to entice local schools to consolidate.

He acknowledged that it’s been proposed before.

“Every year there seems to be another hurdle,” Cullerton said. “We have 852 school districts in this state. And finding ways to save money, especially with some of our pension issues and other issues in this state, is something that we should be looking at.”

Plenty of lawmakers and local school leaders have said in the past that Illinois has too many school districts. But very few of them are willing to change their local school district.